Death Valley’s “Early Silurian” landscape attracts plenty of tourists
The Big Sur Property Owners Association announced today that they are asking the Forest Service and other agencies to manage public lands in the Big Sur area so as to return those properties to the natural conditions prevalent during the Early Silurian period, more than 425 million years ago.
“This was the era just before the rise and spread of terrestrial plants, so we think it will be the most fire safe and sensible,” says an Association spokesman. “We take our responsibility as stewards of this land seriously, so returning it to a natural condition is important to us. At first we thought we’d only turn back the clock a few hundred years by asking public land managers to burn their properties every 10 to 15 years, but then we found out that chaparral regenerates so quickly that controlled burns do almost nothing to improve fire safety. Heck, we even learned that repeated burning only encourages faster growing invasive plants that burn as well or better than the brush we have today. Once we figured that out, we knew we had to come up with something more creative. That’s when we developed this plan.”
“We think our proposal is very reasonable,” the spokesman continues. “Only an environmental extremist would expect someone who built or bought a house in a chaparral environment to accept some level of risk. It’s our right to have the taxpayers protect us from the consequences of our decisions. What’s more important anyway; keeping a few endangered plants and animals alive or preserving the sanctity of property rights?”
While some malcontents from the local scientific community have protested that Early Silurian landscaping cannot be considered “natural” for the Santa Lucia, since that mountain range is itself only about 5 million years old, the Forest Service and local politicians have expressed support for the idea.
“Death Valley gets plenty of tourists,” points out Senator Malvavisco. “Big Sur doesn’t need vegetation to be a world class destination. People come to Big Sur to see the stately homes and sea otters. They don’t come to see a bunch of brush and trees.”
“We don’t see a problem with it,” says Regional Forester, Dandy Spoor. “Since we’ve decided to keep the National Forest closed indefinitely, it really doesn’t make any difference. From our point of view, it’s simple. If the pubic doesn’t enter the Forest, they can’t get hurt there. And returning the landscape to Early Silurian conditions fits right in. After all, mammals only evolved a couple hundred million years ago. People would be out of place there once this project is complete. Long as we get plenty of funding and don’t have to show anyone our plans, we’ll be happy to do it.”
The new proposal may, in fact, dovetail quite nicely with a Forest Service proposal to partner with Google to provide “virtual reality” Ventana Wilderness excursions.
“It’ll be just like the real thing, only better,” promises a Google spokeswoman. “No flies, no ticks and the Sykes hot springs will actually be hot. No one will want to go back to the old way once they’ve experienced the Ventana Wilderness our way.”
These plans have even found support among some of the most senior and experienced backcountry travelers.
“I’ve been using the VWA Forum to warn people about the extreme danger they face in the Ventana Wilderness, but young people these days have no respect for age and experience,” says Ventana senior statesman, Stodgly Stubbins, standing in front of his rustic home. “They just go right on hiking out there without even carrying locator beacons, satellite phones, expedition grade tents, or tinfoil hats. And every time they get away with it, it only makes them more cocky. If the public’s not willing to take the precautions I tell them to, then the Forest Service needs to shut them out for their own good. Now you punks get off my lawn.”