[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
72°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 22
1972 - Vasquez Rocks added to National Register of Historic Places [list]


Commentary by Linda Castro
| Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument | Photo: Linda Castro
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument | Photo: Linda Castro
 

If you were to ask me where I would spend a perfect day, I would immediately say the California desert. It wasn’t always that way. As a child, before I moved to California, the only perception I had of the desert was that it was sandy, windy and full of tumbleweeds blowing around. My idea of hiking and camping was somewhere in a forest, which is all I knew in the places I had previously lived. The trees were great, but the threat of mosquitoes and bears – not so much.

Once I moved to the Golden State, I fell in love with exploring the desert and sleeping under a brilliant display of stars, awed by the vast, open space where the quiet is broken only by the eerie hoot of an owl or the yips of coyotes answering each other across the canyons.

Silurian Valley, north of Baker, is especially near and dear to my heart. With its incredible vistas, brilliantly colored mountains and even nearby sand dunes thrown in for good measure, there is no place quite like it. It’s important to Native Americans, too, who still use some of the ancient trails that were created thousands of years ago.

Another example is the Amargosa River Basin, which runs east of Death Valley National Park through Tecopa and Shoshone. I always enjoy visiting China Ranch Date Farm where I hike along the Amargosa and then enjoy a refreshing date shake.

The Amargosa River Basin contains one of the two largest assemblages of endemic and rare species in North America. The critically endangered Amargosa vole also makes the marshes in this basin home.

That’s why I was pleased when, two years ago, after years of collaboration and cooperation with many interests and stakeholder groups, the Bureau of Land Management issued an historic and far-reaching decision that balanced conservation, recreation and renewable energy development across a sweeping area of the fragile California desert.

Carrizo Plain National Monument | Photo: Matthew Sayles

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan permanently protected more than 4 million acres of some of the desert’s most ecologically and culturally important landscapes – both to offset the impacts of encouraging as much as 388,000 acres of energy development outside of this area, and to follow a directive from Congress to designate additional California lands to be included in a network of safeguarded “National Conservation Lands” in the region. Some of the places that the renewable energy plan included in that network were Mayan Peak, Afton Canyon, Amboy Crater, Silurian Valley and the Amargosa River Basin.

This landmark plan involved more than 14,000 public comments, dozens of meetings, several drafts and the collaboration of many diverse interests including the state of California and the federal government. There was broad public support for the final plan, which struck a careful balance between lands available for large-scale renewable energy development, lands protected for their recreational importance, and lands managed for conservation of scientific, ecological and cultural values across millions of acres of the desert.

Despite this support, earlier this month the Department of Interior said it was going to reopen the plan (which was only finalized in September 2016) for revision, thus putting the important and much-needed protections at risk.

Karen Douglas, who sits on the California Energy Commission, recently told the Victorville Daily Press, “This is not needed. We have sufficient land designated in this plan to support meeting our renewable energy goals.”

So, once again, we will need to speak up for our desert treasure. Once again, we will need to remind federal decision makers about the importance of preserving this incredible landscape for generations to come.

Californians have spoken, but DOI appears to be ignoring us. Perhaps we haven’t been loud enough or convincing enough. I’m especially offended by the hypocrisy of DOI: It claims to uphold the importance of local public input, but it apparently only listens when Utahans and others speak out against their BLM lands while ignoring Californians who have spent eight years crafting a plan that Californians want for their BLM lands.

We need to tell DOI not to waste our tax dollars on an unwanted and unneeded amendment to the plan and to leave the plan intact. The comment deadline is March 22, 2018.

Click here to comment. If you would like to attend a public meeting on this issue, the ones nearest to the Santa Clarita Valley are:

Ridgecrest – February 27, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Kerr-McGee Community Center, 100 W. California Ave.;

Bakersfield – March 6, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Bakersfield Field Office Auditorium, 3801 Pegasus Drive.

I want those who come after us to be able to explore and enjoy the stark beauty of this place with its painted mountains, hidden springs and brilliant spring wildflowers. I want visitors to experience the excitement of seeing a chuckwalla, kangaroo rat or threatened desert tortoise while they are exploring the desert. I want kids forever to be able to shine a UV flashlight on a scorpion and marvel that it glows, as I have. These are memories you carry with you for a lifetime.

