Will County Be Dumping on Bonny Doon? (See above)
You’ve perhaps followed the controversy in the newspapers about where to locate a new County Dump, since it’s anticipated that the present Buena Vista Dump will fill up by the year 2020. We’ve heard an outcry from Scotts Valley residents because of a potential site in their neighborhood. Now the word is out that the Citizen’s Advisory Group (CAG), appointed by the County to study the problem, has disclosed its entire list of candidate sites and rankings.
Study area #25 is listed as Thayer Road & Bonny Doon Road, parcels #063-031-03, 063-041-01, and 063- 071-01. These are large parcels sited between the ocean and housing along those roads, and could rightfully be considered their "view" front yards. In the ordering of relative priorities of what site to choose, the CAG rated the 31 areas they studied. After eliminating eight sites on the basis of poor access, sensitive watersheds, or bad topography, the remaining 23 were ranked in order of preference. The Bonny Doon site was ranked 17, which sounds reasonably safe. It’s unknown why it wasn’t eliminated on the basis of access or watershed.
It gets worse: a study of the fine print in the report shows that the CAG realized as the study progressed that lands with Timber Production Zone (TPZ) status would be very difficult to use because of the interaction with the State, so they suggest leaving those out unless at least 100 acres of parcels have no such designation. But the Bonny Doon site does have 100 such non-TPZ acres, so it got left in. In this new ranking, Bonny Doon moves up to #8 in preference.
We studied maps provided at the CAG website which considered different problems with the sites. One map headed "Environmental Justice" shows the areas where the choice of site occurs in poor or ethnic minority-dominated lands. Four of the choices ranked above Bonny Doon are in such an area. Concerns about the environmental justice of dump siting could push Bonny Doon even higher on the list.
On the other hand, the Bonny Doon site is in the Coastal Zone, which may count for something. But three other proposed sites are in the Coastal Zone as well, indicating that this was not considered a show-stopper. (The other three are ranked below Bonny Doon and/or excluded by the TPZ problem.) So in the worst-case scenario, Bonny Doon is #4 in priority, and the three ranked above it are all in the hilly area up above Soquel, neighboring Scotts Valley, and Happy Valley all communities that can be counted on to object strongly to having the landfill in their neighborhoods.
The RBDA has responded to this by inviting our County Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt (her assistant, Andy Schiffrin, served on the CAG) to discuss this and other issues of concern to Bonny Dooners at the next General Meeting of the RBDA. We need to let our representatives know where we stand on this suggestion, and what we can do to stop it. Everyone is invited, member or not. Come and take a stand!
What's in a name? Origins of Bonny Doon
about the origin of the name eludes me," writes Donald Clark about Bonny
Doon in his book Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographic Dictionary.
The book, published by the Santa Cruz Historical Society in 1986, was written
by Clark while he was the University Librarian at UCSC-one of several libraries
where the multi-degreed Clark worked over his career. The book represents
the first comprehensive documentation of how Santa Cruz County’s towns,
rivers, and valleys came to be named.
The source for the name Bonny Doon might appear at first glance to be "beautiful hill": bonny or bonnie from the French bon or bonne for beautiful (one of many French words taken into the Scottish vernacular) and dune from the French dune (for rounded hill or ridge of sand) or the Scots Gaelic dùn or dùin (a heap, mound, fortress, or fortification). But Clark found no supporting evidence for this.
"Logic seems to favor the belief that it was named by John Burns...and that he named it for a song by Robert Burns. Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonie Doon, probably the most popular of any poem by Burns, was written in 1792 and put to music a few years later by Burns himself and soon became the song of Scotland," writes Clark.
John Burns was a Scotland native (but no relation to Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns) who came to Santa Cruz by way of Canada just after the Gold Rush in 1852. Upon arriving he started a shingle mill and lumber operation here, harvesting from the large acreage he owned in the Bonny Doon area and dragging the timber down the mountain to his milling operations next to the San Lorenzo River. He also worked with a friend to plant some of the first vineyards in the county (the exact location of these vineyards is unknown, but may possibly be the old vineyards at the top of Jameson Creek Road).
As one of the first to arrive in this area, Burns contributed more than one name. He named Ben Lomond Mountain for the renowned mountain of the same name near his birthplace in Stirlingshire, Scotland, near Glasgow. (The Scottish word "ben," spelled beinn or beann in Scots Gaelic, means mountain. The original Ben Lomond in Scotland looks out over the original Loch Lomond.)
Burns also is responsible for naming the town of Ben Lomond. The town sprang from the lumbering settlement where Burns and fellow lumber entrepreneur James Pierce operated. Pierce, first to arrive in the area, owned the larger of the lumber operations- the Pacific Mills saw mill, which logged 4,000 acres and operated the first band saw in California. In 1887, the lumber settlement had developed into a town needing a post office. The USPO declined the name Pacific Mills because there were already too many towns in California named after either mills or the Pacific. Burns, his son Thomas, and Pierce submitted the name Ben Lomond, after the nearby mountain Burns named.
