Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore

Legislation would extend oyster operation in Bay Area national park

June 24, 2009, 6:51 am

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday attached a rider to a spending bill that would allow California's largest commercial shellfish farm to continue operating in a Bay Area national park. 

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has been battling the National Park Service to extend its business operation beyond a 2012 federal deadline. The 1,100-acre farm property inside the Point Reyes National Seashore was slated to become protected wilderness in three years. 

Feinstein's bill would prolong oysterman Kevin Lunny's lease for 10 years, even though an Interior Department attorney concluded that any extension of the operation would violate the federal Wilderness Act. 

Lunny said he was thrilled at the prospect of the lease extension. "We feel fortunate to have an elected official who is really willing to dig down and understand these issues that we may see as small local issues," Lunny said. Feinstein "understands how important this resource is to our community and to our region," he added.