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Culture (January 1st 2012 - December 31st, 2013)

Michael Bajko

New Lynn Sea Scouts: Remembrance

G. Donald Bain

Drakes Bay Oyster Farm

Drakes Estero, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California USA

December 3, 2012 1 pm

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© 2012 G. Donald Bain, All Rights Reserved.



The Drakes Bay Oyster Company, and before it the Johnson Oyster Co, have operated an oyster farm here at the head of Schooner Bay, a branch of Drakes Estero, for 70 years. It lies within Point Reyes National Seashore.

In 1976 an act of Congress designated Drakes Estero as a marine wilderness area. The National Park Service scheduled the oyster operation for closure in 2012 when their 40 year lease ran out. This photograph was taken a week after the Secretary of the Interior denied an appeal by the oyster farm owners and gave them 90 days to close down and move out.

There is a three-way cultural conflict here: a demand for strong environmental protection by many local citizens and the federal government; versus the vested interest of the dairy farmer who owns it and his employees; allied with the "foodies" of the Bay Area, who value this local source of high quality oysters.

There has already been a special act of Congress that allows a special exemption for the oyster operation, similar to the way that dairy farms have been allowed to continue operation as part of the cultural landscape of the peninsula. The issue is now back in court - it will be interesting to follow.


Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR with a 15mm Canon fisheye lens, on a Nodal Ninja VR mount, Really Right Stuff ballhead, and Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod. Stitched with PTGui Pro 9.0 on a Macintosh Intel Core 2 Duo iMac, retouched with Photoshop CS3.

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