By Marilyn Russell, Livermore Resident
Marilyn is one of many who have written about the importance of permanently protecting the Tesla Park land from the destruction of OHV recreation. This letter was published in The Independent on November 29, 2013. Check out other informative Letters to the Editor at The Independent. Add your voice. Join Marilyn and others to SAVE Tesla Park.
I have lived in Livermore for 46 years and watched a beautiful transformation of our town and valley into a rich cultural and agricultural community with great respect for the environment and the improvement of the quality of life for the residents. We have become a destination area for wineries and many visitors to taste our excellent products. The southern region has been preserved in perpetuity as an agricultural preserve through the Tri-Valley Conservancy. Our
valley is surrounded by a necklace of beautiful parks, from Brushy Peak to the Northeast to Del Valle in the South, with Holdener and Sycamore in between. We can enjoy open vistas, clear skies, and many quiet, restorative connections with the natural world. Our area was home to many peaceful Native American groups of the Ohlone and Miwok tribes, and there are village sites, incised boulders, and bedrock mortars throughout our region. The DeAnza Expedition passed through our Valley in April of 1776, followed by many other historical pioneers. Many of whom have left their names in our streets, schools and cities.
Now there is a serious turn of events on the Eastern side of our valley. 3400 acres of biologically diverse and unique landscape is about to become an Off Road Vehicle Park. In the preferred concept plan presented on November 12, there will be a parking lot and practice area just 7 miles from the city limits of Livermore, closer than any other park with the exception of Sycamore Grove. The noise, extra traffic on already over-used Tesla Road, and other access routes around the valley, as well as visibility of denuded hillsides from off road use will be a reality.
If this acreage, called Tesla Park by the Friends who hope to preserve it as a natural area, is added to Carnegie Park (the State Vehicle Recreation area) there will be easy access to 5000 acres of land to attract off road enthusiasts from throughout the state. Is this the image that Livermore wants to promote???? What will this do to property values and the vision of the Tri Valley Conservancy for thousands of acres already protected in quiet agricultural uses? In addition, there are several archeological sites on this property that are perhaps 8000 years old. How can they be protected? Livermore has a Native American history that treasures the land as sacred, to be protected for many generations into the future. Brushy Peak and Mt Diablo are considered to be creation peaks and part of an enormous viewscape that should be preserved intact, not destroyed by wheeled vehicles, noise, dust, oil and gasoline leaks, not to mention the destruction of all but the hardiest of plant species. Do we want to be known as a visionary community or an off road vehicle mecca?
I was raised on a ranch that I still own in Northern California. My Dad was a conservationist before the word was invented! He would never drive on roads after a rain and he never allowed any vehicle off the established ranch roads. Those tracks destroy native vegetation and habitat and may never recover. This is proven by the wagon tracks across many of the pioneer trails as the immigrants came West in wagon trains in the 1840s and 50s seeking new homes and gold. I was raised to cherish and protect landscapes and to preserve them for future generations. I am very proud
to be a part of the Livermore community with its far-reaching vision for improvement and protection. I hope you will join with me and Friends of Tesla Park to stop the destruction of this unique biological, historical, cultural and spiritual area. I can envision a quiet reserve with access for hikers, bikers, equestrians, bird watchers, archeologists, seekers of peace and open vistas, botanists and others. All types of interests can be served in a park like setting. None of these ctivities can occur within an Off Road Vehicle area.
What is your vision for Livermore? Please act now to encourage your local legislators, LARPD, City Council as well as the State Parks Department (Off Road Vehicle Division) to STOP the expansion of Carnegie off road vehicle use into this beautiful area and complete the necklace of open space and trails around our valley in perpetuity.