September/October 2003 issue
Wednesday, Sept 10, 2003, 7:30 p.m.
Multi-Purpose Room, Bonny Doon School
A detail from an old map of Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna

Learning From Maps

Inhabiting a rural area is more than just having a roof over our heads, a fence line and an address. When we view ourselves as inhabitants of a watershed system with plants, fish, animals and neighbors, upstream and downstream, we realize that the actions we take on our own property have environmental consequences beyond our property. That realization leads to consideration of personal and political policy decisions about land use.

Maps are the tools we use to visualize and document our relationship to our surroundings as well as the effects of our activities. New methods of mapping, developed with the use of computers, have enabled planners to more easily document or model development, and to identify the impact of land use activities. At the next RBDA meeting we will present, in the form of a computer-generated slide show, a fascinating look at Bonny Doon using the capabilities of Geographic Information Systems: maps made from digital data available from the County Planning Department and the U.S. Geological Survey. These maps will form a basis for us to examine the political and environmental choices that affect our area.

If you enjoyed poring over the map included in the mailed issue of the Highlander, be sure to attend our Sept. 10 meeting and learn more about your area.

Coast Dairies Transfer Delayed: Agriculture, Access Uncertain

The Coast Dairies Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) met for the last time on July 31 and attendees heard U.S. Bureau of Land Managementís (BLM) Bob Beehler deliver more bad news for farming on the North Coast. Beehler said that legal staff has advised him that BLM does not have legal authority to take over Coast Dairiesí agricultural leases and agricultural- worker housing leases.

The continuation of traditional uses of the property, including farming, has been one of the Trust for Public Landís (TPL) stated goals from the beginning. But if BLM has legal problems with agricultural leases, CAG members were left wondering why this was only addressed and announced at the very last meeting in a four-year process. Since the California Department of Parks and Recreation manages agricultural leases at Wilder Ranch and would be acquiring new lands leased for agriculture on Coast Dairies, it had been suggested, earlier in the planning process, that Parks would manage the agricultural leases for BLM as part of the "seamless management" concept for the property. Or, a third entity besides Parks and BLM could accept the agricultural-leased lands and their management. Finding or creating and funding such an entity is difficult, however, when foundation grants have dwindled and budget deficits loom at every level of government.

TPL cannot be blamed for the restrictions on water diversions that have curtailed row crop production on Coast Dairies. Fish and farmers can co-exist on the North Coast, but only if off-stream water storage is developed as well as infrastructure to utilize the water. If TPL conveys the property to BLM, their no-agricultural-lease policy precludes any effort to design and develop water resources, and much of the commercial farming will be gone forever. The only hope lies in ongoing talks between County Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt and BLM officials or the identification of another entity that would accept title and management of the property.

TPLís basic goal has always been to give the public access to open space.  But TPL plans to transfer the property at the end of this year to public agencies with no funds or additional personnel to plan, manage and facilitate access for the public. Attempting to address this problem, BLM is seeking to engage the public to help with management. To this end there is a public workshop proposed in Davenport later this month to discuss the Interim Access Plan, but the date hasnít been announced. Lacking resources for stewardship, it seems impossible to justify any public access beyond the existing trails to the beaches. Plans for new inland access must include environmental review processes, but funding for such studies is uncertain; in the meantime local residents are concerned about the location of access routes and trespass onto neighboring properties.

Neither of the "takeout agencies" or TPL made any commitment to communicate further with the Citizens Advisory Group, but TPL said it is very interested in receiving comments from the public, and promised to keep the public informed as it works through these recent developments and the final decision on the Coast Dairies property disposition.

Homer Strikes Out: Big Creek Goes to Bat for RMC

In July, Homer "Bud" McCrary, vice-president and one of the principal owners of Big Creek Lumber, sent a letter to Bonny Dooners strongly criticizing the Highlanderís reportage of the activities of RMC Pacific Materials.  While very critical of the Highlander article, the letter lacked substance and failed to cite any specific misinformation in the article. Rather, its true intent appeared to be to attempt to offset the important environmental concerns mentioned in the article by discrediting the RBDA with vague references to such things as a "negative tone," and by focusing the readerís attention to RMCís longstanding contributions to the community, as if that were relevant to the impact that the Davenport cement plant and the Bonny Doon limestone and shale quarries have on the environment of these two communities.

