Letter to the Editor, published in the
Independent Coast Observer
December 21, 2018
I have always regarded California as being in the forefront of environmental awareness and protection. However, after moving to Gualala 5 years ago and seeing the repeated attempts at logging in the floodplain of the Gualala River, I have been saddened by this disregard for the health of an ecosystem. Despite the repeated warnings of cumulative damage caused by logging in the floodplain, the assault continues.
Our local river ecosystem is a part of the bigger picture of the connectedness of everything that supports life. Globally, extinctions are happening at an accelerating rate. There have been approximately 150 frog extinctions in recent times. They are being referred to by biologists as the canaries in the coal mine. These extinctions don’t occur in a vacuum, they are globally interconnected by deforestation, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Locally, we have an endangered and Federally protected species, the California Red-legged Frog, that lives in the floodplain of the Gualala River. Rare plants live along the river banks, rare bird species nest in the surrounding redwoods. How much longer can we overlook the importance of protecting our precious resources for present and future generations?
My family, like many others, gathered in Gualala over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We included this lovely coastal community, it’s towering redwoods and beautiful river, in our Thanksgiving Gratitudes. We didn’t know the river when it once ran deep and proud. We have only the stories that others share. But we love this “impaired” river, it’s adjacent redwoods and the creatures that inhabit it.
My Christmas wish is that the Burch family acknowledge the ecological and communal importance of the “Magic Forest” that extends along the floodplain beyond the Gualala Point Regional Park and that they be willing to work alongside our community to bring to reality the dream of a Gualala River Park.