"A compelling and evocative read" about an all-out battle over a marine sanctuary in Northern California (Erik Larson, New York Times–bestselling author of Dead Wake).
It all began simply enough. In 1976, the Point Reyes Wilderness Act was passed with broad support, giving more than 33,000 acres of forest, grassland and shoreline the highest possible environmental protection in America. Those lands were to include a rare marine sanctuary, the Drakes Estuary, as "potential wilderness."
Located in that estuary was a small, struggling oyster farm. In existence for more than eighty years, it was accused of doing environmental harm. In 2005 the farm was given notice by the National Parks Service that its lease on the property, due to expire in 2012, would not be renewed. The intention was to allow this area to be restored and to be a viable part of the wilderness preserve. Kevin Lunny, a local rancher who had bought the oyster farm in 2005 and renamed it The Drakes Bay Oyster Company, refused to acknowledge the term of the lease, nor did he intend to abide by it, and thus began a protracted battle in the courts and in the court of public opinion over the future of the estuary. This is the story of that battle and the people who fought it, from environmentalists and local activists to national politicians, scientists, and the Department of the Interior.
"An absorbing account of the clash between environmentalists and oyster farmers in the coastal towns north of San Francisco . . . [Brennan] confronts the ambiguities of the conflicting arguments and motives of the key players . . . Well-written and superbly reported." —Kirkus Reviews (starred)