General Management Plan Amendment Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a General Management Plan Amendment?
A General Management Plan Amendment (GMP Amendment) is a document that partially amends an existing General Management Plan (GMP). National Park Service (NPS) policies allow for amending an existing GMP, rather than undertaking a new GMP, to address particular locations or issues. A GMP Amendment is prepared as part of a public planning process.

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What is the planning area for the GMP Amendment?
The planning area for the GMP Amendment covers more than 28,000 acres, including lands currently under agricultural lease/permits (lease/permits) and some adjacent areas within Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS) and the north district of Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).

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Why aren't you doing a complete General Management Plan for the whole park?
The Park Service is required by court order (4,799 KB PDF) to complete the GMP Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with a record of decision by July 14, 2021. Consistent with the settlement agreement, the GMP Amendment will focus on the park’s highest planning priority, the areas of PRNS and GGNRA where ranching is currently permitted.

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How will the GMP Amendment relate to the park's existing 1980 General Management Plan?
The GMP Amendment will replace the 1980 Point Reyes National Seashore GMP (4,015 KB PDF) for lands within the GMP Amendment planning area.

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Is the NPS required to consider and evaluate specific alternatives in the GMP Amendment?
Yes. Under the multi-party settlement agreement, the NPS is required to consider and evaluate the following action alternatives in the GMP Amendment: a no ranching alternative, no dairy ranching alternative, and a reduced ranching alternative. Additional alternatives will also be considered in the planning process.

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How many public comment periods will there be in this planning process?
There will be three opportunities to comment during this planning process. The first phase of planning for the GMP Amendment includes a 30-day public comment period and public meetings. The second phase of planning—the initiation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)—will include a 30-day public scoping comment period with public meetings and later a minimum of a 45-day review of the Draft EIS including public comment and public meetings.

The first comment period runs from October 16, 2017, until November 15, 2017. The NPS will be hosting two open house meetings during this comment period. You are invited to attend these meetings to discuss your thoughts and ask NPS representatives any questions you may have. The meetings will be identical in format and are intended to gather public comments for use in shaping the plan. The meetings are scheduled for late-October at the following locations:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
5–7 pm
West Marin School Gym
Point Reyes Station, CA

Thursday, October 26, 2017
5–7 pm
Bay Model Visitor Center
Sausalito, CA

Comments may also be submitted online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/poregmpa or by mailing or hand delivering comments to:

GMP Amendment c/o Superintendent
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

More opportunities for public comment will be available later during this planning process.

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What is the sequence of events in this planning process ?
First phase: GMP Amendment planning

  • 37-day public comment period & public meetings
  • NPS refines concept range of alternatives and initial proposal (in progress)
  • NPS gathers necessary information to meaningfully evaluate the impacts of concept alternatives

Second phase: Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

  • Notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS, 30-day public comment period with public meetings
  • NPS develops a Draft EIS
  • Draft EIS released to the public for a minimum 45-day review & public comment & public meetings
  • NPS develops Final EIS
  • Final EIS released to public; 30-day waiting period
  • Record of decision (ROD) signed

Events in bold italics above are opportunities for public engagement.

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How will my comments be used in this first phase of planning?
All comments will be read and reviewed for content that will inform the planning process.This analysis will help the NPS refine the initial proposal, alternatives and the significant issues that will be considered in the GMP Amendment.

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Is commenting during this planning process like voting on an alternative?
No. Commenting is not a form of "voting" on an alternative. The number of comments received on a topic is not a determination of its merit for consideration in the planning process.

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Why will this plan take 4 years, when the Department of Interior (DOI) requires all Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) to be completed in 1 year?
The Department of Interior issued Secretarial Order 3355 on August 31, 2017, implementing new streamlining requirements for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. To ensure the requirements of this order are met, planning for the GMP Amendment will begin before initiation of the formal NEPA review. This planning approach offers an additional 30-day public comment period with public meetings. After the NPS has refined the initial proposal and concept range of alternatives with public input, and when the NPS can effectively and efficiently analyze the potential impacts, the second phase of planning will begin with a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This approach is consistent with the timeline provided in the court ordered settlement agreement.

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Will the NPS issue lease/permits to the park ranchers during the GMP Amendment planning process?
Under the terms of the settlement agreement (4,799 KB PDF), the NPS has issued lease/permits to ranchers for terms not to exceed five (5) years from the date the agreement was approved by the court, July 14, 2017. These interim leases provide greater certainty to ranchers than the one-year authorizations the NPS issued during the Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan process.

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How will the NPS mitigate impacts to park ranch operations from tule elk while the GMP Amendment is being developed?
The park recognizes this is an ongoing concern to ranch operations. The park will continue to work with park ranchers and the Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association throughout the planning process to address management of the tule elk in a manner consistent with the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement states that the NPS will preserve and manage tule elk, "and shall endeavor to use non-lethal management techniques to manage the population of the Drakes Beach herd."

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What park management is currently happening on ranches?
In order to adhere to various regulatory requirements and park service mandates, the park's range program:

  • Monitors various attributes including vegetation, water quality, and ranch infrastructure.
  • Implements best management practices to protect sensitive resources including water quality and rare and endangered species.
  • Conducts residual dry matter monitoring each fall to get a sense of how much grazing occurred during the year.
  • Conducts invasive species management.
  • Conducts permitting for individual management actions and improvements by ranch operators not covered under lease/permits, such as fence construction and installation of water troughs.

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Last updated: November 27, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Phone:

(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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