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Save Box Canyon from the Carlsbad Greedmongers

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
April 17, 2001


Let man heal the hurt places and revere whatever is still miraculously pristine. — David R. Brower

This is an open letter to the residents of Carlsbad. I write this to inform you that your elected officials and their building buddies, are sentencing you to a plight worse than death. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Carlsbad is destined to be Tijuana north once the scrape and fill crowd have had their way.

Mayor Bud Lewis's recent health scare is a fitting analogy for the plight of a once charming coastal city, whose heart will give out under the strain of uncontrolled growth. The city of Carlsbad is governing under a false premise abundance. The current level of growth will seriously tax future residents both economically and environmentally. Current traffic is enough to give anyone a stroke.

What I don't understand is how the brain trust at City Hall can justify such short-sightedness in the face of environmental and economic realities that say bust will always follows boom. What do you think the chances are of the folks making the money from the suburban sprawl, actually living in the substandard houses they will build for the Stepford communities, to be known as the villages of La Costa? How many live in Carlsbad now?

The most heart wrenching victim of the greed is good theology is the 1,000 + acres of Coastal Sage Scrub habitat surrounding the series of waterfalls at Box Canyon. Formed by San Marcos Creek over millions of years, this area provides vital habitat to dozens of species of birds and animals. Some of which are listed as endangered. The Carlsbad City Council should be doing everything in it's power to preserve this small piece of the Carlsbad that once was. But instead the development junkies are only looking for their next fix. Ponto anyone?

Now is the time for those Carlsbad residents wishing to endure to band together and throw, physically if needed, the developers out of office. Sadly, most of the damage has already been done under the watchful eye of Bud "if you build it they will come" Lewis. There is however hope for Box Canyon. If people are loud enough, aggressive enough, and willing to risk jail time, Box Canyon can still be saved.

Inez Yoder one of my personal heros has been fighting to save Box Canyon for years. A fight which has robbed this octogenarian of her health. So now's the time for those of us with the stamina, energy, and the most to loose, to pick up the battle standard and show those who would rather rape than restore what grassroot activism looks like.

Recently the environmental club at California State University,San Marcos, and students from the San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas have expressed an interest in helping to protect and restore Box Canyon and it's surrounding watershed. If the fight to save Box Canyon, as well as other pieces of California's biological puzzle, is to be successful, the residents of Carlsbad need to wake up and smell the bulldozers.

If they fail to do so they will have no one to blame but themselves. Electing a ethically bankrupt city council who entertain developers, at pace and on parr, with the finesse of a Las Vegas prostitute is one thing, allowing the myopic mismanagement of both time and space to continue is another.

Personally I have spent many enjoyable hours in and around the pools of Box Canyon. I have both swum in the water of San Marcos Creek, foraged through the tangle of creekside riparian brush, and hike the hills above the canyon. This is something every Carlsbad resident should do at least once.

Open space provides more than just a break from the stucco monotony of Southern California. Native California provides those who experience it with a sense of place. As we clear cut the remnants of a once abundant biotic community, the human habitat is diminished significantly. Carlsbad is erasing it's natural history, only to replace with wall to wall humanity. Draining from the region's already overburdened infrastructure.

Sooner or later this feeding frenzy will come to an end. I suggest we help by taking a stand at Box Canyon. In the survival game we are now at the point of fight or flight.

The Canyons Network will have an awareness walk to save the Box Canyon area on Saturday April 28, from 9 am to noon starting at La Costa Canyon Park in south Carlsbad. If you have any questions, they can be reached at admin@canyonsnetwork.org, or by calling 760-509-7667.

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