EDITORíS DESK: We bought more than a postcard
Full disclosure, for starters. I've been a volunteer with the Intemann Trail Committee since it started in 1987. And yes, I confess to participating in the ITC's Waterfall Trail workdays over the years, and so yes, I'm personally glad the city is not closing it. Thank you, City Parks staffers, especially Chris Lieber, for
keeping an open mind.
But all that aside, the Westside Pioneer would have been covering these Red Rock Canyon master-plan meetings in any case and, whether I built trails or lived in a trailer, I would still be dismayed by the evident over-protectiveness of the property by the city and its consultants.
Consider the graphic from the consultant presentation that's on Page 7 of this issue. With only a few exceptions, all those areas with color overlays are being set aside as too environmentally fragile for anybody to use for anything. The city hasn't provided percentages yet, but based on the graphic, we're talking about at least half of the Section 16 and White Acres properties that were recently added to the city's open space inventory. It's safe to say that if the ITC hadn't built the Waterfall Trail already, it would never be allowed now. And believe me, before the trail was there, you almost needed to be Daniel Boone to traverse that rugged terrain. Pretty much the same goes for the Palmer and Intemann trails. And yet somehow all these years, the wildlife and plants they pass through have survived the fell touch of humans.
When these master-plan meetings started, I don't think anybody had a clue that this was how it would go. True, city staffers asked people at the very first meeting a year ago what they believed should be protected. Reading the responses, posted at the city site online, it's easy to see that meeting attendees were trying to be good stewards, because numerous aspects are mentioned (ridges, wetlands, archeological sites, wildlife zones etc.).
But at no time did people oppose a reasonable system of trails allowing full enjoyment of these wonderful properties. The land was not bought with public funds to be little more than a postcard. The city has overreached itself.