On November 23, 2016, Friends of Tesla Park, together with the Center for Biological Diversity and Alameda Creek Alliance, filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court challenging the proposed expansion of Carnegie off-road vehicle park into Tesla Park.
“It would be a travesty to allow Tesla’s incredible wildlands, and cultural and historical resources to be destroyed by off-highway vehicles,” said Nancy Rodrigue, a member of the Friends of Tesla Park Steering Committee. “You only have to look at the environmental devastation at Carnegie to know what will happen to Tesla if it is opened to OHVs.”
The lawsuit states that approval of the expansion (which would nearly triple the size of Carnegie to 4,675 acres) and associated environmental documents violate the California Environmental Quality Act by not properly disclosing, analyzing and mitigating negative environmental impacts, including increased hillside erosion, harm to wildlife, and damage to cultural resources. The lawsuit also states that Carnegie is operating in violation of the Public Resources Code and illegal trails must be closed.
Throughout the administrative process, the OHMVR Division and Commission ignored scientific studies and comments from experts, agencies and organizations, urging further analysis and protection of affected wildlife, habitats and cultural treasures.
“This expansion will destroy habitat for rare wildlife and degrade air and water quality for neighboring communities,” said Aruna Prabhala, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “At a time when climate change, drought and urban sprawl are shrinking habitat for wildlife throughout California, the state should be protecting critical open space, not allowing it to be ripped apart by off road vehicles.”
Tesla is a key wildlife corridor and biodiversity hotspot that has threatened and endangered species, including California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, San Joaquin kit fox, Alameda whipsnake, Townsend big eared bat, and about 70 other rare species and habitats.
Tesla Park includes 3,100 acres of oak woodlands, grasslands and sensitive habitat for vulnerable animals and plants along rolling hills that drain into Coral Hollow Creek and the Arroyo Seco. In contrast, Carnegie consists of scared hills stripped of vegetation and suffering from erosion. Tesla also holds the historic Tesla coal mine and town site, which is eligible for listing in the National Registry of Historic Places, and sacred Native American ceremonial sites.
Watch for updates, donate to cover legal expenses, and help us continue the fight to save Tesla Park.
Mitchell Ravine in Tesla Park