A public review period is underway for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on future land use in the new Countywide Plan. This is a chance for everyone to comment on and present environmental information that you believe should be considered in the EIR. Land needs to be preserved parcel-by-parcel and anyone with a passion for our wildlife linkages, open space and national monuments can show up and let county officials know conservation is a priority.
This week was a double-whammy for our national monuments. First, a bill targeting the monuments was sent to the House floor for debate. Then, a move to make the monuments review more transparent was rejected. On October 11th a bill was passed by the House Committee on Natural Resources. H.R. 3990, or the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act,” aims to reduce new monuments to a maximum of 85,000 acres, eliminating the inclusion of “vast landscape domains.”
Look at the usual map of a national park and it seems to be an oasis of completely protected land. But within some of these incredible spaces, there is still privately-owned land. Managing the borders of these private parcels is a huge job for parks.
Georgia O’Keefe’s groundbreaking depictions of the desert in the 1930s made the art world sit up and take notice of the potential of this landscape. Today, the desert is attracting a growing number of artists from all disciplines. So much so, that there’s even an annual conference in San Bernardino County devoted to harnessing that creative output.
Trying to make sense of the national monument review process is like trying to avoid stepping on a scorpion in the dark.