Monday, March 27, 2006

For those who don't read my blogs on MySpace...

FUCK "where people want to live" ...

Developers covet areas surrounding national parks
By Benjamin Spillman, USA TODAY
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — People who cherish Joshua Tree National Park's desert probably don't want wayward tee shots, pets or trash spoiling the serenity and scenery, but it could happen.

James Kirby of Columbus, Ohio, rappels down a rock in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif., in February.
By Jay Calderon, The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun

Development is closing in on Joshua Tree and many other national parks. "It is happening all over the country," said Curt Sauer, superintendent of Joshua Tree, "and it is going to continue to happen."

It isn't difficult to find examples:
•In West Virginia, there are proposals to build more than 2,000 homes at the edge of the New River Gorge National River — including up to 550 homes on a site chosen to appear on the back of the quarter.

•In Florida, there's a proposal to fill wetlands at the edge of the Everglades National Park to make way for 6,000 homes, shops, schools and a movie theater.

•In Ohio, there are plans for at least five subdivisions just outside Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

•In Arkansas, population growth is putting pressure on Hot Springs National Park and Pea Ridge National Military Park, said Ernie Quintana, Midwest regional director of the National Park Service.

'Like beachfront property'
Development proposals in varying stages call for building up to 20,000 homes, several golf courses and a massive landfill for Los Angeles trash just outside the border of Joshua Tree, a nearly 800,000-acre park northeast of Palm Springs.

"Living next to a national park, it is like beachfront property," said Ray Rasker, senior economist for the Sonoran Institute. The Tucson-based non-profit organization helps communities restore landscapes that are beneficial to people and wildlife.

"Just think of what is happening to the baby boomers," Rasker said. "They are all going to retire soon. ... And the demand seems to be to want to have acreage right next to a protected park or land."

The development is prompting concerns about "edge effects." The term refers to the idea that residents near parks bring pets that prey on wildlife, lead to urban-type development that increases storm runoff and often drive off-highway vehicles that bring intrusions and noise.

Money for managing the encroachment is tight. Federal funding for the National Park Service to purchase and preserve land has decreased steadily from $130 million in 2002 to a proposed $23 million in fiscal year 2007.

Developers say it makes economic sense to put houses where people want to live.

Tom Wagner, general manager of the proposed Roaring River development in West Virginia, said the project will complement scenery and bring $1.8 million annually in tax revenue to local governments.

"Our focus is preservation of the resource," Wagner said. "If you look at any of our great outdoor areas, there is a quality of life that people want to have."

Critics want communities to consider fragile natural landscapes when adopting land-use standards.

"We are trying to see if we can have influence outside our boundaries. That has always been a difficult thing for national parks," said Kevin Skerl, an ecologist for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Skerl said flooding from storms in 2003 and 2004 highlighted the problem. Runoff from developed areas rushed into the park and contributed to about $3 million in damage, he said.
Smarter development methods could minimize runoff by preserving wetlands and flora that help control floods, Skerl said.

Widening urban sprawl
Storm runoff isn't the only edge effect. Views may be at stake, too.

Ridges that tower 1,000 feet over raging white water in the New River Gorge area are one example.

"You see the ridgeline very clearly today, all wooded," said Cal Hite, superintendent of New River Gorge National River, Gauley River National Recreation Area and Bluestone National Scenic River, all in southern West Virginia.

"There will be about 15 houses along that ridge" under one proposal, he said.

In Florida, park supporters say development has eaten up large swaths of the Everglades and drastically reduced native bird populations in the past 100 years.

They also say urban sprawl has prompted an invasion of Australian pine and melaleuca trees and resulted in escaped pet pythons that prey on native wildlife.

"It is just the beginning of what could come," said John Adornato, manager of the Everglades restoration program at the National Parks Conservation Association. The group opposes moving an urban development boundary closer to the Everglades National Park.

Solitude is another threatened value, some say. Nicole Panter of Twentynine Palms, Calif., described Joshua Tree as a place that "makes your heart skip a beat."

Panter left Los Angeles for the solitude of the desert.

"What's been done in Southern California doesn't seem sustainable," she said of urban sprawl that now reaches well into the Mojave Desert. "People don't have to live like that. I don't want to live like that."

Spillman reports daily for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif.

I don't give a shit where you WANT to live. Sometimes you don't get what you want!! Who wouldn't want to live near a national park? The amazing beauty... and no one living two inches away from you... but the reason you can't is then EVERYONE would... and then it wouldn't be beautiful and there WOULD be people living two inches away... and all those trees and animals... gone.

Assholes. Sometimes I hate...


ClrkGriswald said...

I have lots, lots of pills & drugs I can offer you. They do wonders for me.....

Flexeril - comes highly recommended; puts you in a great state of mind

Jeremy said...

Tracy's having one of those days...

PS. Breathe, sweetie, breathe. :P

Tracy said...

Cool... someone I don't know is offering me drugs. I wonder what that says about me??

Tracy said...

And I'm have a horrible day. I have no reason though. Just one of those days...

Jeremy said...

haha at least it wasn't one of those "BUY VIAGRA AT THIS REALLY COOL PHARMACY: *LINK*"

I mean, as much as I know you use Viagra in your daily life, I'm sure you already have a cheap canadian pharmacy that doesn't require a prescription...

Anonymous said...

Tracy, reading stuff like this just makes me SO angry! Grr!!

This is why I don't want to have kids. There just isn't enough room for humans on this planet anymore. I don't want any kids of mine not knowing what a park looks like.

Tracy said...

Awww... but they are so cute! And fun!
I want one*...

*I realize I said this the other night and I think I scared people... but just because I say I want one, guys, doesn't mean I want one right now with you!! (evil grin)

ClrkGriswald said...

I'm one of Maki's friends. Just so you don't think I am an utter stranger. Hope your day gets better....

Maki said...

You spent the day reading my blog and it was a horrible day? This makes me sad. VERY SAD.

And Clark is a good friend and very cool, though he never offers me his drugs. This also makes me sad.

Tracy said...

Well, hi Clark! Nice to meet you... does this mean now that someone I know is offering me drugs? Is that worse than someone I don't know?

And, Maki, the horrible day had nothing to do with your blog... in fact, it did nothing but make me laugh. Well, except for the ones that weren't supposed to make me laugh.
I'm just grumpy. I hide it well usually...
And aren't you supposed to be watching 24?