Ranchers letter to Seashore Wednesday July 23, 2014

Below is a letter Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association members hand delivered on Wednesday to National Seashore Superintendent Cicely Muldoon regarding buildings at the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm


Dear Superintendent Muldoon,

The Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association is writing to inquire about the plans of the National Park Service for the buildings located at the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm. We are concerned that the Park Service may intend to demolish the retail sales building after July 31, 2014, and the worker residences at some later date. These buildings can provide significant benefit to the association members. They should not be demolished before their future use can be considered as part of the Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan Environmental Assessment process. While that process is pending, the buildings should be used on an interim basis to benefit the ranchers and the public.

After the oyster farm leaves, the retail sales building should be used to provide retail and educational opportunities for the ranchers, and to provide clean bathrooms and running water for the kayakers and other public visitors who visit Drakes Estero and use the running water to clean off themselves and their boats. After the oyster farm workers leave, the worker residences should be used as residences for workers at the Seashore ranches.

The concerns about the oyster farm, which were centered on wilderness policy, are not applicable to these buildings, which are not in wilderness or potential wilderness areas. Even the section of Schooner Bay adjacent to the buildings is not wilderness or potential wilderness. Grazing occurs on and around the building site.

As the association explained in its scoping letter for the Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan Environmental Assessment, there is a need to establish new on-farm retail opportunities, including the preparation and sale of local food items. (PRSRA scoping letter, sections 3a,viii). There is also a need for a location at which the public can learn about the history of the ranches. Ample septic system capacity and abundant water delivered by a certified public water system currently exist for the five housing units and the retail building. Adequate parking, public restrooms, walk in refrigeration and health department approval also exist for small scale food processing, storage and sales. It would require extensive permitting and construction to replicate these ranch assets elsewhere in the seashore. Here, only upgrades would be required.

The Seashore also allows other commercial uses at this site, including guided kayak trips. Presumably, the park will continue to allow this use. Currently, the kayakers and other visiting public regularly use the fully equipped public restrooms in the retail building. It seems appropriate to allow both compatible permitted commercial uses to continue on site.

The five housing units can be used for housing workers at the Seashore ranches. As the assocation explained in its scoping letter, there is a need for housing for these workers. (PRSRA scoping letter, section 3a, x). Building new housing for the ranch workers would be difficult, time- consuming, and expensive. Once the current residents have left, the units should be used for ranch workers.

The Seashore has publicly stated its commitment to the continuation of the ranches within the seashore. The assocation has made it clear to the National Park that these uses are vital to the long term viability of the ranches. Allowing these buildings to remain to continue to provide benefit to the ranches as they have in the past, to allow a transition from oyster worker housing to ranch worker housing, to transition from oyster processing to local value added farm product processing and to re-focus the interpretive services at the site to focus on history and sustainability of the working ranches located in working landscapes of Point Reyes National Seashore would help demonstrate the park’s commitment to the viability of the ranches.

Sincerely, Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association

Cc: US Senator Dianne Feinstein, US Senator Barbara Boxer, Congressman Jared Huffman, Assembly Member Marc Levine, Supervisor Steve Kinsey


West Marin Sheriff’s Logs week of July 14

Monday. July 14

Stinson Beach 2:03 a.m. Reporting party stated that a RV in front of their house was playing loud bass music. Deputies contacted RV owners who stated they had a party earlier and had been drinking and were unable to move their vehicle. Owners of RV advised they were illegally parked.

Woodacre 9:57 a.m. An anonymous email stated that a local ranch was a site for illegal drug use and that children were at risk. The drug task force was notified of information prior to contact being made with ranch employees.

Bolinas 2:35 p.m. A lost backpack with a camera, jacket and some snacks was reported. Loss reported at $300.

Woodacre 9:12 p.m. Woman is in her kitchen with all her windows open. Woman states that she can hear her neighbor talking with someone over the phone about burning her carport down. Woman would just like deputies to know this in case something “happens” in the future.

Tuesday, July 15

Forest Knolls 11:05 a.m. Woman called to report squatter living in empty house.

