[texbirds] Re: unwelcome news from Laguna Atascosa

  • From: Mike Bloodsworth <bloodsworth@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "dauphins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dauphins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, texbirds <texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 19:46:22 -0700 (PDT)

I too am very sad to see this ruling from Laguna Atascosa.  The Bayside drive 
is a great spot for birders and other naturalists.  No one ever wants to see an 
ocelot killed or injured but I am not sure that closing the drive to public 
vehicles is the answer to the problem.  Possibly a large sign that explains the 
problem to both the public and the government vehicles would be all that is 
really necessary.
From: David T. Dauphin <dauphins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>To: Texbirds <texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
>Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 9:25 PM
>Subject: [texbirds] Re: unwelcome news from Laguna Atascosa
>The new Refuge manager mentioned in the McAllen Monitor that two ocelots had 
>been killed by vehicles on the Bayside Wildlife Drive.  He failed to mention 
>whether or not they were killed by "public" or by government vehicles, such as 
>Border Patrol.  He also failed to mentioned when (dates) these two were 
>killed.  And, he failed to mentioned if they were killed at night, when the 
>public cannot be inside the Refuge, or during the day.  Rather arbitrary, but 
>within his prerogative.  However, if he or the Friends of Laguna NWR truly 
>want our support, more information should be forth-coming.  These questions 
>need to be addressed to the Regional Office in Albuquerque.
>David Dauphin
>On Sep 30, 2013, at 9:12 PM, Robert Becker wrote:
>> Staff at Laguna Atascosa NWR informed us, via a posting on Texbirds this 
>> afternoon, that from Oct. 15 onwards the Bayside auto loop will be closed to 
>> private vehicle traffic. The staff representative cited the deaths of two 
>> ocelots in recent years from vehicular traffic on the loop and the recent 
>> findings that ocelots are frequently crossing the road and are moving about 
>> in close proximity to the loop road, day and night.
>> The bayside driving loop has exposed thousands of South Texas visitors to an 
>> unparalleled immersion in prairie, thornscrub and littoral habitats and the 
>> wildlife that dwells there. I know of no other place like it in the federal 
>> NWR system. I am proud of this resource, and I often urge visitors to avail 
>> themselves of it. This decision to effectively bar thousands of visitors 
>> from enjoying this resource, however, is poor conservation policy and even 
>> worse public policy. 
>> Refuge staff now decrees the loop road will be open only to cyclists, 
>> walkers and scheduled guided tours. I am one of many visitors who is of a 
>> certain age and physical condition who cannot walk or bicycle 13 miles in 
>> the South Texas heat to appreciate the natural wonders of the refuge. The 
>> bus or tram tours, while well meaning, are no substitute to the slow-paced, 
>> measured and often solitary meanderings through the refuge that we have 
>> cherished over the years. What about the rest of us who cannot walk or bike 
>> the loop?? Those experiences will be lost forever if this policy is left to 
>> stand.
>> Why was the public not consulted before such drastic changes were foisted 
>> upon us? There are indeed alternatives short of this harsh measure. How 
>> about more limited hours, say 9 am to 3 pm, and slower speed limits, say 5 
>> mph instead of 10 mph, and more speed bumps? How about more time spent on 
>> enforcing the measures designed to protect the ocelots? And why should 
>> conservation-minded birders, all of whom would stand up to be counted for 
>> protecting these rare and beautiful mammals, be punished collectively for 
>> the reckless actions of a thoughtless few?
>> National parks and wildlife refuges rest on a bargain with the public. We 
>> support them through our taxes, our volunteerism and the legislation that 
>> creates and maintains them in exchange for the enjoyment for all of these 
>> precious resources. This action at Laguna Atascosa must not stand. Join with 
>> me in whatever way you are comfortable with in opposing this measure. I will 
>> start with conversations with the offices of Rep. Filemon Vela and our two 
>> U.S. senators. I hope the birding community takes notice and acts with me. I 
>> hope the officials at Laguna Atascosa and others involved in this decision 
>> reconsider.
>> Bob Becker
>> Rancho Viejo
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