Please make an effort to attend one or all of these meetings and let them know what you would like to see happen.
Northwest Masterplan Planning Sessions:
1. Hands-On Session:
Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 5PM to 9PM,
2. Northwest Masterplan Work in Progress:
Saturday, January 28, 2012, 9AM to Noon,
Canutillo HS Auditorium;
6675 S. Desert Boulevard, 79932
Monday, January 23 to Friday, January 27, 2012
Canutillo Independent School District--Board Room
7965 Artcraft Road, 79932
Hours of Design Studio:
Monday-Friday, 9AM to 7PM
More information at: http://www.planelpaso.org/
For more information about the Transmountain Petition:
And, once again, Jim Tolbert at El Paso Naturally, is keeping track for us. Check it out and sign up for email notifications: www.elpasonaturally.blogspot.com
Raul Amaya at City Council 11/29/11:
There are places in the world that should belong to everyone in general & no one in particular & that because of their uniqueness & beauty shouldn’t be sold for private development & profit like the 700 acres of land along the western side of Trans Mountain road.
Environmentalist author Edward Abbey wrote: "The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need … wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
I’ll close my comments with a few lyrics from a popular song of my youth written by Joni Mitchell named Big Yellow Taxi.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot with a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot SPOT.
Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
Please don’t be the “they” in this song.
Castner Range: Restoration Authority Board meeting postponed due to contracting issues.
Audubon Society honors Jim Tolbert, February 18, 2012:
Jim Tolbert will receive the Audubon Conservation Award at the society's 2012 dinner and program, to be held on Saturday, February 18 at Jaxon's on Airway. Advance reservations are required. Please contact Janet at 915-637-5269 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
El Paso Zoo (Steve Marshall, Director):
City and County Officials and downtown business leaders have announced the beginning of the public process for a November 2012 Quality of Life bond election. The proposed election will create new ideas for bold economic development and quality of life initiatives which could include the El Paso Zoo. The call for community projects is the beginning of a public process which provides voters the opportunity to request projects to improve the quality of life in El Paso.
The process is especially important to the zoo because it is one of the sites that can be listed for consideration in the bond. This is an opportunity for you to continue to improve your zoo. The first step in collecting ideas from citizens is critical because after this process the City Council will determine, from these comment cards, the projects that will be included in the bond election.
Once the public process is complete, the final recommendation should represent a project mix geared to providing the largest benefit for El Paso citizens, the most significant economic impact, and the opportunity to maximize the quality of life for our citizens. Projects will be selected by City Council in the spring, and the details will be presented to the public in the summer so that voters can make an informed decision before the vote in November.
The El Paso Zoo needs your support to ensure that its needs are represented in this process.
The support by zoo members for the 2000 bond provided $34 million to the zoo and greatly improved our zoo. In fact, it was truly transformative. Some of the additions to the zoo funded by the bond included a new zoo entrance, the new sea lion exhibit, the addition of the African exhibits and much more. The 2012 bond is necessary to allow the zoo to replace the 1950-60’s exhibits in the North and South America section, create a large Chihuahuan Desert exhibit area, add exhibits in Asia and Africa, improve behind the scenes support facilities and build a special events pavilion.
I ask that you take a moment to fill out a comment card by visiting the “El Paso Tomorrow” section of the City website at www.elpasotexas.gov. Zoo improvements are much needed and it is important that our supporters speak up. Your participation is critical to determine which projects are included - filling out this comment card and asking for zoo improvements is the only way to ensure that the zoo is included in the proposed bond election. The City’s future could be decided without your input and this is your opportunity to help further transform our zoo and our city.
Don’t let others decide if a great zoo is important to your community. Your participation is absolutely essential. Fill out comment cards and have your friends fill out cards asking for zoo improvements, listing some of the suggested projects, and an investment in the zoo’s next master plan.
Texas State Parks Need Your Help:
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently hosted 11 news conferences at different locations across the state, appealing to the public to visit state parks and make donations to help offset a revenue loss caused by heat, drought, wildfires and a resulting drop in park visitor revenue.
“A ‘triple whammy’ of record heat and drought, devastating wildfires and a corresponding decline in visitation and revenue has created a critical need for Texas State Parks,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “So, we are reaching out for help.”