Bolinas 1:16 p.m. Neighbor reported that there are macaws in the area being loud and possibly obnoxious. Deputies waited in area and heard nothing besides a rooster and a mocking bird.

Point Reyes Station 4:25 p.m. A window was smashed with a bat and the bat was left outside the scene of the crime

Wednesday, July 16

Tomales 8:01 a.m. Unknown person pitched a tent on school property.

Point Reyes Station 9:59 a.m. Man reported that he ordered 10.5 ounces of an undisclosed precious metal and that he only received 5.5 ounces of it. No report taken for stolen property as report taken for loss at Post Office.

Point Reyes 11:49 a.m. OnStar reported that a vehicle that was reported stolen, a gold 2008 Buick Lacrosse, showed up on their computer screens near a local trailhead. Deputies unable to locate stolen vehicle and OnStar reported vehicle was no longer on their radar,

Forest Knolls 9:52 p.m. Woman called to report that her neighbor had called her 14 year-old grandson a name we can’t repeat in print.

Thursday July 17

Woodacre 8:42 a.m. Man requested that deputies standby as he went by his ex-girlfriend’s house to pick up items that belonged to him.

Forest Knolls 12:14 p.m. Reporting party stated their water was stolen from their property by a neighbor and/or possibly a homeless person’s living nearby.

Friday, July 18

Saturday, July 19

Woodacre 12:21 a.m. Reporting party states they are concerned about a house party with loud noise and lots of cars in the driveway. Deputies were unable to find any offenders at the scene.

Nicasio 9:10 a.m. Man called to report that someone stole his wallet. He then reconsidered his statement and said that perhaps his girlfriend may have taken it or he may have misplaced it and that he would call back with an update when these other options had been fully explored.

Stinson Beach 12:09 p.m. Woman was walking on the beach with her two boxers when a person called deputies to state that her dogs were attacking other dogs. Furthermore, this caller stated they overheard this woman say to someone else she was from “San Quentin” and thus wanted her removed. Deputies arrived at the scene and found the woman’s dogs under her control at all times and only playing roughly with each other. No merit to any code violation.

Bolinas 5:06 p.m. Reporting party is calling about ongoing issue with neighbor’s macaws. They state that their neighbor has moved their birds closer to their house and that they are currently being excessively loud. Deputy went to site and neither homeowner was present.

Woodacre 8:12 p.m. Reporting party made a noise complaint.

Sunday, July 20

Dillon Beach 12:08 a.m. A very loud, possibly underage, party was reported to deputies.

Inverness 1:59 p.m. One-half cord of cut wood was stolen from outside a house.

Inverness 5:13 p.m. A baby pig was seen on a trail.






Ode to the Chowder Goddess

Ode to the Chowder Goddess and Her Husband; from CLAM

Extraordinary, Tasty, Juicy, Skilled, Luscious, Delicious ….


You have BLOWN US AWAY with your OVER THE TOP generosity that led to CLAM’s Annual Meeting being a success.

From what planet did you come?

What far part of our lovely cosmos created you, nurtured you —cooked you up and poured you from its generous ladle

into our little pot

so that you could


with your cooking???


Your chowder was overwhelming with deliciousness.

You Hestia of Heart-Full Creations!

You Master Wizard! You Queen of Cooks! You Orchestrator of All Good Things!!!


O You Whose Divinity is Discerned in Each Tasty Bite!


You Walk on Water! You Bathe in Wine! You Release the Sun each time you take the lid off your steaming pots!


Thank you so, so much Mary Olsen!!

And a thousand thanks to JIM!! TO JIM!!!


You Dionysus of Delectable Wine!

Your wine oozed us,smoothed us

-and with warm, full bellies and energy –

we had a terrific conversation!

You Giver of Great Spirits!


Mary and Jim!

Your twin hearts laid down like a butterfly’s wings

We sit mesmerized at the flower’s edge

And watch your coupled beauty

As you take flight and give, yet again – to West Marin!!!


