Commerce Policies on National Parks
Do Not Apply to Wilderness Areas
On 9/27, Corey Goodman's The Point Reyes Light newspaper published a piece authored by the paper's co-owner, Mark Dowie, titled "Commerce is a central purpose in parks." In Mr Dowie's piece he writes on "...business operations in America's 388 national parks, many of them chains with multiple outlets scattered about park lands." He notes "...many produce carbon footprints far larger than that of an oyster farm."
A National Park is not Wilderness (see here for a brief article)
Mr Dowie confuses national parks with lands set aside by the Wilderness Act. Further, he misses the spatial and temporal impact which Drakes Bay Oyster Company has on Drakes Estero, now part of the Phillip Burton Wilderness, created in 1976. DBOC is not a concession stand selling "souvenir teddy bears" in a national park. Its activities are impacting over 150 acres within a wilderness area, protected by the Wilderness Act, for everyone to experience. Not one to profit from.
Part of the Phillip Burton Wilderness
impacted spatially by DBOC.
Structures of racks and bags.
Would this even be allowed
under NPS commerce policies?
A Compelling Story, But it Misses The Point
In Mr Dowie's piece he creates a compelling story about national parks having "...cruise lines, hotels, bath houses, marinas, outfitters, parking facilities, service stations and - perhaps the most ecologically destructive of them all - golf courses." Alarmingly, he notes that due to human activities, "Grizzly bear deaths from vehicle collisions in Yellowstone National Park alone have doubled since 2000."*
*While Mr Dowie fails to point to what this number is, information on Grizzly deaths in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is available from the USGS (this area is larger than the park). In 2010, out of 50 deaths, 2 were "road kill." In 2011, of 44 deaths, 2 were "road kill." In 2012, of 56 deaths, 2 were related to vehicle strikes. To date, in 2013, out of 21 deaths, 2 were related to vehicles. How many cows or Tule Elk have been killed by cars on Point Reyes is unknown, and how many more may be killed by cars if DBOC ceases operation is anyone's guess.
Wilderness Areas Are Unique
Mr Dowie correctly writes, "It has become quite difficult for humans or wildlife to find true peace or a semblance of wilderness in an American national park." Mr Dowie, however, incorrectly links policy statements on commerce which apply to national parks to how lands set aside under the Wilderness Act are to be managed. Mr Dowie's attempt to reframe the picture to one of Drakes Estero being only part a National Park is regrettable.