“The bottom line is we have a $4.6 million gap in our 2012 park system operating budget,” Smith said. “This is the amount we need to raise to help keep state parks open. We want to alert people now while there is still time to help.”
TPWD is rolling out a multi-faceted awareness campaign stressing three calls to action:
• One, go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us/helpparks to make a tax-deductible, year-end donation.
• Two, starting Jan. 1, make a donation when you renew your motor vehicle registration.
• And, most important, because visitor fees pay for about half of park system operating costs, visit state parks.
Franklin Mountains State Park (John Nuñez):
Howdy Everybody! As always, life is busy at Franklin Mountains State Park! There have been new events planned for the coming year with a huge event about to take place this coming weekend, the El Paso Puzzler. On Sunday, January 15 the Borderland Mountain Bike Association will host the Puzzler, which is a highly popular race, at the park. In anticipation of the Puzzler, park staff (Adrianna Weickhardt, Fernie Rincon and John Nunez) have participated in the trail building days that the BMBA coordinated with park volunteer Robert Newman. The trail building days were successful with the help of the BMBA and new volunteers. According to Robert Newman, “The trail is pretty much done and ready for the race. There are a few spots that will need additional tweaking, but the trail is ready for the race.” Thanks to Robert, David Wilson and Brent Sanders for all their hard work and to all the others that have come out to help make this trail a reality.
Another project at hand is the building and installation of mile markers on the Ron Coleman Trail. Lead Ranger Robert Pichardo designed and built the new signs which are all metal with a hiker medallion and the distance marked on the sign. The signs will start at the Trans Mountain trailhead and continue the approximate four mile stretch to McKelligon Canyon. With the help of our newest volunteer, Emmanuel Moreno, the signs will be installed throughout the current fiscal year. Park staff Steve Taylor and John Nunez have been coordinating the project with Emmanuel and have also used the assistance of the TDCJ work crew. So far, the ½ mile marker sign has been successfully installed on the Coleman Trail in Smuggler’s Canyon. As far as an effort to thwart would be vandals, the signs are drilled into the ground, re-enforced with concrete and have three pre-drilled rocks as an anchor and support for the signs. Along with that, the signs, once anchored, are covered with additional rock and cement to help prevent them from being destroyed or removed.
As with every New Year, come new projects at the park. A massive clean-up effort is in the planning stages to clean the desert below the Westside Overlook on Trans Mountain Road. Unfortunately, people who don’t have any respect for nature or the park have continually disposed of trash, including tires and yard waste, on the desert floor. Park staff, along with possibly two TDCJ work crews, are planning a huge event to clean up that part of the park. There is also a possibility of getting other local organizations involved with this project. As soon as plans are finalized, we will announce the day of the event and all who will be involved.
Another exciting project in the planning stages is the installation of trail signs for the mountain bike trails that are south of the Tom Mays Unit. Park Police Officer Fernie Rincon along with Maintenance Techs Steve Taylor and John Nunez will be involved with this project. Park staff have coordinated with BMBA members Brent Sanders and Dave Wilson for ideas of where the signs are needed and most importantly, the names of these trails. Once all the signs have been installed, there will be updates made with the new Geo Betty maps. Fernie just completed taking GPS coordinates for all these trails and soon an order will be placed for the signs. (Thank you BMBA again for your support)!
Along with those new projects, come the daily maintenance projects throughout the park. For the remainder of the current fiscal year, all at Franklin Mtns. State Park will be involved with the ongoing maintenance throughout Tom Mays. The campsites and picnic sites have been re-landscaped and soon all the picnic sites and camp sites will have a new coat of paint. New trail signs will be installed along with the continued restoration of all current signage.
Park volunteer Richard Love, along with Park Interpreter Adrianna Weickhardt, are currently in the planning stages for the up-coming Chili Cook Off at Tom Mays. So far the event is tentatively scheduled for September. Along with the Chili Cook Off, plans are underway for the upcoming Poppy Festival in March. Hopefully, with this winter’s moisture, we will see the desert covered in orange for this year’s event!
With so many events in the planning stages along with new events, Adrianna has been incredibly busy. Thus far, a New Year’s Day hike went well with a turnout of about 30 people. The hike included the Schaeffer Shuffle and the Lower Sunset and was led by Adrianna and Park Volunteer Heath Shawhart. Adrianna plans on hosting several more hikes throughout the year to encourage area residents to come out and explore the park and get in shape at the same time.
