There is not much more to say about the proposal beyond what Mr. Wakeem said in his email to members of the Open Space Advisory Board on Wednesday night.
Mr. Jobe proposes to turn over that portion of his leased land that contains Arroyo 41A to the PSB. He stated that he will leave a buffer between the quarry and the north rim of the arroyo thus preserving the arroyo from rim to rim. The GLO will have to agree to grant an easement to PSB and the PSB will have to agree to take it.
At his expense, Mr. Jobe will survey the area in question. That survey will take two to three months. Rim to rim with a buffer is critical. So, where the final stakes are laid is very important to those who want to see the Mountain to River Corridor preserved.
If the PSB agrees to take the land, then they will preserve it in its natural state.
Whether Mr. Jobe was motivated by a sense of public duty or pride (and he didn’t have to be) can not be known. Some have suggested that, by ceding 41A, he will not be required in the future to go through the kind of permitting that will involve public comment. Public scrutiny can be costly and he and his advisors may have thought that this proposal may be the least expense in the long run.
It might also be that there is nothing of great value to mine in and around 41A. Being magnanimous then would be an acceptable gesture. There is little chance of continuing a bike trail at Mile Marker 6 to Arroyo 42. Stanley Jobe intends to mine that area. Anyone who has hiked or biked this area knows the solid limestone bedrock that is there.
Whatever reasons Mr. Jobe may have for making his proposal, it doesn’t matter. That the Mountain to River corridor will be preserved does matter.
Of course, not all are happy and many want to see more land left unquarried or no land mined at all. I know that efforts to oppose quarrying on this piece of land owned by the People of Texas next to the Franklin Mountains State Park will continue.
Nevertheless, if Jobe truly grants an easement from rim to rim and provides a real buffer, then there ought to be cause for some celebration among conservationists.
There is much more here than Stanley Jobe. Our mountains (Franklins and Huecos) will continue to be eaten up as long as we demand “zero-scapes” of rock for our homes, our streets, our businesses and our commercial and public building landscapes. As long as the City fails to contain sprawl and encourages it by keeping all aspects of building cheap, there will be a demand for mined materials.
Few may know it, but GLO’s lease of the quarry now operated by Cemex at McKelligon Canyon goes all the way to the amphitheater in the canyon itself. Viva El Paso!
Until recently, the Open Space Advisory Board had little authority to accomplish the mission of preserving land. There are those who still resent the added duties given to OSAB by City Council and want to thwart OSAB’s efforts. Games were played with the last agenda. They will be played again.
Learning to live sustainably needs to become the norm. We live in a City whose landscapers are mostly rock spreaders and tree toppers. Sand is so cheap that we don’t even think about recycling glass when we should be.
Bottom line: if we want to preserve our mountains, if we want fewer quarries and less mining, than we had better change ourselves and how we relate to this still beautiful and sacred land here in the Chihuahuan Desert.