The Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America

The Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America

by Summer Brennan

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Overview

The Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America by Summer Brennan

It all began simply enough. In 1976 the Point Reyes Wilderness Act granted the highest protection in America to more than 33,000 acres of California forest, grassland and shoreline - including Drakes Estero, an estuary of stunning beauty. Inside was a small, family-run oyster farm first established in the 1930s. A local rancher bought the business in 2005, renaming it The Drakes Bay Oyster Company. When the National Park Service informed him that the 40-year lease would not be renewed past 2012, he vowed to keep the farm in business even if it meant taking his fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

Environmentalists, national politicians, scientists, and the Department of the Interior all joined a protracted battle for the estuary that had the power to influence the future of wilderness for decades to come. Were the oyster farmers environmental criminals, or victims of government fraud? Fought against a backdrop of fear of government corruption and the looming specter of climate change, the battle struck a national nerve, pitting nature against agriculture and science against politics, as it sought to determine who belonged and who didn’t belong, and what it means to be wild.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619025271
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 08/11/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 802,284
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Summer Brennan was born to parents living in a houseboat on the San Francisco Bay. She has written for magazines and newspapers all over the country and works regularly with the United Nations Press Office in New York covering issues related to decolonization, disarmament, human rights and the environment. As an undergraduate at Bennington she studied with Mary Oliver. Later she took her masters from NYU in journalism and the Middle East. The Oyster War is her first book. Learn more at theoysterwar.com.

Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae xi

Maps xv

Prologue 1

Part I The Broken Shore

1 The Oyster Farm 9

2 Fault Lines 27

3 The Fable of the California Oyster 43

4 A Friend of the Earth 65

Part II How to Curate the Wild

5 A New Venture 85

6 The Saving of Point Reyes 99

7 Enter the Blast Furnace 121

8 The Non-Natives Are Restless 131

9 Reinforcements 157

10 The Worst-Case Scenario 183

Part III The Geography of Hope

11 Casino 203

12 David v. Goliath 217

13 Shell Games 237

14 Reckoning 261

15 In Search of an Original Wild 281

Acknowledgments 289

Selected Bibliography 297

Appendices 315

Index 365

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