It's been a year of important milestones in Marin County,
California. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the Marin
Headlands, turned 40. The Golden Gate Bridge hit 75 years. Further north, the
Point Reyes National Seashore is 50. Now, an oyster farm's lease to operate on
National Park Service land inside the National Seashore has expired. Secretary
of the Interior Ken Salazar rejected pleas to extend and renew the lease, ending a highly charged battle between Drakes Oyster Company,
the National Park Service, and environmental groups.
During the 1960s, both the headlands and the beaches along
the Point Reyes Peninsula were under threat by developers who wanted to build
up and subdivide those landscapes, so locals pushed for protection, fought
hard, and won. It's difficult to imagine what Point Reyes would look like today
if it had been developed and a planned major freeway cut through West
Marine—let alone a proposed nuclear power plant.
But recently, the Drakes Oyster Company has been at the
center of a storm over the Drakes Estero, a 2,000-acre, ecologically important
estuary in which it operates. In 1962, Point Reyes National Seashore was added
to the National Park System and sections of it were later deemed to become
wilderness areas. In 1972, the National Park Service bought out the Johnson
Oyster Company and granted it a lease to continue operating for 40 years. When
Kevin Lunny purchased the company in 2004, his lawyers told him they could
likely get the lease extended, according to the Mercury News.
The accusations on both sides have been fierce. In a
polished, 20-minute video on its website,
Drakes Bay Oyster Company accuses the government of looking for environmental
harm where it does not exist and says the National Park Service has hid
information that would have exonerated the company from claims that its
operations hurt the estero and its federally protected harbor seals. In the
video, Corey Goodman, a neuroscientist and biotech entrepreneur
who Drakes Bay called in to fact-check the Park Service's findings, accuses the
NPS of scientific misconduct.
But the Sierra Club, the Marin
Audubon Society, and the Natural Resources Defense Council are among the
groups who applaud Salazar's decision, saying that moving forward with a marine
wilderness designation for the estero—making it the first such area on the
West Coast—is the right thing to do.
Last week, on a safari in South Africa’s Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park, I picked up my SLR with the long lens to photograph a lioness and her kill at a watering hole, and the strap simply fell off the camera. I got lucky—my $2,000-worth of electronics didn’t clatter to the floor of the Jeep or fall in the sand. I caught the camera. But luck isn’t what you want to rely on with a camera strap. It’s an accessory that should be functional, comfortable, and, most important, dependable.
Traditional camera straps are often difficult to attach and detach, they're bulky and expensive. That’s why Peak Design is making Leash. Re-defining the classic camera strap, Leash has an elegant quick-connect system, it's made from high-quality and secure materials, and it's rugged and minimalist. Use it as a neck strap, sling strap, safety tether, or video stabilizer, and when you don’t want it, it quickly disconnects from your camera and rolls up small enough to stuff in your back pocket.
Airstream in repose, Gallo Campground, Chaco Canyon (note trash bag window). Photo: Katie Arnold
This year we decided to do something different for Thanksgiving. Instead of traveling to be with extended family or entertaining them here, we opted to stay put in Santa Fe and keep it simple. But when we fished around for an invitation to a proper Thanksgiving dinner and came up empty, staying home no longer seemed so festive. What would be more exciting than turkey for four around our dining room table? An Airstream road trip!
All fall, we’d been wanting to go to Chaco Canyon, a rugged valley in northwestern New Mexico that, a thousand years ago, was a major trading center for Native Americans. Today it’s a wild, desolate landscape dotted with crumbling ruins, a campground and visitor center, and not a single tree. From there, we’d head to Canyon de Chelly, a 30-mile-long chasm on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Both are World Heritage Sites and have major historical significance to the native peoples of the Southwest. It seemed a perfect, semi-spontaneous way to celebrate Thanksgiving—deep in the heart of Indian country, immersed in a culture that preceded our own by centuries.
“If we want to
restore public confidence and sponsors, we must act quickly and
decisively," LeMond told French newspaper Le Monde. "Otherwise, cycling will die. Riders do not understand that
if we continue like this, there will soon be no money in cycling.”