July 31, 2011 - 1:03 am
To the editor:
I am writing to express my concern and raise awareness of the potential development of Blue Diamond Hill by Jim Rhodes. Growing up, I spent every weekend climbing and hiking in the pristine canyons of Red Rock with my dad, and the beauty of this incredible natural resource has never ceased to amaze me. Last fall, I left Blue Diamond to study music at the California Institute of the Arts and upon returning I discovered a whole new appreciation for this land’s unique natural beauty and a desire to preserve it.
Over the past 19 years that I have been utilizing Red Rock I have witnessed the increase in human traffic in the park and the negative impact that goes along with it — graffiti, litter, pollution and fires. Inserting a city in the middle of this beautiful natural resource would be absolutely devastating to the unspoiled magnificence of this natural resource forever.
I hope to someday share the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon with my children the same way that my dad shared it with me.
Steven Kai van Betten
To the editor:
The plan for a major housing development in Red Rock Canyon brings us to one of those moments that define our senses of honor, reason and beauty (see Review-Journal, July 7). The plan does not honor the land use and zoning plans for the area. Nor does the plan honor the local, state and national commitments that led to the creation of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
The development plan dishonors all of us.
The development plan also defies reason, asks us to jump our infrastructure five miles from what is readily available, adds 7,000 more homes in Southern Nevada when 20,000 homes sit vacant, and adds 20,000 or more people in an area of drought. It makes no sense.
The plan also brings into question our sense of beauty. The developer tells us that 2,000 acres of home development will be an improvement upon the ravages of 90 years of mining. We are not told that the housing development will not erase the tunnel mining of the area — it is there forever. What we are not told is that the open pit mining has been, by-and-large, rehabilitated — leveled out and replanted and seeded. It will take many years for the area to reach its original native character. But in the meantime we have to ask ourselves if miles of blacktop and 7,000 tile roofs are prettier than the raw Earth that has been brought to the surface. I’ll take the colors of the raw Earth — the white, black, yellow, gray, brown, red and other essential colors of the canyon — a desert palate.
A decade ago, 10,000 people signed a petition against such a project in the canyon. The staff of Clark County recommended denial of that project. Red Rock Canyon is a local, state, national and international wonderment and I think most of us realize what is at stake here. However, the decision comes down to seven Clark County commissioners.
The decision the commissioners are scheduled to make on the morning of Aug. 17 will define us all. The developer is well-represented with a marvelous public relations effort, very smart legal maneuverings and a powerful budget. The website, Save Red Rock Canyon, offers an alternative perspective.
But to save Red Rock Canyon, public interest needs to be presented in every available means of communication — newspaper editorials, emails and phone calls to the commissioners, tweets, blogs, websites and — above all — presence at the decision-making event. If we care, now is the time to express our senses of honor, reason and beauty. It is a time for action.
The writer, who served 20 years on the Red Rock Citizens Advisory Council and was the council’s chairman for 10 of those years, is author of “Vanishing Village: The Struggle for Community in the New West.”