Wow! So much going on at the park to keep us all busy doing what we love best, caring for the park! Every day is exciting with all the projects and events. We encourage all area residents to come and be a part of it. Many more events are planned for this year to continue spreading the word of all our mountain wilderness has to offer!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Year of the Bat, El Paso Zoo, Jan. 28-29, 10 am – 4pm:
Join us to help raise awareness about Bat conservation and learn about these magnificent creatures. Daily activities will include bat games, arts and crafts, bat enrichment programs and more (activities included with regular Zoo admission).
Do more to help bats during our Bat House Building Workshop on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 11 am ($10 per person, $9 for members). Learn how to build a bat house in this fun, hands on interactive workshop. Bats are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and installing a bat house is a great way to support these insect eating species.
Or how about the Batty Sleepover, January 27, 6 pm – 9 am? Spend the night at the Zoo and discover information about our local bats, make bat enrichments and celebrate the Year of the Bat! Also enjoy a jam packed time with nocturnal tour, animal encounter, campfire, story time and behind the scenes tour. All you need is your pillow and a blanket. Cots are provided. $30 non member, $27 member. Enjoy this half price special while it lasts. Ages 7+, must be at least 1 adult per 5 children. For more information and to register, visit elpasozoo.org/adventure or call 521-1850.
Desert Dirt Fest comes to Big Bend Ranch President’s Day weekend:
‘The Chihuahuan Desert Dirt Fest’ is scheduled to take place Feb. 16-18 in the Terlingua/Lajitas area of southwest Texas. The International Mountain Biking Association’s internationally acclaimed and designated 54-mile Epic Ride in Big Bend Ranch State Park will be the festival’s featured route on Feb. 18. The Dirt Fest offers three days of riding opportunities for all levels of riders, from beginners on mostly flat, historic 4x4 double-track ranch roads to advanced riders taking on the challenging single-track of the Dome Trail and Rincon Loops or the Epic Ride up Fresno Canyon to Sauceda. The Lajitas and Contrabando trails are great places to develop and enhance mountain-bike riding skills, while at the same time experiencing and enjoying some of the wildest remaining desert landscapes in the United States.
Saturday’s options include the grueling 54-mile Epic Ride, the Dome or Rincon Loops, roll your own or a children’s’ ride. Riders may also take the two-day Epic Ride option if the 54 miles is too tough and arduous to ride in one day. Riders on this option are invited to make a 29-mile ride on day one then throw their feet up and relax with dinner, a hot shower and a good night’s rest before heading out again in the morning. After a hearty breakfast on day two, riders can then complete the 25 miles back to Lajitas. In addition to seeing and experiencing the natural beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert mountains, canyons and springs, visitors can see archeological and historic sites along the way. Water aid stations will be available.
The two-day Epic Ride can be done either Thursday/Friday or Friday/Saturday. Persons opting for one of the two overnight Epic rides must observe the following guidelines:
Make Big Bend Ranch State Park lodging reservations through TPWD’s Customer Service Center at 512-389-8919. The Bunkhouse is $35 a night per bunk, or reserve one of three rooms (one queen bed) inside the original ranch residence, the Big House, which is $100 per room (two people maximum occupancy). Park entry fees are being waived during the three-day festival. Meal reservations must be made and paid for in advance by calling BBRSP at 432-358-4444 or email@example.com for more information, as there is limited space available. To pre-register for Dirt Fest, visit www.bikereg.com.
For more information about the event, call Desert Sports toll-free at (888) 989-6900 or www.desertsportstx.com/mountain-bike-event
El Paso Museum of Archaeology:
Ancient Mexico Exhibit on view through January 15, Free Admission:
Artifacts including five featured Maya ceramic vessels graciously loaned by the University Museum of New Mexico State University, Las Cruces are showcased. Other artifacts representing the Maya, Aztec, and lesser known great civilizations from Mexico will be on display along with prints of ancient Maya murals and ruins and a map of ancient Maya territory.
Watercolor Paintings of Rock Art at Hueco Tanks
Exhibit on view through February 12, Free Admission
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is currently exhibiting Forrest Kirkland’s images of rock art at Hueco Tanks in the auditorium gallery. Kirkland was the first artist to systematically document prehistoric rock art in Texas, thus his work is well known and admired by those interested in Texas archaeology.
