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New Super for Yosemite

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New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 03:44PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 2, 2010
Contact: David Barna (202) 208-6843
Gerry Gaumer (202) 208-6843


Neubacher Named Superintendent of Yosemite National Park


WASHINGTON - Don Neubacher has been selected as the new superintendent of
Yosemite National Park in California. Neubacher takes over from David
Uberuaga who has been acting superintendent since Mike Tollefson retired
last year.


Yosemite National Park is one of the icons of the National Park System.
Set aside as a national park in 1890 because of the spectacular tract of
mountain-and-valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada, the park preserves
stunning waterfalls, meadows, and forests that include groves of giant
sequoias, the world's largest living things. Yosemite National Park
welcomes more than three million visitors annually and is home to one of
the most complex ecosystems in the world.


"Don is a seasoned manager who has proven himself time and time again to be
an exceptional leader," said National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon
Jarvis. "He brings a thoughtful approach to the vast range of issues faced
by a modern park manager in protecting park resources, providing quality
experiences to our visitors, and motivating a highly professional staff.
Yosemite is a high priority position, and I appreciate Don taking on this
new challenge."


"I also want to commend Dave Uberuaga for his stellar work leading Yosemite
during this year-long transition," said Jarvis. "Dave stepped into one of
most complex assignments in the National Park System and never missed a
beat. He got up to speed quickly, moved negotiations along on the largest
concession contract in the system, and provided the day-to-day leadership
that our partners and employees need to care for Yosemite."


"Yosemite National Park has an inspired staff that has been a leader in
preserving one of the nation's most sacred treasures," said Neubacher. "I
look forward to working with park staff and the many partners and
interested groups to ensure Yosemite's future is unimpaired for generations
to come."


Neubacher has been superintendent at Point Reyes National Seashore for the
past 15 years. During his tenure, he was responsible for completing a
number of important initiatives including the Giacomini Wetlands
Restoration Plan/EIS, the Fire Management Plan, the Coastal Watershed
Restoration Plan/EIS, and the implementation of the park's Land Protection
Plan.


A 28-year veteran of the National Park Service, Neubacher has previously
served as deputy general manager of the Presidio of San Francisco, chief of
visitor services at Point Reyes, education program administrator at Point
Reyes, seminar coordinator for the Coastal Park Association, natural
resources lecturer for Humboldt State University, and park ranger at
Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.


Neubacher is a 2006 graduate of the Senior Executive Service training.
Honors and awards include: the Sierra Club Resource Conservation Award in
2008, the NPS Director's Award for Wilderness Stewardship (2005), the
Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Award (2002),
Superintendent of the Year/ Pacific West Region (2001), Meritorious Service
Award, Department of the Interior (2000); and Superintendent of the Year,
Natural Resource Management, Pacific West Region (1998).


Neubacher is a graduate of the University of California-Davis where he
received a bachelor of science degree in planning and management and
Humboldt State University in Arcata, California where he received a
master's degree in natural resource management.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 04:45PM
All I can say is - huh?

I remember Neubacher has gotten flak over his handling of the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm. I wonder how much this changes the dynamic, since he pretty much led the effort to make sure that the reservation of use would not be renewed in 2012.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 04:59PM
Think the Foresta fire had anything to do with this decision?



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 05:07PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Think the Foresta fire had anything to do with this decision?

Probably not. Appointing Uberuaga as acting superintendent most likely meant the intended to find someone else from the start.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 05:10PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Think the Foresta fire had anything to do with this decision?

Maybe the NPS upper management sensed that he just wanted to go home. Apparently his wife stayed behind at their home outside of Mount Rainer NP.

Still waiting for a decision: Rainier or Yosemite?
http://www.thenewstribune.com/adventure/columnists/story/1011571.html
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 05:26PM
Although it is often hard to determine what constitutes good management, my experience is that it is best appreciated in its absence and bad management has a pervasive and insidious effect. It seems unlikely that day to day issues are much affected by management, but the longer term issues must certainly be influenced. I wonder if the major environmental lobbies have any influence on these sort of decisions.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 06:45PM
Quote
y_p_w
All I can say is - huh?