In perpetual gratitude,


Kim Thompson

Director, CLAM


Won’t clam up about oysters


One word sums up the DBOC controversy – shucks

Yes, it’s a good pun, but it isn’t funny. After so much money spent, so many false words spilled, so much deception, posturing and faking, we are left with this result. No more Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Nothing. And I am left with a nagging question, “Why?”

Who wanted this result? Who gained by this? Was it worth it? Answers: The Few, The Few and No.

I daresay that if today, a vote were taken of the people in West Marin, keeping DBOC would have won with a vast majority. That alone makes me shake my head.

The democratic process was hijacked and for no good reason. DBOC is not polluting this pristine spot. Yes, a few detractors were sincere in their beliefs. The real pollutants were many of the narrow-minded folks who would say anything; twist the facts, use false science to get their own way – they are the pollutants. Please don’t give me the business about “let’s all heal, now.” I would prefer to fester for a while. But I won’t clam up.

Shucks, indeed.

Ed Schwarz, Inverness

Point Reyes Station history tours return

The popular historical walking tours of Point Reyes Station will return Saturday, July 26. The one-hour tours, which take participants down Main Street and some back streets, are led by students from West Marin School and adult volunteers under the guidance of local historian Dewey Livingston. Local geography, prehistory and the development of the town by ranchers and railroaders are some of the many interesting topics and stories covered.

The walking tours format was created last summer through a West Marin Fund grant to Community Land Trust of West Marin (CLAM) and the Tomales Bay Youth Center, and is sponsored this season by the West Marin Chamber of Commerce, the Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History, and again the WM Youth Center. The tours were created to promote youth leadership development and community building. The weekend program, which will run through the end of the Farmers Market season, gives both locals and visitors the opportunity to learn about the towns from both historical and current perspectives.

The tours start at the West Marin Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center Kiosk next to the Grandi Building, and are offered Saturdays at 10 am. Participants are limited to 10 people on a first-come, first-served basis. A $10 donation is requested. Quiet children under 16 are free, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Tickets will be on sale near the Post Office at the Farmers Market from 9 am.

For more information email ramon@pointreyes.org or by contact Dona Larkin, West Marin Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center Chair, 663-9149

Gallery Route One: Bidding on 17 boxes at The Box Show

Nick Corcoran making 150 boxes for Gallery Route One's Box Show.
Nick Corcoran making 150 boxes for Gallery Route One’s Box Show.


By Ann Knickerbocker, GRO

Each summer, Gallery Route One in Point Reyes Station presents The Box Show, where 150 artists paint, sculpt, light up, collage and otherwise alter simple wooden boxes, made by Nick Corcoran – it was his idea 16 years ago. The completed boxes – now works of art – are donated to the gallery and then exhibited. Gallery Route One runs a silent auction, where visitors write out bids on the boxes they like. The silent part lasts seven weeks. On the final night, every box is auctioned off in a not-so-silent party. Most people fall in love with one box; in 2013, Margo Wixsom fell in love with, well, 17 of them.

Wixsom is an artist herself, a photographer of landscapes with an ecological perspective: “I like to frame the ordinary moments, to show that the extraordinary is always happening. I want people to stop and see that every sunset is extraordinary. It’s always a show, even when it’s foggy and raining. You can still say, ‘look at the way the rain is pooling on these leaves.’ ”

When she wasn’t taking photographs, she often stopped in at Gallery Route One because “it’s a world-class gallery right in the middle of such a small town.”

For a long time now, Wixsom says, she has known that “art kind of saved my life.” But last year, after a fluke accident, she was injured, bedridden for four months. “It’s astonishing,” she says, “how such a little thing can cause so much damage.” Visits to friends and family were postponed; flying was out of the question. Wixsom’s own photography was limited by her immobility. Something had to change, and she says she knew that, “art has brought me back from difficult times. It’s an active way to recover from difficult situations.” One day last year, in one of her first outings away from home in Santa Clara, Wixsom’s husband drove with her around Inverness and Point Reyes Station. They saw the Box Show sign at Gallery Route One and decided to see what was on display for 2013. There was that money that could not be spent on travel…and Wixsom made the decision “to create my own little world of delight and joy.” They came back for the final night’s auction and party and she won her 17 boxes in a fast-paced auction throughout the gallery. “It was delightful,” she says.

