Marin IJ Readers Forum for October 10, 2019 – Marin Independent Journal
Point Reyes 2020 fire proves useful for Tule elk
An unrecognized and beneficial consequence of the 2020 Woodward Fire on the Point Reyes National Shoreline is the restoration of open land suitable for grazing by elk living in the 30,000 acres of Phillip Burton Wilderness. Tule elk were moved from the Tomales Point Wilderness to the Limantour Wilderness in 1998, but herds have been slow to develop there. Elk apparently prefer open pastures managed by ranchers in the park’s adjacent 18,000-acre pastoral zone.
Recently while riding the ridge of the Bear Valley Trail, a friend and I encountered a male six-pointed elk. We also saw a sapling marked by the bull scratching its antlers. I’ve been riding seaside since the mid-1970s, but this is the first time I’ve seen an elk south of the Muddy Hollow-Limantour Beach area.
The most intense fire last year was on a hill south of the Woodward Valley Trail, which leads to the area where we saw the bull. Park staff have had other reports of sightings of elk herds as far south as Wildcat Camp. This would place the elk in the heart of the Limantour wilderness area, where fresh water and fodder are available.
The environmental assessment report prepared in 1998 prior to moving the elk to the wilderness area cited the likely benefits of the move. He envisioned the dual environmental benefits of prescribed burns and the presence of elk in the wilderness. He noted that “elk help reduce fuel loads in grassland and shrub areas where they feed by decreasing the area’s vulnerability to fire.” Grazing elk would thus reduce the negative impacts of fires on forage species.
In addition, fire also benefits forage productivity by increasing nutrient cycling, thereby improving the quality of this habitat for tulip elk. It is a global victory for the environment.
– Judy Teichman, Point Reyes Station
Those who oppose the vaccine endanger our civilization
If civilization survives pandemics and global warming, people in the future might view our present age as one of deep human ignorance, a second dark age.
Right now, we have the means to stem the spread of COVID-19 through vaccination, but millions of us refuse to be vaccinated. Those against the vaccine must hear this: The Earth is not flat, the sun does not revolve around it, and vaccines work. Everyone needs to educate themselves.
– Steve O’Keefe, Novato
Allowing mess revives 30-year-old headache
Thirty years ago, I applied for and paid for a building permit to build an insulated prefab garage on our property near Bolinas. I received a design review waiver and anticipated the license to follow.
In order to avoid the rainy season, we started to build, but the site was marked when there was no one there. The county inspector, a local, informed the carpenter that I had hired that he would not have tagged the site had he known that I had received a design review waiver. When I informed the planning office of this situation, I was told that my cost was now three times the original price since the site had been marked.
I rejected this proposal because it appeared to be a “Catch-22” situation. Years later, a revaluation of the property noted the garage. He noted that we have paid the property tax increases so far. Recently I was informed that I now need to apply for a building permit for the 30 year old garage and it will cost me over $ 5,000 (most going to Marin County).
I have already submitted a fee of $ 550 to initiate this electronic process, but my fees originally paid 30 years ago will not be applied to the cost. The Internet application is confusing and uninformative. I have always requested permits for modifications to our property, even when I replaced the water heater.
My recent visit to the town planning office did not come across any viable solution and I was suggested to hire an architect, draftsman and maybe an engineer. In addition, I am required to provide a site plan showing the septic system and all other structures on the property.
None of these requests have anything to do with the garage. The garage was built to code at the time of construction. I would like a county office worker to show some sense of empathy or make an effort to alleviate the hardships faced by senior homeowners on fixed incomes. This problem could be solved with a simple inspection and with a fee paid without all the unnecessary paperwork and expense.
– DL Schmucker, Bolinas