Community Commentary: The loss of local natural park land — our ‘Village H’

Local author Richard Louv chronicles how children are increasingly disconnected from nature and presents the ramifications for all in “Last Child in the Woods.” Children now spend more time plugged into TV and games than they do in school. Louv sites studies that prove playing in natural areas reduces ADHD and other behavioral problems — a welcome alternative to drug therapy.
Proposition C was passed in 2002, yet Carlsbad’s elected officials continue to delay using the funds to buy open space. They got in too deep on the golf course, and now we’re told we get only a pool with half the features and a few trails.
The annual city surveys and public workshops indicate our citizens’ No. 1 priority is acquisition of open space for preservation and recreation. Village H (the 60-acre parcel at the corner of Victoria and Carlsbad Village Drive now behind bars) was an accessible, unimproved natural area where children, adults and their pets could wander. It was a wildlife corridor that allowed wildlife and people to coexist because there was enough space to do so. People collected pet waste and disposed of it — without any city help.
This parcel did not have to fulfill Community Facilities requirements, and the zoning could have been changed to Open Space, but the city failed to act. Even though Village H changed hands twice last year at rock bottom prices, the city still remained on the sidelines. In fact, we are told that in a “closed” City Council session in 2008, they decided not to buy Village H. A councilman told me that $150,000 the city spent on private meetings with developers of the strawberry fields was “pocket change.” For about twice that trifling amount, our priceless neighborhood gathering area and wildlife corridor could have been saved.
Preserve Calavera, a local all-volunteer nonprofit conservation group, has stepped up to the plate and set up a trust fund that can be spent only on land acquisition. Now owned by DFG, the first acquisition Preserve Calavera spearheaded is 134 acres at the west end of the Buena Vista Valley, some of which will be opened up for public use. Preserve Calavera has monthly work parties to restore habitat, educational hikes and wildlife events. Go to PreserveCalavera.org for more information. With your help, we can do what the city will not. Send your tax-deductible donations to the San Diego Foundation at 2508 Historic Decatur Rd. #200, SD, CA 92106 clearly marked Preserve Calavera’s — Rosebrook Land Acquistion Fund.
Carlsbad is not setting aside enough natural habitat to meet demands made by both recreational users and the conservation of plants and animal. As the human impacts on sensitive species grow, state and land managers will increasingly ban us from habitat areas. Please contact your mayor and City Council at council@carlsbadca.gov or (760) 434-2830 — ask them to buy the entire Village H parcel and more open space from their own city list.

A longtime North County resident, Kasey Cinciarelli lives with her family in Carlsbad. She is a board member of Preserve Calavera.

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