Saturday, January 7, 2:00 pm, Free Admission
Tour of the Diorama Gallery
Open to all ages, groups or individuals, Free Admission
During this tour our Curator of Education, Marilyn Guida, takes visitors on a journey through 14,000 years of El Paso’s Indian heritage in our diorama gallery exhibits. Those attending will learn about Paleoindians who lived here 14,000 years ago continuing through time to the Mescalero Apache people of today. Reservations are not necessary but contact the museum if you plan to attend, 915-755-4332; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, January 14, 2:00 pm, Free Admission
Screening of the Popol Vuh, The Creation Myth of the Maya:
Introduction and Audience Discussion following the film by Jena Camp. The Popol Vuh is the foundational cultural belief of the ancient Maya people, similar to the Bible for several cultures. Patricia Amlin’s video version of the Popol Vuh is told by animating characters and events using images from ancient original Maya carved stone and stucco reliefs, engraved shells and bones, and painted books and vases. Through the video we see the story as the ancient Maya would have known it.
Sunday, January 15, 2:00 pm, Free Admission
Screening of Finds from Pendejo Cave by Scotty Mac Neish, PhD, Introduction and Comments by Marilyn Guida, Curator of Education:
The Capstone Productions film Paleo-American Finds from Pendejo Cave by Scotty MacNeish, Ph.D. is a based on a 1999 lecture by Richard “Scotty” MacNeish to the annual meeting of the El Paso Archaeological Society. This program is presented by the El Paso Archaeological Society in partnership with the El Paso Museum of Archaeology.
Saturday, January 28, 1:00 pm, Free Admission
Removing Modern Graffiti from Ancient Rock Art at Hueco Tanks:
Speaker Tim Roberts, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Archaeologist, discusses efforts since 2009 to use lasers to remove graffiti from several pictograph (ancient paintings on rock) sites at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site, outside El Paso.
Saturday, January 28, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Museum Member Appreciation Party
Become a new or renewing member to attend the Member Appreciation Party. Memberships start at $15; levels and benefits vary. Contact the museum at 915-755-4332 or email@example.com.
2012 POPPIES FEST, Saturday March 31, 2012:
The Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, in collaboration with several local organizations, is excited to announce the date of the sixth annual poppies celebration next spring. The 2012 Franklin Mountains Poppies Fest on Castner Range will take place on Saturday, March 31 at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at 4301 Transmountain Road. Join us for a full program of nature talks, wildlife displays, educational exhibits, demonstrations, music and refreshments. Everyone is welcome to come out and enjoy the beauty of the mountains and the poppies during this free educational family fun event.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or volunteering for this event please contact Naima Montacer (email: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: (806) 683-2242).
COOL WEBSITES: http://www.nmwild.org/ http://www.ourtexaswild.org/index/
FMWC In Cyberspace
This is the blog version of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition newsletter. It is also available by e-mail and by US Post . If you would like to receive another version, please contact: judy Ackerman at email@example.com.
LONE STAR LEGACY
You can make a lasting contribution to the future of Franklin Mountains State Park with your tax-deductible donation to the Lone Star Legacy Endowment Fund. Checks, payable to “Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation”, can be sent to: Lone Star Legacy Endowment Fund, c/o Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, P.O. Box 191207, Dallas, TX, 75219. Mark your donation to the endowment fund for Franklin Mountains State Park.
President: Scott Cutler
Vice President: Jane Fowler
Secretary: Judy Ackerman
Treasurer: Pat White
At Large Members:
Raul Amaya and Nick Havlik
TIME TO JOIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP!
Please print it, fill in the form and mail it, along with your 2012 dues to Pat White, Treasurer, FMWC, 10525 Texwood, El Paso, TX 79925. Thank you for your continued support!
Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition
Individual membership in the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition is open to all who share our goal of preserving the scenic beauty and wilderness character of the Franklin Mountains. Dues are payable annually in January. Join Us!
Contributing, $25 - $100
Sustaining, $100 and up
I also want to contribute to the Lone Star Legacy Endowment Fund for Franklin Mountains State Park. I have included a supplemental contribution of $_____ for the Park’s endowment fund.
City _______________ State____ Zip ______
Phone (Day) ___________________________
Your contribution is tax deductible
Please make checks payable to “Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition” and send to:
Pat White, Treasurer, FMWC
El Paso, TX 79925