Tule Elk Preserve
As you hike along the Tomales Point trail, you will be guaranteed to see at least one herd of tule elk. More than 100 years ago, these animals used to roam freely throughout central and northern California, but were all but wiped out by man during the gold rush era.
In 1978, ten elk, eight females and two males, were brought to Pierce Point Ranch on Tomales Point. The elk have very few predators, and the population has exploded to over 450. Now, park rangers have a different problem on their hands - what to do with the elk population explosion.
The elk are confined to Tomales Point, because the nearby cattle ranchers do not want them grazing on their ranch land. Today in 2005, the Tomales Point tule elk are grazing in an area that is about 1/3 of the size this population of elk would normally occupy, if they were allowed to roam freely beyond Tomales Point.
This is indeed a quandary for the Park Services. The first hint of a suggestion of elk hunting as a way to control the population will set off the animal rights activists. This sort of controversy is typical for Marin County - animal rights activitists who feel any intervention with animals is cruel vs. environmentalists who want to restore Marin County to its pristine state before man came here.