Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Crowds Oppose Proposed Ruling

 

Last updated 6/28/2016 at 7:11am

Christopher Talbot Frank

Sand verbena and dune primrose wildflowers at sunset, Anza Borrego desert state park

Wed. June 22 saw over 250 people, a large majority from the communities near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, gathered together to oppose the proposed new rule that would allow the Sacramento headquarters of the state parks, to deny off-trail use in areas that are preserves and reserves.

Frank Landis, California Native Plant Society would like to see people kept out of "resource" areas, yet he too was there to criticize the rule.

"There are too any ways to implement this rule because of how vague it is," Landis said. "I think it will cause more trouble than it will resolve. Will it say there are archaeological resources here? That's an invitation to pot collectors," Landis was joined by hikers, equestrians, mountain-bikers and off-roaders all keep to protect the area and protect their rights.

The 1000 square miles of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park contain seven cultural preservation sites, according to Dave Duncan, a Borrego Springs business owner who is also an archaeological site steward.

"There should be limited access to sensitive resources," Duncan said. "But this is bureaucratic overreaching with a one-size-fits-all rule."

Duncan pointed out that there are 20 cultural preserves in state parks across the state, and 12 of those are in San Diego County; 8, he said, are in Anza-Borrego; 4 others are in Cuyamaca State Park.

More than 65 people signed up to speak at the hearing, as hundreds waited outside, with every one of them speaking out against the rule.

Mark Jorgensen, the retired superintendent of Anza-Borrego park, said he drove 85 miles to speak at the hearing. "It's not a common-sense regulation - it is a solution in search of a problem," he said.

The common theme amongst the crowd, was that local superintendents have local knowledge and community trust to make these decisions; the rule is too vague, and that there is no new funding for increased enforcement, signage, or education even if the rule passes.

"We are very concerned about this - Sacramento could force trail closures without public input," said Kevin Loomis, president of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. "A lot of the impact of rules is in the language, and in this one, the language is incredibly vague."

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