Point Reyes ranches listed on National Register of Historic Places

Inclusion of several Point Reyes National Seashore ranches on the National Register of Historic Places will play a role in the ongoing review of the future of these ranches in the park, according to park officials.

Seventeen ranches and about 150 structures are included in the newly recognized, 22,237-acre Point Reyes Peninsula Dairy Ranches Historic District. The designation made last month comes after a multi-year effort by the National Park Service dating back to when park historian Dewey Livingston first conceptualized the idea in the mid-1990s. Some of the dairy ranches are more than 160 years old.

The designation comes as the park is preparing an environmental review on how it should manage tule elk and the leases that allow ranchers to operate in the park. Some of the alternatives being considered would reduce or entirely do away with ranching and dairy operations within the park.

Paul Engel, the park’s archaeologist and cultural resources program lead, said the historic place designation requires the park to minimize impacts to the actual locations and structures rather than dairy operations, though the two are often tied together.

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