I remember Neubacher has gotten flak over his handling of the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm. I wonder how much this changes the dynamic, since he pretty much led the effort to make sure that the reservation of use would not be renewed in 2012.

Turlock/Patterson is about 1/2 way between Point Reyes and Yosemite. Maybe he could keep his old job and cover Yosemite also! Way to cut the deficit!



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 02, 2010 11:43PM
It's a huge leap from Pt Reyes Seashore to.....Yosemite??!! The guy must have an impressive bag of tricks that are yet to be revealed.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 12:28AM
Quote
Bee
It's a huge leap from Pt Reyes Seashore to.....Yosemite??!! The guy must have an impressive bag of tricks that are yet to be revealed.


One thing that he has surely demonstrated is incredible patience and restraint in dealing with the whining moron that owns the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 06:23PM
Can somebody fill me in what th story is about the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm? I have heard reference to it, but I don't know what the "story" is.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 06:27PM
Quote
Bee
Can somebody fill me in what th story is about the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm? I have heard reference to it, but I don't know what the "story" is.

I will give you an explanation only if someone who actually knows what they are talking about doesn't respond.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 06:34PM
So you are planning on clamming up, so to speak?
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 06:45PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
Bee
Can somebody fill me in what th story is about the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm? I have heard reference to it, but I don't know what the "story" is.

I will give you an explanation only if someone who actually knows what they are talking about doesn't respond.

Send me a PM if you prefer.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 07:07PM
Quote
Bee
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
Bee
Can somebody fill me in what th story is about the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm? I have heard reference to it, but I don't know what the "story" is.

I will give you an explanation only if someone who actually knows what they are talking about doesn't respond.

Send me a PM if you prefer.

Now I'm going to have to look it up rather than just making it up, like Len thinks I did on the Clean Water issue.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 08:02PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Now I'm going to have to look it up rather than just making it up, like Len thinks I did on the Clean Water issue.

WATT???!!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Watt



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/2010 08:02PM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 08:05PM
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
Frank Furter
Now I'm going to have to look it up rather than just making it up, like Len thinks I did on the Clean Water issue.

WATT???!!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Watt

In 1983, Watt banned The Beach Boys from playing a Fourth of July concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., saying that rock concerts drew "an undesirable element"; the group had played each year on the Mall on the Fourth of July from 1976 to 1981.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 11:01PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
Bee
Can somebody fill me in what th story is about the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm? I have heard reference to it, but I don't know what the "story" is.

I will give you an explanation only if someone who actually knows what they are talking about doesn't respond.

Neubacher has had his fair share of controversy. He approved the use of professional hunters to reduce the population of non-native axis and fallow deer in Point Reyes. The professional hunters shot at them at night from helicopters. I tend to agree that they don't belong there, but again it's been controversial.

Then there was an LE ranger at Point Reyes who ended up pepper-spraying a couple of teenagers outside of the Point Reyes NS boundaries. It was complicated, but from all accounts there was no danger to the rangers or public safety. I don't think he every got reprimanded by Neubacher. That LE ranger apparently left the area as a condition to a legal settlement after he tried hosing down a motorcyclist riding legally on the street. The last I heard he was at Sequoia NP (stationed at Mineral King) and then left the NPS to join the Forest Service.

http://www.foxreno.com/news/4964009/detail.html
http://www.ptreyeslight.com/columns/sparsely/sparsely1118_04.html
http://www.ptreyeslight.com/stories/dec01_05/mayo_settlement.html
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 07:13PM
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 07:36PM
Quote
eeek
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/10/ED1117GTVN.DTL

Thank you; I always wondered how it was that there was a fishery in the middle of the park (I go to GGNRA often)
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 07:38PM
Quote
Bee

Thank you; I always wondered how it was that there was a fishery in the middle of the park (I go to GGNRA often)

During my search I found a lot of defenses of the oyster farm. But the fact of the lease running out should be enough to end it.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 07:38PM
Unencumbered by any real expertise, here goes:

