In a July 25, letter addressed to Ted McIsaac, President, Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association twelve ranchers representing six or seven ranches on the Seashore wrote:
Thank you for listening to our concerns about the Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association. We, the undersigned, hereby resign from The Association effective immediately.
It has become increasingly evident that our styles of communication in matters pertinent to the Point Reyes National Seashore are very different. This was most recently evidenced by the letter dated July 21, 2014, which was sent on behalf of The Association to Superintendent Muldoon and various elected officials. We felt that we had inadequate time to review and respond and consider the implications of such a letter being sent.
We realize it is difficult to maintain cohesiveness in a group as diverse as the Association. We appreciate all of the efforts of those creating and maintaining the Association over the past several years. However, we feel it is in the best interest of all the ranchers if we left the group.” This letter was signed by Robert McClure, Tim Kehoe, Thomas Kehoe, Mike Kehoe, Daniel and Dolores Evans, Julie Rossotti, David Evans, Betty Nunes, Joe Mendoza (now retired from running L&B ranches), and Robert Giacomini and Elmer Martinelli (who both have small pasture grazing leases on Seashore land).”
This letter began circulating on social media two weeks ago.
The Citizen has attempted to learn what motivated this surprising move, coming so soon after a recent show of unity and consensus in the Ranchers Association’s scoping comments on the new General Management Plan for the Seashore.
The Citizen spoke with McIsaac who expressed disappointment in the resignations but assured us that the majority of ranches remained committed to the Association. He did not offer any specific reasons for the decision but did mention the concern many ranchers feel over the future of ranching in the Seashore and the importance of maintaining a good relationship with local Park personnel.
McIsaac also spoke of problems that several ranches are having with free-ranging elk, and the frustration that no immediate solutions are being offered by the Park Service. McIsaac and Kevin Lunny, who also spoke with the Citizen, indicated possible “political” motives and differences in priorities of the signees compared to other members of the Association., such as the resigning ranchers not having the problems with elk other ranchers are coping with.
Both expressed disappointment over the split, coming from life-long friends and fellow-ranchers. “We think we’re stronger if we can be unified, and we were,” said Lunny. McIsaac echoed similar thoughts. “We still think it’s a very useful organization. It’s a tool to meet and keep each other up on what’s happening…All the people who’ve been active for a decade are still active. Our commitment to help everyone in the seashore is still here.”
Mr. Lunny said the ranchers who resigned didn’t give the association an opportunity to discuss the issue before they gave the letter to Mr. McIsaac.
The Citizen welcomes comments and information from other ranchers and the public on this matter.