The RBDA does not question RMCís good will and community spirit, but we do take issue with the stripmining of larger areas of Bonny Doon forests, and the increased noise, dust and other impacts of an enlarged cement plant.  No matter how magnanimous RMC is, and how much effort they put into their environmental effort (and we acknowledge that they make such efforts), mining limestone and shale and manufacturing cement are activities that by their very nature are harmful to people, plants and animals.

The mission of the RBDA has always been to protect our community and environment, and that means doing everything we can to limit heavy industry and mining on the North Coast. We believe that we are responsible in our concern about so large an operation as RMC, and that our statements about their activities in many previous issues of the Highlander have been factual and accurate.

RMC Plans More Logging

RMC Pacific Materialsís latest timber harvest is planned for over 750 acres adjacent to San Vicente Creek, across the canyon from Thayer Road. Also included in the plan is a 30-acre parcel RMC owns adjacent to the quarry on Reggiardo Creek. This area is important for the water supply to residents of Bonnymede, who operate their own water system-and also to the City of Santa Cruz Water Department, which takes water from nearby Liddell Spring and Reggiardo and Laguna Creeks.

The Cityís Water Department staff advised California Department of Forestry (CDF) officials in Felton that geologic study in the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) was not adequate to identify appropriate protection or mitigation of water quality impacts that might result from harvest activities. The fragile karst geology in the area has been carefully studied in connection with the operation of RMCís Bonny Doon Quarry, but this information was not incorporated into the THP.

Despite the local efforts, the CDF office in Felton did not bring in qualified geologists or require important GIS mapping information from RMC.  Instead, the plan was sent off to CDF headquarters office in Santa Rosa before the public comment period had closed. The efforts were not wasted, however, because, as we go to press, CDF in Santa Rosa has advised that the Reggiardo Creek portion of the timber harvest will be withdrawn. When the remainder of the Plan is approved, careful implementation of the Forest Practice Rules may protect San Vicente Creek (where RMC just logged a tributary and sent the timber to Big Creek Lumber) from erosion-caused sediment.


As a neighborly gesture (the RBDAís membership rules exclude Davenport residents), for the past several years the RBDA has left copies of the Highlander at the Davenport Post Office, so that our coastal friends can learn about the RBDAís activities.

And so we were interested to learn, from Homer T. (Bud) McCraryís "Recollections of the Davenport Cement Plant" (sent with his letter to Bonny Doon and Davenport residents), that RMC Pacific Materials has formed "the Citizen/RMCPMI Committee, working in tandem with North Coast residents to address a number of community concerns."

We would hope that, in a cooperative spirit to match the RBDAís, this group would inform us of its concerns and actions. We will be happy to share the information with our readers, in future issues of the Highlander.


The Executive Board of the RBDA thanks our Editor, Marty Demare, for preparing the two maps enclosed with this issue of the Highlander. We are also extremely grateful to Bonny Doon resident Hank Leach, owner of Grade A Graphics, whose generous donation of pre-press services, paper and printing made this gift to the community possible.

Also see the map at the bottom of this page

   Agenda for the RBDA General Meeting -  September 10, 2003
1. Approval of Minutes of May 14, 2003 General Meeting
2. Treasurerís report
3. Membership Coordinatorís report
4. Featured Presentation: Marty Demare, Mapping Bonny Doon

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The Highlander
The Rural Bonny Doon Association Newsletter
102 Sunlit Lane ē Bonny Doon, CA 95060

Bonny Doon's voice in preserving our special quality of life, 
The Highlander, is mailed free to Bonny Doon residents prior to the 
RBDA General Meetings, which are usually held on second Wednesdays of 
January, March, May, July, September and November.
We encourage you to participate. 

 Send mail correspondence to the Highlander Editor at the above address, 
or by email, below.

RBDA Executive Board 
Board Chair
Don Coyne
Vice Chair
Jodi Frediani
Alec Webster
Corresponding Secretary 
Miriam Beames
Ben Harmon 
Recording Secretary
Helen Larkin
Highlander Editor
Marty Demare 
Contact the RBDA Board in one email

The Bonny Doon Planning District
Bonny Doon Planning District map

If you live in or own property within this district, roughly from Empire Grade to the ocean and from San Vicente Creek to the City of Santa Cruz border, you are eligible to be an RBDA member.

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