Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore is a free park in Northern California that has dozens of hiking trails along the ocean and allows dairy farms and cattle ranching.  Your first impression when driving along this two-lane road will be wow, this is what old California must have looked like many years ago.

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Pierce Point Ranch, an historic dairy farm is now a tourist attraction.

Aside from an occasional barn, the landscape scenic goes on and on, as far as the eye can see, and it’s breathtaking.  Historically, Tule Elk once grazed these hills but during the mid-century San Francisco gold rush, uncontrolled elk hunting helped feed the immigrants; but along with the growth of the ranches, elk were displaced with cattle.

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Tomales Point, the northern end of the park contains the Tule Elk Preserve.

The Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife reintroduced the elk during the 1970’s and the elks breeding success has caused some controversy.  It’s a classic confrontation between agriculture and species conservation.  Ranchers lease the land from the Park Service.  Should the grass and water be available exclusively for ranches and the cows or the elk too?  For now, the elk are doing what they have always done, living peaceably amongst themselves, occasionally hopping a fence and eating where the grass is greener.

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These tule elk bulls are the unlucky ones who lost out on the right to breed.  After rut season they will drop their antlers and go back to life within the herd.

During one special encounter at dusk, the bulls were together, challenging each other, testing their might, seeing who was the strongest and the sounds of their clicking antlers resonated with magic.  To watch a one-minute video, click below.

 

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