Wixsom, who says she also bought two boxes in 2012, continues to be amazed by the way each artist “took the same little space and created an entire world,” and says that the feeling of that “personal vision” was “very valuable…it was worth a lot to me.” Some box artists are professional artists, well-known for their woodcuts or paintings, others have worked in special effects for the film industry, and others do just this one creative thing – the box – each year. The full range of boxes for 2013 can be viewed here: http://galleryrouteone.org/box-show-archive/the-box-show/entries-2013.html

Asked if she will come again this year, Wixsom says, “absolutely!”

This year, the Box Show will be held at Gallery Route One from August 1, every day, through the final night’s auction on September 14.



Heal This



Excuse me if I get a gag reflex from the continuing letters calling for community healing over the Drakes Bay Oyster Company debacle.

All “healing advocates” should gather somewhere and have a nice hug fest.

Sorry if I think your P.C. is a bunch of B.S., but hey that’s just me.

I think the Lunnys were mistreated, and that Amy Trainer’s underhanded, wrongheaded, Quixotic campaign and that of the N.P.S. have set new lows.

So thanks you, but I will not join you in forgiveness any time soon. I choose to hang on to my indignation for a while. But writing this letter has made me feel just a little better.

John Aucoin, Point Reyes Station


Halleck Creek Ranch turns 37


Joy in giggles. I don’t think I have ever been to a birthday party where laughs and smiles between adults and their charges were more a focus than cupcakes. I don’t think I even saw one cup cake in the trash separated from the top after being smeared around someone’s mouth.

HAPPY 37TH BIRTHDAY to Halleck Creek Ranch!

Nearly every Saturday a respectful caravan of vehicles converge from, at times, all 7 Bay Area counties and drive along Halleck Creek to participate in what may be the most unique program in the country. Nicasio’s own Duane Irving, who sadly died in 2010, had been working at the National Park Service’s Morgan Horse Ranch when he became aware that horses could be a way to get kids into the natural environment. Along the way Joyce Goldfield began volunteering and they started focusing on the importance of getting kids with various physical and cognitive challenges outdoors. The program just took shape.

It has since grown to 45 weeks of riding for 250 participants on weekdays and Saturdays. Currently the age range is 3 to 76; however, about 80% of their riders are typically between the ages of 3 and 21.

Calm. This word really captured the day. When I got there everyone was sitting around calmly. Soon the second morning ride returned, calmly. Indeed, families had arrived as usual for their 9:00 a.m. ride knowing that for many kids their weeks revolve around these Saturday rides. The ride just might be more important than home churned ice cream.

Bread and Roses, Dick Miner host, provided perfect atmospheric music by Dick Bay on accordion and Peter Bellal on guitar. Dick and Peter of the Babushka Brothers band played lively blues with a sense of calm and even their spontaneous jam session with Dexter, one of the afternoon riders, was calm while being lively and spirited.

During the musician’s break people meandered over to tables covered with hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, lemonade, and a wide range of trimmings. Joyce and one of the kids in attendance slowly churned ice cream without anyone seeming to notice. However the option of root beer floats later brought on the closest thing to a rush that day. An amazing homemade cake, cookies, and cupcakes guaranteed a sugar high for all.

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Two dedicated staff members, Molly Scannell and Mesa Nordbye took over the mike and started with a quiz. How many total volunteer hours were clocked in the past year? The first guess was around 1300. Someone then quickly added another zero and got much closer to the 13,500 hours that were worth over $300,000. But what every volunteer there knows, the pay of these support people can’t be measured in dollars.

The donated horses too are priceless. Currently they have 11 horses, 6 below the desired target of 17. When horses are donated, often from local ranches, they are first taken on a trial basis. When a horse can no longer work they are given pasture and equine companionship for the rest of their natural lives. A brief glance at their eyes and their coats reveals that the horses are very well cared for.