Basically, it this is the place I think it is, it has been in operation for generations on land that became part of the National Seashore and has most recently functioned under a use permit. On the one side are interests supporting the local economy, historical land uses, aquaculture, sustainable "green" industries, and to a lesser extent in Marin County interest in tax from private enterprise. On the other side is the big government, a pending wilderness designation (I believe) and the NPS bureaucracy which may have been heavy handed. California Senators that might otherwise have sided with the Park Service have supported the 'little guy'. There may have been some bad science promoted by the NPS that worked against their case. Basically the guy is out of there in 2012 as I understand it.

I don't know if all these links will work, the LA times story (first link) seems to be the best:

<http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-oyster27-2009dec27,0,905942.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Flocal+%28L.A.+Times+-+California+|+Local+News%29&utm_content=Google+Reader>


http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-07-24/news/17171034_1_shucked-oysters-national-park-service-west-marin

http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=1193

http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:kV7_Ft0UH1oJ:cemarin.ucdavis.edu/files/67081.pdf+Oyster+point+reyes+lawsuit+history&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 03, 2010 10:00PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Unencumbered by any real expertise, here goes:

Basically, it this is the place I think it is, it has been in operation for generations on land that became part of the National Seashore and has most recently functioned under a use permit. On the one side are interests supporting the local economy, historical land uses, aquaculture, sustainable "green" industries, and to a lesser extent in Marin County interest in tax from private enterprise. On the other side is the big government, a pending wilderness designation (I believe) and the NPS bureaucracy which may have been heavy handed. California Senators that might otherwise have sided with the Park Service have supported the 'little guy'. There may have been some bad science promoted by the NPS that worked against their case. Basically the guy is out of there in 2012 as I understand it.

I'm pretty sure I'm the Point Reyes guy here. I've spent much time figuring this out - originally thinking that the new owner knew the lease was up. Later on I had an appreciation for it and learned more about how complex the situation is. The Lunny family purchased the farm in 2005, apparently read the terms of the lease, and came to the conclusion that there was no impediment to it being extended at the discretion of the Supt. The original lease terms apparently had a renewal clause. The previous owner was also missing several permits and when Lunny tried to correct this, Supt Neubacher said it should be no problem. Later on Neubacher refused to issue them unless Lunny signed a statement that he wouldn't attempt to renew the lease. Senator Feinstein intervened and Neubacher issued the permits. There have been assorted other proposals, including one where I heard that PRNS would attempt to relocate the farm to Tomales Bay. That didn't go very far. One problem would be that oysters have more food sources and grow much faster in Drakes Bay compared to Tomales Bay.

Kevin Lunny actually grew up at Point Reyes. His family owned the G Ranch there where they had a home. My understanding is that he was on pretty good terms with Neubacher until he got into the oyster business and tried to stay an oyster farmer.

http://groups.ucanr.org/GIM/Rancher_Lunny_buys_Johnson_Oyster_Company/

The Interior Dept appropriations bill signed into law last Oct has a provision that expressly authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to extend the terms of the reservation of use an additional 10 years. A previous version of that provision apparently mandated it, but Senator Feinstein backed off on it and simply gave expressed authorization to do so. Previous NPS opinions were that they had no authorization to do so because of the potential wilderness designation and of course Supt. Neubacher wasn't inclined to do so.

Interior bill includes Point Reyes oyster farm provision
http://www.marinij.com/ci_13697775

There have been allegations of misuse of science by the NPS to put pressure on the oyster farm - especially allegations that the oyster farming is affecting the seal population. It's been a back and forth, including different environmental organizations taking different sides.

The big deal is that a permanent commercial operation and motorboat use is an impediment to full wilderness designation; the majority of Drakes Bay is now "potential wilderness". However - it's managed as wilderness to the extent they can. I've heard from some sources that the oyster farm isn't the only impediment to full wilderness designation. There are other "nonconforming uses" such as the State of California's water-bottom mineral and aquaculture rights. I would note that Yosemite has its own non-conforming uses in "potential wilderness" - the High Sierra Camps.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 04, 2010 01:09AM
Quote
y_p_w
I would note that Yosemite has its own non-conforming uses in "potential wilderness" - the High Sierra Camps.

