Monday, April 17, 2006

Vulture Houses

Inspired by Mike Case and Jay Shuttleworth, I sent the following to the Editor of the Auburn Journal.

Editor of the Journal:

It is long past time to stop building houses overlooking the American River Canyon. Not only are such houses at desperate risk from wildfires (it is as bad as building in floodplains), but they mar the view for all the rest of us.

We are very lucky here in Placer County, to have some of the most beautiful terrain on earth. Lake Tahoe; the Sierra Crest, with Mt. Lincoln, Tinkers Knob, and Granite Chief; and, of course, our many canyons.

The North Fork of the American River canyon, in particular, is Placer county's own Yosemite, for miles over three thousand feet deep, rife with waterfalls and trackless gorges. This was once called the Great American Canyon, or The American River Canyon. It was famous nationwide, being visible from the Central Pacific Railroad in many places; why, the trains used to stop, at American View, above Alta, so the passengers could enjoy the view of Giant Gap, that incredible chasm portrayed by Thomas Moran in an etching.

That incredible view stirred our forefathers' souls, and for a time, it was called Jehovah's Gap. But the old Gold Rush name stuck.

That incredible gorge, now lined with houses. Some of the worst are out on Lovers Leap Road, and a new one is a-building at Bogus Point.

They are a blight on our landscape and a curse on our children.

If we had done nothing, thirty or forty years back, we would now have houses and "no trespassing" signs lining every inch of California's coast. We need to take care of our scenery, our wild places and open spaces, and our very remarkable American River Canyon.


Russell Towle

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