Letters: Mill Creek land was purchased for the purpose of preservation

November 05, 2007 11:00 pm

My husband and I are native Californians and have been residents of Del Norte County for nearly 10 years. When we met, my husband had long been a member of the Save-the-Redwoods League, and we have continued our membership and support for 30 years, now.

In 2001, the Save-the-Redwoods League was in the final stages of fund raising for the purchase of Mill Creek Redwoods. Their stated main focus and long term goals were restoration and permanent preservation of the redwood forest, recovery of salmon spawning grounds, safeguarding watersheds and providing safe habitat for threatened and endangered species. At the beginning of 2002 we made a substantial donation specifically to help with that purchase, believing strongly in those goals. Part of the funds to buy Mill Creek came from donations such as ours, and part came from grants from bond funds, that is, tax dollars, voted by Californians for environmental restoration. On June 4, 2002, the purchase was completed. The League deeded the land to California State Parks, and it became the Mill Creek Acquisition of Del Norte Redwoods State Park. The deed carried restrictions, as the primary goals were written into the deed, to insure that the goals of restoration and preservation would be honored.

Now our Board of Supervisors and others are asking State Parks to redesignate the area as a recreational park for OHV riding. Along with this request there seems to be an amount of bad feeling towards the Parks Department. We don't understand how our Board of Supervisors could write such a letter with such a request. Such a request seems unsupportable, in view of the reality. Other donors we have spoken with about this feel as we do.

To put this in perspective, imagine if, with green tag funds, donations, and tax payer dollars from OHV funds, land were bought dedicated to OHV use. The land is paid for, deeded with restrictions for OHV use and dedicated. Joy and celebration! Then our Board of Supervisors writes a letter requesting that the land be redesignated as protected wildlands. Huh?

Our Board of Supervisors has written a letter asking that the Mill Creek Acquisition of Del Norte Redwoods State Park be redesignated as a recreational park for OHV riding. Go figure.

Donna M. Thompson

Crescent City