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Contact: John A. Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135
On September 10 and September 11, 2006, National Park Service Rangers and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office entered another marijuana grow site at Point Reyes National Seashore. The law enforcement effort confiscated approximately 3,540 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $8.75 million dollars. The growing site was located on Inverness Ridge in a remote hidden drainage in the Muddy Hollow area. A contract helicopter hauled twenty loads over four hours on Monday to remove the marijuana plants for disposal.
In the Bolinas Ridge area, the NPS and other agencies removed a smaller site where 2,500 plants were growing in July and in late August removed 22,740 plants. The estimated street value of the marijuana removed to date over $71 million.
“Since the last removal of illegal marijuana, Point Reyes rangers have been on the alert for more growing sites and suspicious activity. Our goal is to do surveillance on every major drainage to determine whether there is any additional illegal activity on park lands. We are working overtime to fully eliminate the growing of marijuana on park and adjacent public lands,” stated Don Neubacher, Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore.
“We are doing our best to ensure the safety of park visitors and staff and eliminate the resource damage caused by this illegal growing activity. Our special investigators along with the Marin County Sheriff officers are following leads generated from evidence collected at the growing sites.” stated Colin Smith, Chief Ranger at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Lieutenant Scott Anderson of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office stated, “We have worked well with the National Park Service and will continue to work cooperatively to eliminate this illegal activity and resource damage to park lands.”
The area under cultivation suffered extensive resource damage from the growing operations and intensive use of the area. A comprehensive resource assessment was conducted after evidence was collected at the new site. Similar to other sites, the area’s native vegetation was damaged, water systems constructed, and a small hidden camp was developed. Growers are killing wildlife, diverting streams that contain threatened species of fish, using harmful pesticides and bringing the presence of violence to these natural areas.
Efforts are underway to remove all the garbage from the site and to begin restoration work. The cost of the restoration effort and other costs for all the sites damaged is approximately $100,000.