Voice: Do we have to destroy the dunes to enjoy them?

May 12, 2002

This letter is in response to the letter from Chuck Mobley of May 2 in reference to R. Holzman's letter of April 23 regarding the Imperial Sand Dunes and Bureau of Land Management's plans to control access to recreation and to protect wilderness areas out there.

I am responding only to the argument made that the "economy of the Imperial Valley will suffer tremendously with the closing of more recreational use of the ISDRA."

We hear that argument and, no doubt, some of that is true. One of the questions I have is this: how much of this money (profit) is staying in the county and how much is going to corporate headquarters somewhere else? I don't think enough credit is given here to local and Mexicali customers who contribute every day, every week, every month to keep our economy going. Must we depend on holiday income or find ways to survive instead of destroying to survive?


The most important question I have today is this: (and this question goes out to the entire business community of Imperial and Yuma counties as well at the writer of the May 2 letter and to those who play at the dunes) Must we destroy the environment in order to make money?

What I want to know is this: Can we as a community be more creative and sane about our natural resources? Do we really "love" the desert or do we love what we can do there now, today? Do we care if our children and grandchildren seven generations down, have any wilderness to enjoy? Is there a way to "enjoy" the desert without destroying it?

My answer is "yes" and I challenge the business community to open their minds to new ideas that can benefit all — not just some of us. One idea is eco-tourism, where people are taken to see the desert without actually being in it (where we will destroy it). Many communities around the world are turning their beautiful wilderness areas into a profitable source of income without destroying it by controlling access.

For those who are interested, the Sierra Club is sponsoring a slide show presentation on the topic in the San Diego Zoo's Otto Center auditorium at 7:30 p.m. May 17. Please call for more information: (619) 299-1744 or (619) 299-1743.


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