Calmness pervaded the afternoon ride as well. The certified horse trainers saddled up the horses and then calmly stood with them until their turn to be mounted. Then they were calmly led to the mounting station appropriate to their impending rider. There were at least three, sometimes five or six, assistants to help each rider get safely mounted. Calmly the horse accepted their new rider and then calmly walked to a large open covered ring where they slowly walked until everyone was mounted and comfortable. Then calmly they walked out single file and on to the trail. I did not witness one horse trying to rush ahead or hang back. Calm and steady was their ethic. Calm and steady and caring.

Halleck Creek provides a wide range of activities throughout the year, most of which are listed on their website. They participated in the Human Race this past May with Claudia Johnson being the top finisher for their team. Claudia has been a program participant since she was 13 and now is Board Secretary. (Please see their website to learn more of their accomplishments.) They had three riders in the Marin County Fair who won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places; and many riders participated in Western Weekend. Campouts are amongst their many other activities. Needless to say, tuition (many are on scholarships) manages to cover about one-third of costs. Look for details about their fundraiser November 14th.

Having just gone to Marin County’s “Happiest Fair On Earth”, I think they have stiff competition for the Happiest Place On Earth.

West Marin Sheriff’s Logs. Week of July 7, 2014

Monday, July 7

Forest Knolls, 10:03 a.m. Neighbor filed a complaint against their neighbor’s barking canine companion.

Bolinas, 1:48 p.m. Woman called to talk to a deputy about her dog that was stolen on Mothers Day. Dog was returned to her but was missing its tags. Woman wanted support from deputy because she was unable to contact person who had returned dog to her.

Inverness, 1:48 p.m. It was reported that woman was running around half naked and screaming. Woman was reportedly back home and it is unknown if she is taking her medication.

Woodacre, 2:22 p.m. Woman sold her camera lens on Craig’s List and when she checked to see if money had been deposited in her PayPal account the check had bounced.

Bolinas, 3:03 p.m. Reporting party called in to report ongoing issues with a peeping Tom.

Tuesday, July 8

Olema, 11:36 a.m. Woman stated she had lost her Canadian cash and drivers license.

Forest Knolls, 3:53 p.m. Woman reported seeing 60-foot-tall marijuana plant. Woman did not say whether or not marijuana tree was talking to her or not.

Dillon Beach, 7:28 p.m. Reporting party stated that there was a party in the area going on for quite some time. Not out of control just very loud. Deputy walked through the town and knocked on doors and asked if residents had heard anything and unequivocally they stated, “No.” No sign of any party or loud noises.

Wednesday, July 9

Inverness, 2:06 p.m. Woman called to report that her landlord had turned off the power to her apartment. Landlord was contacted and she stated that she did not realize she had turned anything off. Tenant asked deputies if they could pick her up a pack a pack of cigarettes.

Olema, 9:35 p.m. Man was arrested for public drunkenness and taken to Marin General Hospital. He was kept for several hours until he was deemed well enough to be released back to the authorities.

Thursday, July 10

Tomales, 8:11 p.m. Two tiny brown cows and a sheep were reported in the street.

Inverness, 10:22 p.m. Homeowners reported a man in his 70s picking flowers in their backyard. They would like advice on how to proceed.

Friday, July 11

Inverness, 5:42 a.m. Reporting person stated that they saw a yellow light in the distance and smelled smoke. They also thought that an intruder had been in their house. A deputy met with caller on their porch and the caller stated that in the past their medications had caused delusions that may have been playing a part in the earlier calls.

Woodacre, 4:29 p.m. Apparently, people are still having their accounts accessed illegally at Target as evidenced by a call made by a woman who stated that her identity was being illegally used at a Target at a Hollywood, CA location.

Saturday, July 12

Point Reyes Station, 11:22 a.m. Reporting party states they fear some unknown fiend is proliferating an underground marijuana operation.

Inverness, 2:15 p.m. Woman called to report that her dog attacked a deer and now deer was critically injured and needed to be put down. Dog was locked up in her car for the time being and woman was very upset with turn of events.

