Thursday, November 30, 2017

Unscientific, but still concerning

Click on image to enlarge.

I've written several times about the encroachment on state park land by GCC (previously Cemex). HERE is the most recent blog post. After the last post, Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition member, Steve Tures, emailed the map above. He said: "I did a rough and unscientific (read, not official or maybe wrong) attempt to see how close they [the park and quarry] are, and seems like they're really close or maybe over their line." He said that he fudged an overlay on what's publicly available on GM.

Tures seems to confirm what many others have also seen.

Of course, whether the quarry has encroached state land or not, they are quickly destroying this portion of the Franklin Mountains and could mine all the way to the ridge. 

Why does the City of El Paso and others do business with them?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Can El Paso Environmentalists Cooperate?

A bit over a week ago environmentalists from various El Paso groups came together to discuss collaboration. "Together we can do more" seemed to be the theme. The meeting aroused excitement and the group left planning to reconvene in January and, in the meantime, to develop a social media presence - one that can be shared by all the groups represented. 

There were representatives from the Audubon Society, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, CDEC, the Sierra Club, Celebration of Our Mountains, Insights, the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, EPCC and even a representative from the City of El Paso. JanaƩ Reneaud Field, the Director of Frontera Land Alliance, chaired the meeting.

One member suggested that coming together, sharing ideas, and building networks and resources might be the sole purpose along with a shared social media presence.

It's a great idea and a great start; but, will it last?

Judy Ackerman of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition probably made the most sense when she said that FMWC had always acted as the place for all of El Paso's conservation and environmental groups. It makes the most sense until you realize that FMWC has not been a true coalition. A list of groups included in their dossier seems only to be useful as a tool for political advocacy. FMWC is governed by its own Board rather than a true gathering of the coalition although some members of the board are indeed members of other groups if not their representatives. The chairing of the FMWC does not rotate among the various groups who, at least on paper, make up that Coalition.

Please understand, I think the highest of FMWC and their work. The leaders of FMWC are among the best and greatest El Pasoans. 

It would be simpler if this nascent Collaboration operated not just under the umbrella of FMWC but as the FMWC.

Whatever, I hope EP environmentalists can indeed be collaborative and be valuable resources one to the other.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Plan to Go to Ardovino's Holiday Market Sunday, December 3rd

One of the top holiday "must-do's" is Ardovino's Holiday Market. Because of all of the road work, follow these new directions to get to Ardovino's Desert Crossing:

Take Sunland Park Drive to Mc Nutt. Turn left onto McNutt and then right at the light at Anapra Road. The other option is to take Sunland Park to Futurity. Futurity ends at Racetrack and you will have to take a right. (Racetrack is only closed between Futurity and Doniphan.) MAP

Be sure to visit the ADC website.

Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Survey the Quarry Now!

Recently elpasonaturally posted about the obscene destruction of our mountain by GCC, the new owners of former Cemex properties. GCC doesn't even dynamite just at night or early morning. They are blasting even during the day. They have no shame.

elpasonaturally has also pointed out the failure of the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Franklin Mountains State Park to do a survey. They complain that it costs too much and do not respond to calls asking them to do so.

Now another expert has said that undoubtedly GCC is encroaching on State Park land. Also, according to this expert, surveys are now done by drones for two or three thousand dollars. Hardly a big price tag.

Survey the quarry now. Stop buying from them. Shut them down forever. They are destroying our mountain.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Click on image to enlarge.

Last Wednesday at the City's Open Space Advisory Board meeting, it was announced that the Hunt arroyo at Bear Ridge had finally been purchased using stormwater money. The purchase has been pending for seven years ever since Rick Bonart and Charlie Wakeem met with Justin Chapman of Hunt at the site. The Arroyo is very popular with hikers and mountain bikers and leads directly into the State Park.

According to Bonart, John Balliew, CEO of El Paso Water, says that there are no immediate plans for stormwater improvement at the site. Keeping the land pristine is always good news.

This past September $185K was made available for a trailhead at the Bear Ridge Arroyo. The hope and expectation is that millions will not have been spent on procuring the arroyo and then doing nothing to build an attractive trailhead. Such is the case with the Palisades where a mere $124 was spent on a sign that is now badly deteriorated. A better example of what can and should be done is the Lost Dog Trailhead built with private-public funding for much less than what the City would have spent to create a beautiful entrance to a prominent trail.

The Chair of the Open Space Advisory Board, Sherry Bonart, says: "Let's hope that the city will step up and use 2012 QOL money to build trailheads at both Bear Ridge and Franklin Hills [another Hunt property up for sale].  It's a travesty to purchase these parcels for millions of dollars and not follow through with the necessary improvements to make them fully available for the public to use."

Not to mention, fully attractive to ecotourists.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Quarry

It's like the title of one of those horrendous slasher films: Scream, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th: The Quarry. Of course I am speaking about the quarry at McKelligon Canyon, the GCC Quarry (formerly a Cemex operation). 

GCC continues to gouge the side of the mountain. Several persons have looked at maps and have suggested to me that the quarry has already intruded onto the State Park. Yet neither Texas Parks and Wildlife Department nor the Franklin Mountains State Park are willing to do a survey. It costs too much. Instead they take the word of the quarry owners.

What can be done to stop this obscene devastation of our mountain? There are many issues involved: mineral rights for the State of Texas, a private company operation, jobs and bidding laws (you can't just ask the City not to buy from the quarry). Perhaps the City can be persuaded to limit their buying from GCC. That may be a good start and would have the added benefit that the City find other means to do landscaping. (I still am incensed that the City's Parks Department paved natural desert paths at the Archaeology Museum with chat quarried and produced at the McKelligon Canyon Quarry.) Perhaps an ordinance banning certain landscaping products? Good luck.

Protests? A PR campaign? What?

I struggle with this. Perhaps some of you have ideas. The GCC Quarry needs to shut down . . . permanently.