Beware The Pods! National Park Service crusade on sanity zeroes in on 30 people shucking sustainable oysters

Beware The Pods! National Park Service crusade on sanity zeroes in on 30 people shucking sustainable oysters

Russ Imrie July 2012 – disclaimer: I know the owners of and am in favor of continuing the operation of  Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes National Seashore and believe the National Park Service’s  (NPS) vendetta [on the oyster operation] is misguided and an abuse of power. This is an OPINION piece. Many others have weighed in on this issue which has touched on Washington DC, (Congress and is even, in some fevered minds, Obama’s fault) and Sacramento but which actually involves every American. For absolutely the best collection of documents, letters, news on this PLEASE go to the Oysterzone, a blog created by Jane G. of Point Reyes Station.


now read on…

What’s there not to like? 

This tiny sustainable operation has so much going for it above and beyond its position as a local “poster child” for malignant regulation abuse.

From the "table with a view" at Drake's Bay Oyster Farm. It. Does. Not. Get. Any. Fresher.

From the “table with a view” at Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm. It. Does. Not. Get. Any. Fresher. – photo Russ Imrie

Thirty skilled aquaculture workers are tasked with moving raw shellfish to the crowded counter a few feet away in a wholly transparent operation that adds to park visitors’ experience and pleasure.

Park visitors Shelley and Chet - photo Russ Imrie

Park visitors Shelley and Chet – photo Russ Imrie

The oysters are raised in a very natural manner that does not disturb wildlife more than many human activities and the oysters filter water in the estuary.  This is a natural function that (according to a July 6, 2012 article in the San Francisco Chronicleall-but-extinct native oysters performed before they were lethally harvested and polluted out of the picture along the California Coast.

Zealotry’s collateral damage

The farm harvests 40% of the total California oyster totals and its fees to the beleaguered state budget (about $15,000 per year) support much of the states’s aquaculture budget. This is to say nothing about payroll taxes from the aforementioned employees. That’s not a lot but what are they thinking? Can California afford throwing away a single dollar and adding to unemployment? Is the NPS in charge of California’s state budget? Are partisan politics and policy blinding the NPS from the fact that local business and workers pay a lot of tax in this country, on this planet?

The nonsense goes on…the NPS at Point Reyes is celebrating it’s 40th year. They have a “green” electrically-powered Toyota RAV EV all painted at the park headquarters. But, but…Importing the tons of oysters expertly produced at Drake’s from Washington or Louisiana would dump tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Local is more than a buzzword in the  Point Reyes community and about the furthest away you can find the shellfish is in San Francisco.

In the law creating the Seashore, the California Department of Fish and Game explicitly reserved the right to license fishing and aquaculture operations in the seashore boundaries. Not the NPS. This kind of jurisdictional overreach is a big part of the dispute over Drake’s permit extension.

The pods are here! Lets weaponize National Park Service administration!

In 1956 the bar was set for paranoia in America with Don Siegel’s  film “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers“. This is SO rife with parallels in the NPS oystergate affair today. In the film, protagonist Dr. Bennell battles against an overwhelming takeover of small-town…well let’s read the synopsis from IMDB…

Dr Miles Bennell returns to his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim’s lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon. This film can be seen as a paranoid 1950s warning against those Damn Commies or, conversely, as a metaphor for the tyranny of McCarthyism (or the totalitarian system of Your Choice) and has a pro- and epilogue that was forced upon Siegel by the studio to lighten the tone.Written by Mark Thompson <>

It''s awful! Screenshot from Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 (IMDB)

It’s…it’s awful! Screenshot from Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 (IMDB)

OMG right there in our park! Alien pod-pickers?

OMG right there in our park! Alien pod-pickers? – and in delicious irony for the metaphor, the pods have an uncanny resemblance to our beloved oysters!

Then add in the horrifying radiation-activated monster Godzilla  (1954), bus desegregation, nasty “wetbacks” and the peak of the Bracero Program, and white-bread America had a load of buttons to be pushed. The zealot-fueled NPS process today is similarly being activated with terror-mongering ideology and shaky science-like justifications in pursuit of a mythical ideal. Both the film and the NPS thinking are fantasies. (again, PLEASE go to Oysterzone)

“I will act in the interest of the advancement of science and scholarship for sound decision making, by using the most appropriate, best available, high quality scientific and scholarly data and information…and I will not intentionally hinder the scientific and scholarly activities of others…” (Interior Department’s Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct)

But sound files from a New jersey Police study of JetSki noise was inserted into a sandbagged report that falsified the racket  as being generated by the skiffs the Oyster harvesters use. Busted.

Complaints about the integrity report and a hasty closed-door “investigation” to “clean up the paper trail” was quoted as including the phrase:

sloppy use of data, but forgive the troops.”

So what’s going on here? 

There is nowhere on this planet which is unaffected by the human race and its doings. To even think that Point Reyes can somehow be utterly “cleansed” or “purified” by some kind of exorcism of the last 150 years of fishing and ranching. let alone human existence, is ludicrous. The law creating the Point ReyesNational Seashore foresaw this. It is clear. It is realistic. It must not be twisted to the irrational zealotry of a few who want to bankrupt good governance, robust and healthy science, and sanity.

more links:



distant US Capitol dome

U.S. Capitol SOTU eve, 2011 – photo Russ Imrie

Russell Imrie is a  Networking and Content Specialist, webmaster and an American Indian blogger living in the Washington DC area.

Copyright © forever by Russell Imrie

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