Forest Knolls, 3:19 p.m. Reporting party stated that six individuals looked as if they were starting to dig a hole for a BBQ. They reported they seemed as if they were intoxicated and they were concerned they would set the town on fire. Deputies found a group of friends with a Weber grill cooking some food in a controlled environment. They were almost done and agreed to keep things under control.

Sunday, July 13

Inverness, 6:14 a.m. Woman called to tell deputies she is moving from her house with help from her friend. On a separate note, this friend had agreed to help sell pottery and glasses and split the sales 50/50. Friend took the items and woman has never seen any money. Woman would like to confront friend about these items but would like deputies on hand to mediate in case things go south. On a positive note, woman does have someone helping her move.






The Soundtrack to West Marin


By Eyeball James

I’ve been contemplating this scenario for quite some time now, and I have decided to bring it to you, the people. The question I’ve been asking myself is why don’t we hear more about the amazing music pumping out of Marin County? This is not a dig on the writers who do document it; this is just a general question. Is it because we are so accustomed to seeing great live music on almost any given night of the week? Is it because we have such a vast and diverse sound and countless venues to attend for such pleasing pulsations? Is it because when a member of our community is in need, it’s the bands that come to the rescue, with no financial demands or over-blown egos, to provide a musical backdrop for a fund raiser? Do we just assume it will always be here for us? Is that why we don’t talk about it more?

I grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts. My friends and I would drive two hours in any direction to see what you might find in Fairfax on any Tuesday night. We’d read the local rags – that’s what the music publications were called – from New Hampshire to Connecticut and find out who’s doing what and where. Then we’d make the rock and roll pilgrimage. But here, in Marin, where some of the most iconic and legendary music was born, we don’t even have a rag! I guess maybe we don’t need to know anymore. It’s going to be a great show in whatever club you poke your head into. That’s just one theory. I, for one, think that stinks!

Have you ever been to Nashville and heard the music? New York? L.A.? Seattle, Chicago, Austin? They all have a music scene, a “sound.” A keen ear can hear it. I can always tell the difference between an album cut by a band in Nashville and an album cut by a New York band or whatever. The sound made in Marin is undeniably Marin. Whether it’s country, jazz or rock, it all has a unique yet similar color. Maybe because the musicians get to look at our beautiful rolling hills and smell the sweet ocean air. Maybe it’s the all-too-perfect weather. I’m not sure, but one thing I am sure of, it sounds like Marin!

The day the music died

What would we do if one day the music in Marin just stopped playing? What if the musicians just couldn’t afford to play for us? Guitar strings expenses exceeded the fees made at the gig? The amount of gas the van needed to get there was just too much? What then? Think about it. Marin, our home of the best music…What if our soundtrack stopped playing? What would we do? Would we all of a sudden realize how special it was? Would we brag? Reminisce?

“Why, I remember seeing This Old Earthquake right here, in 2014, before the silence.”

Or, “Remember when El Radio Fantastique played in Toby’s barn? Those were the days!”

I guess what I’m saying is that old cliché – you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I, for one, hope that day never comes but I can tell you, it’s getting harder and harder to make a living playing music these days. So I’m here to tell you, we need to show these hard working musicians our support. They are always here to support us. It’s our turn now!

So with that I would like to say to all of the local bands who work tirelessly for scratch, to the venues who take them in, to the writers who promote with passion, to the poster artists and photographers who capture the music visually and to all the dedicated audience members who acknowledge bands’ hard work and commitment by putting their hard-earned money into the tip jar, we salute you! We are your fans. We are your family, your friends, your community. You are the glue that keeps us united through good times and bad times. You make us unique and colorful. You are the soundtrack to the west!

My name, for all intents and purposes, is Eyeball James. I would like to a voice, be it loud or just a whisper. I am here to speak on behalf of the music community. I would like to tell you about these amazing bands on a monthly basis. Maybe just a story about one or two of them. Maybe just a listing of who I think you might want to see and where. In any case, I would be happy to hear from you. If you have a band that you’d like West Marin to know more about, let me know. We’re all in this together. See you in the audience and we will dance!

Eyeball James is the nom-de-plume of a local music aficionado. Contact him at eyeballjames@gmail.com.