[texbirds] Re: unwelcome news from Laguna Atascosa

  • From: John Brush <jsbrush10@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 21:57:06 -0500

I completely agree with Bob's and David's sentiments. Laguna Atascosa is
one of the few truly pristine areas left in the Lower Rio Grande Valley -
how are we to get people to care about our native habitat and wildlife if
they have such curtailed access to truly experience it? Guided walks are
great, but they can never make up for that full immersion in nature that
takes careful observation (aka time) and often a more solitary or small
group experience. Very upsetting news.

On Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 9:25 PM, David T. Dauphin <dauphins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> 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
> Mission
> 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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-- 
John Brush
McAllen, Texas
Interpretive Guide
Quinta Mazatlan WBC


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