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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

Finally!

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.