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'Silence at Anza-Borrego' and Off-Road Vehicles

May 07, 1988

The following evening after reading your editorial, I chanced to see "The Milagro Beanfield War." The film depicts the initially hesitant but then gradual flood of opposition by demoralized, impoverished residents of a beautiful valley to a scheme that would turn their lands into a lucrative recreational area. Seeing this celluloid fantasy underscored the point of the editorial in a graphic way.

The culprit in our drama is not a greedy land developer; it is a newly appointed director of the state Parks and Recreation Department, who readily admitted that he plans to reopen Anza-Borrego to all-terrain vehicles in response to demands by owners of these "recreational" vehicles.

Apparently, this special interest group has been incensed over a ban of their noisy, environmentally destructive toys, and to their credit, they mounted an effective campaign to get the ban rescinded. Nevertheless, Henry Agonia, the new director, was shortsighted and his directive on this matter goes against the wishes of the vast majority of us who go to the desert for a quiet refuge away from the noise and congestion of the big city.

We who wish to preserve our wilderness lands cannot expect divine intervention as in the "Milagro" film. We must simply be as vocal as our opponents. We must be as willing to speak up for the silent plants and animals who are endangered by man-made intrusions into their desert homeland.

BURT REINER

Los Angeles

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