VWA & Willow Creek

I am more than appalled at what Tom Hopkins (President of VWA) has sent in an email to Chris Counts, Jack Ellwanger, myself, and others, without knowing the facts. I have the facts. I will share the facts, and I urge all of you to GET the facts before you make claims like this:

“I was with my wife Julie Anne and VWA Executive Director Paul McFarland (Farley) last Thursday, the day those cars were dumped along Willow Creek Road. On our way up the road, about 10:30 AM, there were four cars (photo 1) and one boat farther up the road (photo). On our way out about 4 PM there were five cars. The wheel marks from the truck that delivered #5 were quite fresh. The truck tire tracks suggested that these cars came down Willow Creek Road, not up from Highway One. One of the junk strewn properties up Willow Creek Road was on the market a year or so ago. Maybe it sold and is being “cleaned up”. We have reported the dumped cars and boat to the Forest Service.

So it appears we have (possibly local) yahoos dumping cars and a boat on the road and other yahoos using this event to attack well intended conservation initiatives. Both of these behaviors are why Jack’s efforts to create meaningful dialog and respect for our public wild lands, among both locals and outsiders, is so important.

Tom Hopkins, President
Ventana Wilderness Alliance
PO Box 506
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
831-429-9010 office
831-566-9988 cell

These are the photos he posted to the VWA website and sent to me personally, presumably all taken by Tom Hopkins:

This abandoned boat has been there for YEARS, per my personal observations over 20 plus years. And it was brought in by some out-of-towner, according to my source.

As to these vehicles:

Both the USFS and the CHP were made aware of the situation before they were hauled to this point. Four of the five were picked up by a licensed hauler today. Three more were taken down, and these four are scheduled to be hauled away on Friday. The hauler can only take four at a time.

There is no way to have abandoned or broken down vehicles which are up a 4×4 dirt road picked up by a licensed hauler, unless they are close to the highway. Yes, this may be an “eye sore” for a few days, but it is the ONLY way to responsibly get rid of broken down and abandoned vehicles. So, that is what is happening.

I cannot fathom why Tom says: “other yahoos using this event to attack well intended conservation initiatives. Both of these behaviors are why Jack’s efforts to create meaningful dialog and respect for our public wild lands, among both locals and outsiders, is so important.”

What is Tom saying? How does local efforts to properly dispose of abandoned vehicles attack conservation initiatives? How does local efforts to properly dispose of abandoned vehicles have ANYTHING to do with Jack’s efforts – real or imagined?

Please be careful about what you put out about my community, because I will not sit idly by. I have been a lawyer for the indigent and downtrodden for almost 30 years. I am used to these kinds of fights. And, I am good at them. Because I insist on getting the facts, and getting them accurate. If my source, whom I trust, is wrong, I will not hesitate to correct my error, and apologize.

I make mistakes on this blog, I have posted inaccurate information occasionally, but when I find out it is inaccurate, I IMMEDIATELY correct it and apologize.

Now, if VWA wants to worry about an “abandoned” vehicle that is not being taken care of, what about this one, also up Willow Creek?

(this photo was taken by bigsurkate on 7/24/10)

9 thoughts on “VWA & Willow Creek

  1. I enjoyed your comments, Kate. That last car should remain there as a reminder of what happens if you drive off Suicide Point. It still looks the same as when I first saw it 33 years ago!

  2. I hope you sent this directly to Tom. He’s a good guy, but perhaps he’s been listening to Jack and thus getting biased info.

  3. Kate,
    It is good to know that the junk cars being dumped on the Willow Creek Road were temporarily staged as part of a cleanup of local private property. Thanks for clarifying that.

    You also came in the middle of an email discussion about some unkind words that had been posted by others, who were ridiculing Jack’s good efforts to further a conservation land ethic among locals and non-locals alike. The sudden dumping of those vehicles on public land was a reasonable concern expressed by a number of well intended folks. And, like you too, those folks got to talking.

    You should also know that the VWA has volunteered thousands of hours cleaning up private junk on public lands in the Willow Creek area. In 2004, 60 volunteers backpacked over 10,000 pounds of junk from the area. So that particular area is of interest to many more folks that just local residents. http://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship/willow-creek.html

    The last couple of years the VWA has been working with the Forest Service to devise a feasible plan to remove three abandoned vehicles that were dumped on public land off Sycamore Flat Road. We hope to accomplish the first of those vehicle removals early next year.

    And yes, I’m guilty of characterizing folks who misuse our public lands as yahoos. I think that is similar sentiment to some of the comments you have made about folks who misuse fire on public lands near your home.

    Best wishes,
    Tom Hopkins

  4. Yes, assumptions like yours can always get one into trouble. I did not say that these cars came from private property. I do not know where they came from. Do you?And “dumped?” I would not use that characterization, myself, but your use of words tends to be a tad looser than mine. I am well aware of the good work that VWA has done.

    I have called people “yahoos” – the ones I see (and photograph) actually having a fire in the dry hills, during the summer. I could use other descriptions which would be much more accurate. If any of the fire-creating summer campers who put my life and my property at risk want to take exception to my calling them “yahoos” then I am open to reasonable discussion. Frankly, I think your analogy is unavailing.

  5. As Forest Gump would say, ” Yahoo is as yahoo does.” The guilty paries are always guilty. It’s the innocents I’m concerned about. Four-legged and winged do not ask for our assault. It’s truly amazing they have put up with us this long. Peace to ALL.

  6. T Y , for the note of concern, Kate . It always gauls the locals when they see or read inacurate information about their circle of concern of surrounding properties.

    I am quite upset about a bill of Sam Farr’s to call Pfeiffer Point, The Jeff Norman Botanical Reserve, mainly because I don’t have the facts.

    It is important for locals to be heard, isn’t it ! I for one am glad that you are there, with a voice of concern and one that cares.

    Good On You, Mate !

  7. Out of the heat comes tempered steel. Sometimes, things get said, without sufficient thought, facts, and communication. emotions flare. When this happens, it is the responsibility of good folk to be of open mind with one another, and resolve the differences and misunderstandings. There also needs to be a dose of humble apology and compassion. With the final peace, a new level of solidarity can arise like a phoenix. I see this happening above. Hats off to you.
    Now, together, we can face off the real threats, perils, and dangers.

  8. Perhaps a simple notice on the cars, like the yellow antennae flags that CHP uses for abandoned vehicles on highways, could have avoided the whole misunderstanding.

    I am a BIG believer in leaving paper trails. When in doubt, leave a note of explanation. There are too many of us to all be on the same page, even telepathically, no?

    LOVE to those involved in the hauling: If I lived in your neighborhood I’d be baking a up a big batch of your favorite cookies right now. Or, how about a peach pie?

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