Balcones Canyonlands Preserve limitations...
- Forwarded on from another group since I believe this will be of interest to all of us...Hey everyone,
Got bad news for us: the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) are
attempting to yet further restrict use of all BCP lands. And what was
a surprise to me was that a huge part of the Barton Creek Greenbelt
(most of it outside Loop 360) comes under their purview. It also
includes Forest Ridge (at Bull Creek), D.K. Ranch, a huge amount of
land at the upper end of Spicewood Springs and Old Lampasas, and other
lands around the hill country.
BCP has the stated goal to preserve endangered species, most
importantly and significantly the Golden Cheeked Warbler and the
Black-Capped Vireo. Unfortunately, some of the lands which have been
so labeled have been traded to developers, such that many have doubts
about the integrity and effectiveness of the BCP.
Despite the fact that almost all of this land was paid for by your tax
dollars as acquisitions for park land, public access to most of this
land is forbidden. At places such as Forest Ridge, mountain bikes or
organized running groups are forbidden.
Furthermore, despite promises of a study at Forest Ridge to evaluate
the impact, none has been done by the BCP. There is in fact zero
evidence that recreational use of the land has any adverse effect
whatsoever on the endangered bird species. (Much more likely culprit
is that cats from nearby subdivisions are eating the birds, and by
fencing off the lands, they also fence out the coyotes which eat the
mesopredators - cats, raccoons, opossums, etc. Those mesopredators
are the primary predators on the songbirds and their eggs. A study in
San Diego showed that fencing out the coyotes greatly hurt the bird
The newly proposed policy by BCP is further restricting land use to
prohibit running, swimming, rock climbing, in addition to their
previous prohibitions on mountain biking and group exercise.
We need everyone's support to ensure that we have continued access to
our park lands, and to regain some of the ludicrously prohibited
activities that we all love. The council meeting is tomorrow (Thurs):
* November 8, 2007, 6:00 p.m., Austin City hall, 301 W. Second St
Some good info can be found at places like the BCP site and the Bike
MoJo site (BTW, the 'bartman' on MoJo is *not* me):
We need also to remember that if the public is not allowed access to
these lands, then public support for their preservation will vanish,
and the land will eventually become developed with the ever-changing
political whims. The only way to guarantee preservation of this land
and its ecosystem is to allow public access, and especially to allow
that access outside the breeding season, when the birds are located in
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