We are fortunate to have this amazing landscape so close by. We can never take it for granted. It’s up to all of us to again raise our voices for the desert and urge the administration to keep the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan just as it is.

 

Linda Castro is a nature enthusiast and animal lover. She is the Assistant Policy Director for the California Wilderness Coalition and serves on the board of the SCV-based Community Hiking Club.  Her commentaries relate to California’s deserts.

 

Mojave Trails National Monument | Photo: Linda Castro

 

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

4 Comments

  1. Bob Oso says:

    GO TRUMP!

    This article should be entitled “The People have Spoken and we are taking back our land”

    Linda I think you should join the other Liberals and go scream at the air.

  2. Owen B says:

    Bravo – protect our natural areas!

  3. David R says:

    The People (as expressed in definitive popular vote majorities past 3 Presidential elections) chose to preserve some remaining unspoiled public land for posterity. Not until the next bunch of grifters, under control of industry, squeaks-by on a technicality.

    Trump’s environmental policy is closely aligned to radical Christian theology which in turn justfies the Regime’s lust for plunder. These people are throwbacks and rapidly becoming extinct. Trump is their “Hail Mary”.

  4. james harris says:

    Great commentary by Linda Castro. I am sure that she and her non-profit, CalWild, stand alone with citizens to protect Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). No doubt the government agencies who worked with her to form the DRECP are cowed under the anti-environmental agenda of this administration.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.
Monday, Jun 4, 2018
This summer, help your kids break away from Fortnite and YouTube – by signing them up for fun recreational opportunities offered by the City. Instead of screen time, their days can be filled with sunshine, learning, activity, arts, culture and much more.
Friday, Jun 1, 2018
In her June message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste details the best ways to enjoy the local trails and open space this summer.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan announced the sixth ballot counting update for the June 5 Statewide Direct Primary Election on Friday.
Sixth Election Results Update for June 5 Primary Election
The Master's University women's cross country team released its 2018 schedule Friday, the highlight coming Nov. 3 when it hosts the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships at Central Park in Saugus.
TMU Women’s Cross Country Releases 2018 Schedule
Minimum wage laws change July 1, so the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation and SCV law firm Poole & Shaffery, LLP will present a "Minimum Wage Forum" at College of the Canyons' University Center on Wednesday, August 1 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
August 1: Minimum Wage Forum at COC University Center
Allison Needham of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation outlines the top five digital trends shaping 2018 so far.
It’s Personal: 5 Digital Trends Shaping 2018
The Robert T. Brentnall Pawsibilities Foundation, a Santa Clarita-based nonprofit animal rescue organization (Tax ID# is 47-5634745), is asking the community to help a family with a litter of German shepherd puppies, by adopting one or donating funds to help care for them.
Animal Rescue Group Seeks Help for German Shepherd Puppies
CalArts School of Art faculty member Shirley Tse will represent Hong Kong at the 2019 Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, happening now through November 2019.
CalArts’ Shirley Tse to Represent Hong Kong at Venice Biennale
University administrators are falling short in their responsibilities to swiftly hold accountable staff and faculty named in sexual violence complaints and align disciplinary policies with federal guidelines, according to a state audit released Thursday of three University of California campuses.
UCLA, 2 More UC Campuses Faulted for Sex Misconduct Process
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is proud to announce commitments from four additional industry partners – AMC Networks, Moving Picture Institute, Telsey + Company, and Xperi – to participate in Academy Gold, an entertainment industry-wide internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities.
Academy Launches Summer ‘Gold’ Diversity Internships
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in their meeting Tuesday will consider a motion urging California to create an emblem program for licensed cannabis stores so consumers will know which stores are legal.
Supes Propose Statewide Cannabis Store Licensing Program
The JetHawks began the second half of the 2018 season with a win, beating Inland Empire, 7-5, at The Hangar Thursday night.
JetHawks Start Strong in Second Half, Beat IE 7-5
After four weeks of spirited voting, USA Today announced Friday that readers have voted Six Flags Magic Mountain the winner of the 2018 Best Theme Park contest.
USA Today: Six Flags Magic Mountain No. 1 Theme Park
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, June 26, starting at 9:30 a.m.