Good point! Do you think that (oh gawd, here it goes...) Hetch Hetchy falls into this category, too?

B
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 04, 2010 01:31AM
Quote
Bee
Quote
y_p_w
I would note that Yosemite has its own non-conforming uses in "potential wilderness" - the High Sierra Camps.

Good point! Do you think that (oh gawd, here it goes...) Hetch Hetchy falls into this category, too?

B

Hetch Hetchy is authorized by the Raker Act. Though there are some things in it that aren't being followed.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 04, 2010 08:36AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Bee
Quote
y_p_w
I would note that Yosemite has its own non-conforming uses in "potential wilderness" - the High Sierra Camps.

Good point! Do you think that (oh gawd, here it goes...) Hetch Hetchy falls into this category, too?

B

Hetch Hetchy is authorized by the Raker Act. Though there are some things in it that aren't being followed.

I would think that much of Hetch Hetchy wasn't made part of the wilderness plan when the Yosemite Wilderness was declared. The Raker Act preceded the Wilderness Act by a long, long time. At the very least the road and the area with buildings wouldn't be even potential wilderness. Apparently the California Wilderness Act (which established Yosemite's wilderness areas) was enacted in 1984.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/CA_Wilderness_Act.pdf

There are a whole bunch of structures that are considered "non-conforming uses". If they existing somewhere in the wilderness boundary, then they're probably on "potential wilderness" or it's simply not part of the wilderness plan. I'm thinking maybe backcountry ranger stations, fire lookouts, dams, etc.

If you look at a map of Sierra wilderness areas, you'll find a whole bunch of man-made reservoirs with dams that weren't made part of the wilderness plan. Often you'll just see a non-wilderness ring around what's either full or potential wilderness. They'll often contain stores, lodging, campgrounds, boat launches, roads, etc. One example would be Florence Lake, which is surrounded by the John Muir Wilderness, but which has a store, Forest Service campground, and ranch at the other end.

http://www.florence-lake.com/
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
March 19, 2012 06:36PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Unencumbered by any real expertise, here goes:

Basically, it this is the place I think it is, it has been in operation for generations on land that became part of the National Seashore and has most recently functioned under a use permit. On the one side are interests supporting the local economy, historical land uses, aquaculture, sustainable "green" industries, and to a lesser extent in Marin County interest in tax from private enterprise. On the other side is the big government, a pending wilderness designation (I believe) and the NPS bureaucracy which may have been heavy handed. California Senators that might otherwise have sided with the Park Service have supported the 'little guy'. There may have been some bad science promoted by the NPS that worked against their case. Basically the guy is out of there in 2012 as I understand it.

Just sort of revisiting this, but it's a bit more convoluted than just that. The various operations of the oyster farm are regulated by NPS, the California Coastal Commission, and the California Department of Fish and Game. They have a whole bunch of permits they need to operate and several bueracracies to deal with.

However, the oyster farm itself and the only land at issue where NPS owns anything and has full rights is the land of the oyster farm's shore operations. That's the only thing that is directly subject to NPS control. That is clearly not in the wilderness plan.

The water bottom leases for the oyster racks and clam bags are via the California Department of Fish and Game, which actually extended the farm's lease until 2029. The renewal was in 2004, before the oyster farm was sold to the new owners. However, the water bottom leases are contingent on the shore operations of the oyster farm staying where they are. If the oyster farm loses its shore operations, it the water bottom leases from the State of California are voided.
avatar Re: New Super for Yosemite
February 04, 2010 07:05AM
Quote
Bee
Can somebody fill me in what th story is about the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm? I have heard reference to it, but I don't know what the "story" is.

From the Marin Group of the Sierra Club:
http://www.savedrakesbay.org/uploads/Heart_of_the_Park_report_EAC_SCMG.pdf
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