It seems equally certain that it was also Burns who named Bonny Doon, since this area was part of his large acreage, though sparse County records for this time period don’t confirm or refute this theory. Why credit his name inspiration as a song about the River Doon rather than etymological sources for "beautiful hill?" The combination of Burns as a displaced Scot who named local places for Scottish landmarks and the wild popularity of Robert Burns and his celebrated song Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonie Doon points a strong finger to the song as the name source. Robert Burns’ popularity in Scotland and America persisted well into the next (19th) century and is still celebrated in annual Burns festivals here and in Scotland. His songs were all the rage in America as well as Scotland during the Gold Rush, when John Burns likely recorded the name Bonny Doon.
Paul Hostetter, a Bonny Doon resident, has further researched the history behind the name Bonny Doon, including anecdotally with local residents and the well-published Sandy Lydon, who taught history for many years at Cabrillo College. Hostetter also had opportunity to talk with Alice Earl Wilder before her death at the age of 99. Along with the Earls and Burnses, the Wilder family she married into was one of the founding families in the San Lorenzo area. It was Alice Wilder who donated the portrait of John Burns to the Ben Lomond Library.
All of Hostetter’s research supports Clark’s belief that the origin of Bonny Doon is most likely John Burns’ love for Scotland and the popular song. In an article posted on the RBDA web site, Hostetter includes in his history of the Bonny Doon name additional information about Burns and his song (including an audio clip of the tune). He writes, "Robert Burns’ 1783 poem The Banks O’ Doon commemorates the river Doon...which flows from Loch Doon to the Firth of Clyde in Stirlingshire. A keen student of Scots ballads and fiddle tunes, he set the poem to music a few years later. Along with Loch Lomond and Auld Lang Syne, its popularity continued to grow long after he passed away. Our own local lad far from home, John Burns, loved the song and named the area after the song."
Clark reports one other proffered explanation for the name Bonny Doon. Leon Rowland, who wrote a series of pamphlets between 1940 and 1951 on the history of Santa Cruz, wrote in one of them, "The name Bonny Doon, applied to part of the [Ben Lomond] mountain top, originated three decades after Burns’ arrival, being given by a group of families to whom spiritualism was a religion." Try as he might, Clark was never able to find any evidence to support Rowland’s statement.
Clark ends his entry on Bonny Doon saying, "Almost as controversial
[as the origin] is the spelling of the name." Though well established now
as Bonny Doon, the original spelling in USGS topographical maps issued
from 1902-1921 and again from 1965 to the present is Bonnie Doon. Oddly,
the same USGS maps published between 1930-1946 use Bonny Doon. Other map
publishers varied similarly. Thurston’s Directory of 1912 used yet another
spelling, Bonney Doon.
The Banks O’ Doon
by Robert Burns
Ye flowery banks o’bonie Doon,
Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose
The PG&E Chainsaw Massacre: the Sequel
The RBDA Board was contacted recently by a resident concerned about extreme PG&E pruning near 2250 Pine Flat: all road facing limbs were removed from approximately 10 large Douglas Fir trees. This resident spoke with the workers and reports: "The site foreman said they are just starting and they’re going to continue up Pine Flat removing all limbs facing the electric lines."
In 1999, PG&E removed several thousand trees surrounding power lines on Conifer, Molina, and Robles. All efforts by the RBDA and neighborhood residents towards less extreme "vegetation management" practices had fairly limited success. The effects on the landscape were considerable. By law, PG&E is allowed to manage vegetation inside their right-of-way.
If you have concerns that PG&E is excessively pruning or removing trees in your area, you can contact Kay Price, California Department of Forestry Fire Captain Specialist in charge of power line fire prevention at the Felton CDF office. CDF administers the extensive state regulations regarding power line clearance for fire prevention. Kay has offered to answer questions and concerns, provide information on relevant codes, share her experiences, and use her contacts at PG&E to gather more information as needed. E-mail email@example.com or phone (831) 335-6721. You can also contact Rodney Maddocks, CDF Bureau Chief with Felton CDF to request an inspection of PG&E power line clearance work, (831) 335-6743.
An application is before the County Planning Department to build an 8,000 sq. ft. house, with a two-story second unit of 1,200 sq. ft., on property located on the south side of Blessing Lane, approximately 1/10 mile west of Bonny Doon Road. This will require a series of variances, including size and height increases, as current county ordinances set a limit of 7,000 sq. ft and a height of 28 ft.
A second project requiring variances is also under review. This project proposes to construct 1,000 sq. ft. of horse stables at 2309 Empire Grade. Both of these could be precedent setting in Bonny Doon and may be cause for concern. For more information, contact Planner Jack Nelson, 454- 3259.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS AT THE AUGUST 11, 2004
RBDA EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
1. Approved operating procedures for voting on Executive Board motions via
2. Approved the authorization of Alec Webster to open a new checking
3. Approved the timing of RBDA Executive Board Meetings, on a fixed
Issue Updates: Quarry,Water, Retreat
RMC Quarry Expansion
The draft EIR will likely go out for public review this fall or early
winter and will be posted on the County’s website. If you would like to
be notified when it’s available, contact Claudia Slater, County Planning
Department, and ask to be put on a notification list: (831) 454-5175.
Proposed Water Pipeline
TM Retreat Center
The TM group has still not exercised their option to purchase the property.
Before going forward with the project they want to make sure the proposed
development will work for both the land and the community. To this end
they are hoping to offer up a preliminary design for more community feedback
later this fall. They are also in the process of doing septic, leach field
and biotic surveys.
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