June 26: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The state of California has a list of more than 10,000 known individuals in illegal possession of firearms, but has not provided adequate resources for law enforcement to recover their weapons, Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) said in a statement Friday.
After Firearms Raid, Acosta Calls for More Law Enforcement Funding
A voter-approved ballot measure aimed at reducing California’s prison population and ending racial disparities in the war on drugs has produced most of the cost-saving, equity-focused results it promised, with some exceptions, according to a study published Thursday.
Study: Prop. 47 Decreased Racial Disparities in Drug Arrests
A Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputy reportedly clocked a Las Vegas woman driving 93 miles an hour near the Saugus Speedway and arrested her on charges of excessive speed and reckless driving late Wednesday night.
Nevada Woman Arrested for Speeding, Reckless Driving in Saugus
1972 - Vasquez Rocks added to National Register of Historic Places [list]
The ARTree still has openings for next week's Junior Arts Sampler and "I Made That!" pastel classes.
ARTree Summer Classes Still Available
The Santa Clarita Arts Commission will hold a study session, Monday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m.
June 25: Arts Commission Study Session
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a teleconference meeting, Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
June 28: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday, June 26, at 5:30 p.m.
June 26: Santa Clarita City Council Special Meeting
Firefighters are battling a brush fire at the Sunshine Canyon Landfill that started around 3:00 p.m. Thursday.
Firefighters Battling 1-2 Acre Fire Near Newhall Pass
Glenn Frankel and Keri Walsh have been named 2018 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Academy Honors 2018 Film Scholars
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and Sweat Box Sauna Bar as they celebrate the opening of their new location.
June 27: Grand Opening Celebration Sweat Box Sauna Bar
Fresh Mustang connections to Major League Baseball didn't end with the draft earlier this month. Master's graduate David Sheaffer, who transferred before his final collegiate season to pursue an international MBA program, signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Mariners on June 10.
TMU Alum Signs with Seattle Mariners
There are spots still available on the Saugus Spartans Football program for kids between the ages of 6-8 years old.
Spots Still Open on Saugus Spartans Football Program
An already extremely tight inventory bumped into rising interest rates to further complicate home sales during May in the Santa Clarita Valley, which saw drops in home and condominium closed escrows compared to a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
SCV Home, Condo Sales Drop Amid Tight Inventory, Rising Interest Rates
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station are looking for a male suspect who stole a tip jar from a local coffee shop. Details below are from the Facebook page of the SCV Sheriff's Station:
Detectives Seek Public’s Help in Nabbing Tip Jar Thief
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting. There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.
July 28: Children’s Bureau Foster Care, Adoption Information Meeting
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Friday, June 22, in the city of Santa Clarita in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.
LASD to Conduct Specialized Motorcycle Safety Operation
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy for all individuals in Santa Clarita Valley and for sensitive individuals in East San Gabriel Valley area tomorrow, Friday, June 22.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
1941 - Ernie Hickson buys out Trem Carr's interest in their Monogram movie ranch, renames it "Placeritos" (later called Melody). [story]
CalArts alumna and faculty member Brigette Barrager (BFA Film/Video 07) was awarded the Christopher Award for Distinguished Achievement for her illustration of "Pocket Full of Colors."
CalArts Faculty Brigette Barrager Wins Christopher Award
"Window Lace," the first exhibit by CalArts students to be presented at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall, is now open on the mall's first floor across from H&M and will be on display through the end of summer 2018.
CalArts Opens its First Art Exhibit at Westfield Valencia Mall
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that Jennifer Todd has won the runoff election for the open Producers Branch seat on the 2018–19 Board of Governors.
Producer Jennifer Todd Voted to Academy Board of Governors
California's median home price reached a new high in May, while home sales retreated both on a monthly and annual basis, wiping out most of the gains posted for the year, the California Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
California Median Home Price Hits Record High, Sales Drop in May
In an effort to transform California’s relationship to energy markets in the western region of the country, lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a bill that would merge California into a regional energy market.
California’s Controversial Energy-Grid Bill Advances