Drakes Bay Oyster Company shuts down oyster shack

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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Drake?s Bay Oyster Company shuts down oyster shack
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The long legal battle to keep the Drake's Bay Oyster Company open to the public has come to an end.

INVERNESS, Calif. (KGO) -- The long legal battle to keep the Drakes Bay Oyster Company open to the public has come to an end. Thursday, the company shut down its operations and the owners held a goodbye celebration.

But supporters say the fight isn't over. Local restaurant owners filed a last-minute lawsuit, hoping it will pull through.

An oyster toast marked a solemn goodbye to the company. The 100-year-old, family-owned farm was forced to shut down its retail operation.

This means the public can no longer buy, shuck or eat oysters at the shack and cannery at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The National Parks Service owns the land and the company's lease ran out two years ago. Last month, the United States Supreme Court refused to review an appeal to keep it open.

Owner Kevin Lunny says now the 30 people who work there will lose their jobs. Those who live on the site will lose their homes.

"They just looked up and the table was empty and they knew that their jobs were ending. There's deep sadness and fear," said Lunny.

Restaurants like Sir and Star at The Olema are worried the closure will affect their bottom line. Drakes Bay oysters are one of the most popular items on the menu.

"People come here for the oysters; people come to this whole area for the oysters. I mean, 50,000 people are coming to the park and saying, 'where's the oysters?'" said Sir and Star owner Daniel Delong.

The owners of Sir and Star joined other business owners that rely on the oysters, and filed a motion to stop the closure. They're asking that Drakes continue operations until their case is heard.

"It may be that they can pull another rabbit out of the hat but I suppose we're hoping that because we truly dread the loss," said Sir and Star's Margaret Grade.

Supporters say there is still hope. The company is allowed to keep harvesting oysters at the site, until the National Parks Service gives a 30-day notice for a permanent closure.