Grantee uncovers toxic dumping and lax oversight around Point Reyes National Seashore in California

A garbage dump in a man-made pit on the E Ranch, leased by Nunes Family in Pt. Reyes National Seashore, with Barries Bay of Drakes Estero in the background on August 24, 2021. Photo by Jocelyn Knight

A year after photographer Jocelyn Knight discovered a toxic dump on private land inside Point Reyes National Seashore, she and reporter Peter Byrne returned to see if it had been cleaned up, as park officials said would happen. They found discarded machines, piles of tires, plastic barrels and other waste. The family that owns the private ranch on the land refused to explain the dump site, as did federal officials. With a grant from the Fund, Byrne reported for Pacific Sun on other serious problems at Point Reyes, including evidence of improper sewage levels and a septic tank installed on the ranch without proper permits that’s now exceeding its operational limit. The issues reflect a systemic failure of local, state and federal agencies to protect the environment at Point Reyes.