Attention Jeff Muskrat: The list of corporate cronies being paid off under the table to not care about the dastardly Wal-Mart-driven plan to slightly tweak the course of Highway 101 through Richardson Grove grows longer every day. This time the Save-The-Redwoods League has sold its immortal soul to AmeriKKKan greed!
In a letter dated Friday, STR Executive Director Ruskin K. Hartley tells Caltrans that the League considered the proposal carefully and ultimately decided to sign off, commending the agency on a "sensitive project design." The League's consulting arborist, Dennis Yniguez, had a couple of recommendations about when best to perform the work to avoid disturbing old growth; in his letter, Hartley expresses hope that Caltrans will follow the recommendations.
Yniguez's report is quite a read. It starts off with a sentimental preamble, in which the author recalls his childhood memories of camping in Richardson Grove, and, in that light, his initial skepticism about the project. However, after a tour of the site and the plans and a review of the literature, he was won over, and seems to believe that the highway modifications will improve the health of the old growth near the highway.
He rebuts one Muskrat-Miller argument out of hand: "My professional opinion," he says, "is that the highway alterations, as proposed, will have no significant detrimental effect on root health or on the availability of water to the roots of old-growth redwoods adjacent to the highway construction." But since that is a concern, he suggests some monitoring measures that could be used to gauge and mitigate such a thing, were it to occur.
Overall? "The character of Richardson Grove is not threatened by this project," he writes. "Concerns that the project will somehow 'straighten' the meandering of Highway 101 through the grove and destroy its ambiance are unfounded. Rather, some existing curves will be subtly extended and widened for increased safety during the approaches to narrow passages, and the changes will most likely be nearly imperceptible."
(OK, Jeff, I'll unblock you and Shunka now, so long as you both promise not to revive your unrelated and interminable war on those other threads.)