A General Management Plan 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.
The NPS started the GMP Amendment planning process in fall of 2017 with an initial public comment period and public meetings, and received nearly 3000 comment letters. Since the end of the comment period, the NPS has been analyzing the comments, and refining the concept range of alternatives and initial proposal. The NPS has also been gathering information necessary to meaningfully evaluate the impacts of the concept alternatives.
The Park Service is required by a court-approved settlement agreement (4,799 KB PDF) to complete this plan and issue 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 Point Reyes and Golden Gate where ranching is currently permitted.
The GMP Amendment will replace the 1980 Point Reyes National Seashore GMP (4,015 KB PDF) for lands within the GMP Amendment planning area.
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. The NOI identifies additional alternatives that would be considered in the planning process.
A proposed action is the initial NPS proposal to address the purpose and need of the plan, and is presented in the NOI to prepare a plan. A preferred alternative is the alternative the NPS determines will best accomplish the purpose and need of the proposed action that meets the NPS mission and responsibility, with consideration to economic, environmental, and technical factors. The preferred alternative will be identified in the draft EIS.
All comments will be sorted into categories of concern statements. These concerns will help guide the alternatives, issues, impact topics, and references to be considered in the GMP Amendment. Numerous comments that repeat the same basic message will be responded to collectively.
No, commenting is not a form of “voting” on an alternative. The amount of comments received on a topic is not a determination of its merit for consideration in the 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 years from the date the agreement was approved by the court, July 14, 2017. These interim leases provide greater certainty to ranchers than the 1-year authorizations the NPS issued during the Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan process.
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.
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.
First phase: Begin General Management Plan Amendment planning
37-day public comment period & public meetings: October 16 through November 22, 2017
- NPS refines concept range of alternatives and initial proposal: November 2017–October 2018
- NPS gathers necessary information to meaningfully evaluate the impacts of concept alternatives: November 2017–October 2018
Second phase: Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the GMP Amendment (in progress)
- Notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS; 30-day public comment period, including public meetings: October 31–November 30, 2018
- NPS develops a Draft EIS for GMP Amendment: Fall 2018–Summer 2019 (in progress)
- Draft EIS released to the public; 45-day review and public comment period, including public meetings: anticipated Summer 2019
- NPS develops Final EIS for GMP Amendment: Summer 2019–Winter 2019/2020
- Final EIS released to public; 30-day waiting period: anticipated Winter 2019/2020
- GMP Amendment Record of Decision (ROD) signed by NPS Pacific West Regional Director: anticipated early 2020