ABC: Kevin Lunny’s struggle to keep his family’s oyster farm running in Point Reyes National Seashore appears to be over, closing out an era of oysterman plying the park’s pristine waters and ushering in the nation’s newest ocean wilderness.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement Thursday that he was allowing the oyster farm’s lease to expire took many by surprise — especially Drakes Bay Oyster Co. owner Lunny — whose family also operates a cattle ranch in the park.
Salazar’s move keeps intact a Congressional mandate from 1976 that sought to restore Drakes Estero to its natural state, removing the oyster racks and motor boats used to shuttle the shelled delicacies to and from shore. Environmentalists and the National Park Service said the farm disturbed harbor seal pupping, and damaged native plants.
In the end, after millions of dollars spent on studies and years of heated debate, Salazar decided that returning the area to its natural state was more important than allowing a popular local business to continue operating.