Protect Drakes Estero with the Wilderness Act!
  • Petitioned Ken Salazar

This petition was delivered to:

Department of the Interior
Ken Salazar
National Park Service
Jon Jarvis

Protect Drakes Estero with the Wilderness Act!

    1. Petition by

      Turtle Island Restoration Network

November 2012


From the Turtle Island Restoration Network: Thanks to your support and the contributions of thousands of conservation activists around the country, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Ken Salazar, announced yesterday that full Wilderness Act protections will be granted throughout the entire Drakes Estero within the Point Reyes National Seashore in northern California. We did it! This historic decision means harbor seal pups, blue herons, egrets, and all of the special wildlife within this iconic wetland system will experience a future free from commercial aquaculture and the noise and pollution that resulted from it. Most importantly, the integrity of the federal Wilderness Act was upheld and the promise by Congress in the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness was kept despite the intense insider lobbying from corporate interests trying to expand their private operations deeper into public trust lands. With your continued support, Turtle Island Restoration Network and our allies will be watching closely to ensure the transition to full wilderness in Drakes Estero is completed and will continue to work tirelessly to protect California’s wildlife and the healthy habitats we all rely on.

My name is Gordon Bennett. For most of my life, I have held a special, personal connection to Drakes Estero, a unique estuary that is the biological heart of Point Reyes National Seashore, which is two hours north but worlds away from San Francisco, California. Drakes Estero is the only marine wilderness on the West Coast, home to protected species of birds, fish and marine mammals. It was intended by the Congressional Wilderness Act to be a sanctuary for the entire American public, but is now under threat of development.

My wife and I used to visit this estuary with friends and kids to enjoy nature and take a break from work. I hope to ensure these kids have the same opportunity to share Drakes Estero with their kids.

The National Park Service had announced that they would not renew the operating lease that allows commercial operations in the park, and that they intended to protect the estuary as wilderness. But then the company that bought the operating lease secretly began a ruthless campaign to extend its lease and its footprint in the park -- completely undermining the Wilderness Act and putting the habitat at risk.

The company that wants control of the estuary has a long history of deceiving the public and harming the environment, including:

·      The company’s public relations were crafted by Singer Associates, who did Chevron’s dirty work against Ecuadorian environmentalists.   Singer framed the company as the victim of government abuse. In fact, the company owner gambled that he could use his political connections to extend the lease.

·      The company has racked up a long list of environmental violations including a $62,500 fine (unpaid) for placing mariculture equipment in a protected seal birthing area, yet claims to be a “sustainable operation.”

·      While claiming itself as the “little guy,” the company has nevertheless unleashed a horde of high-priced lawyers to pressure the Park Service with baseless threats that have cost the American taxpayer millions to defend.

 ·      The owner shamelessly promotes professional videos of sobbing family members - trying to con the public into supporting his private profits from these public lands. 

I really need your help today. My local fight has national implications - if this new company succeeds in undermining the most important national law protecting our parks, the door will be opened for even larger industries to begin tearing into the public’s protected parks.  There are places for these companies to pursue profits, but not in the only Congressionally-designated Marine Wilderness on the West Coast!

My fight also has local implications. My family and many in our community want to be able to experience the Estero as the peaceful refuge intended by Congress. Instead it has become a manufactured maelstrom of money-grasping and mud-slinging.

With your support, the promises made to preserve the estuary over thirty years ago can be realized. Let's work together to save the Wilderness Act!

(Please click "Opt-In" when signing this petition and we will keep you informed on meaningful ways to save Drakes Estero and wilderness everywhere, especially the wild areas that you know and love.)

Thank You.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 8,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • kristi matthews OAKLAND, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      the oysters are there for them to farm b/c the estuary was protected. over-ruling anything designed to protect our lands is unholy.

    • Steve Avila LOS ANGELES, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      I love nature.

    • Merilyn Hand PAIA, HI
      • almost 2 years ago

      It is one of the last pristine places on west coast...I've spent alot of time amazing natural place !

    • Bill Merritt HOUSTON, TX
      • almost 2 years ago

      Once their gone their gone forever!

    • Christine Champe ARCATA, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      I grew up in Marin County and recognize how special this area is as a wild area in the highly developed SF Bay Area


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.