On Saturday, May 26th, a small item appeared in the Triplicate's Reporter's Notebook on page A5. This article was titled "Future refuge lies nearby." After reading this brief article I felt obligated to scream out, "Wait a minute, this is a huge red flag."
Let's take a moment to review a slice of history from California and in particular Del Norte County. There was a time when a large number of timber mills were operating here. Some large, some small, all privately owned. These mills and the timber industry dominated the economy of this county. Every person that has lived here for a generation or more has personally known family members that were provided employment by this industry. Many kids growing up here naturally expected that they too would eventually "work at the mills."
Then along came the environmentalists. They sought to protect the
trees and forest under the "umbrella" of the spotted owls or the old
growth redwoods. Additionally an avalanche of EPA rules was created that
had a disastrous effect on the operations of the mills. The effect was
to destroy the economy of a thriving county.
Eventually, through the efforts of environmentalists and a sometimes
convoluted process, we experienced a transfer of private property to
government-owned and controlled land. A large portion of our county is
now possessed by the government and this enables it to restrict access,
close roads, prevent economic development and remove these lands from
the tax base.
Wouldn't it have been great if someone, back several decades ago,
would have screamed out "wait a minute - you are taking the beginning
steps to destroy the economy of this area."
Then under the "umbrella" of public access to the beaches, our state
created the Coastal Commission. It made sense to many that the few rich
people should not be able to block the masses from enjoying our
beautiful coastline. Thereafter, out of that initial interest, the
monster of our current Coastal Commission has grown. Citizens of our
county that own private land have to leap through a series of hoops to
develop their own property. They are limited in size and shape of the
structures they wish to build. In fact, the Coastal Commission will use
extortion efforts to trade off property that it has declared as
"wetlands" and gain more property for transfer to government control.
It can prevent the development of a destination golf course.
Recently our own efforts to expand the local airport runway have been
held to these same extortion methods. This is in my view a form of
Wouldn't it have been great if in the very beginning of the forming
of the Coastal Commission, someone would have raised the red flag by
shouting "wait a minute, you are about to destroy private property
rights beyond the immediate coastline."
I would like to take a minute to express my own personal beliefs. We
were created by God to live upon this Earth. He has provided us with
beautiful lands, abundant with animal life, plant life and natural
resources for us to use for our enjoyment and prosperity. We have a
moral obligation to be good stewards of this precious gift. But these
things are his gift to us as human beings. Animals, birds, fish and
trees are not our equal.
Now I bring your attention to the recent Triplicate article, which
referred to a magazine article in the January issue of Natural Area
Journal, "Climate Change Refugia for Biodiversity in the
The Triplicate item cited additional details from the magazine: "as
the global climate continues to change, the Klamath-Siskiyou region
could prove to be one of the top places in the world to preserve species
... The Klamath-Siskiyou region has been a safe haven for species
during climate change events in the past, and it will likely to be a
refuge in the future." The article further specifies areas of importance
as the southern bend of the Klamath River, middle fork of the Smith
River, and watersheds of Rock Creek and Dillon Creek.
I say, "wait a minute, this article is a huge red flag. This is the
beginning of creating a special refuge region, under the umbrella of
"climate change" that will eventually remove all property rights within
its confines. There will eventually be no future construction, no
renovations on private property, no land development of private
property, no jet boat rides, no rafting, no hiking, no vehicles, no
camping and no access for human beings.
If you think my concerns are over-reaching, please reread the above
reviews of how, under the umbrella of environmental concerns, private
land came under the control of the government, resulting in the loss of
property rights and the loss of property tax revenues to the county.
This is the prime reason that our county is currently one of the poorest
in the state.
Now is the time to be aware of this latest eco-movement under the
umbrella of "climate change" and the destruction of property rights by
the creation of a Refuge Eco-region. My "environmental" position is
that we must stop the erosion of reason, property rights and economic
stability for Del Norte County.
Bruce Barber is a Gasquet resident.