Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Meddling

Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter is messing with a National park, again. I just went to Rainier this weekend. It was gorgeous. And broke and in disrepair. I mean, I feel for disabled vets and everything, but is sponsoring disabled hunting trips really a policy initiative we need to be pushing forward right now. Unfortunatly, alot of this is probably driven by a pretty moronic and warped view of nature...emphasized by this fellow:

Doug Warren, an official with Paralyzed Veterans of America, said Santa Rosa would provide a uniquely contained environment for disabled veterans, and questioned the need to remove the animals. "It adds so much to have them here," he said. "Otherwise, what are you going to look at?"
Well, how about...

"Over 2,000 species of plants and animals...One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands and found nowhere else in the world."

"Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale"

"Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years."
Here are some more detailed island-by-island suggestions.

High mountains with deeply cut canyons give way to gentle rolling hills and flat marine terraces. Vast grasslands blanket about 85 percent of the island, yet columnar volcanic formations, extensive fossil beds, and highly colored hill slopes are visible. Rocky terraces on the west end provide superb habitat for intertidal organisms. Harbor and elephant seals breed on the island's sandy beaches. On the eastern tip of the island, a unique costal marsh is among the most extensive freshwater habitats found on any of the Channel Islands. The entire island is surrounded by expanses of kelp beds. Consequently, its surrounding waters serve as an invaluable nursery for the sea life that feeds larger marine mammals and the sea birds that breed along the coastal shores and offshore rocks of all the Channel Islands.

Santa Rosa has several rare plants, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. It also is home to the endemic island fox and the spotted skunk. The sandy beaches and cliffs are breeding and resting areas for sea birds and seals and sea lions. Archeological and paleontological sites are abundant on the island. In 1994, the world's most complete skeleton of a pygmy mammoth, a dwarf species related to the Columbian mammoths, was excavated on Santa Rosa. Today, paleontologists continue to discover more sites with the remains of these Pleistocene-era animals.

What to Do

Hiking, camping, attending naturalist-led hikes, kayaking, fishing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, surfing, boating and wildlife watching are frequent activities. Along with a ranger one may explore tidepools and midden sites (Chumash trash heaps).

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