Our petition drive is going as well as we could have hoped, but we still need more signatures from local stakeholders. Thank you, everyone who has signed, everyone who has carried our Call to Action into their NextDoor.com neighborhood sites or their FaceBook page, everyone who has called or written to Deborah Lamb at the Army Corps of Engineers (Deborah.L.Lamb@usace.army.mil — the Army Corps is very interested in the community’s reaction). We’ve been getting some excellent, very persuasive comments in the “Why I Signed This Petition” field, as well.
Bravo, everyone! This is a David v. Goliath battle — which means the little guy could still win! Let’s press on!
Woodley Park is a deceptively complex, mostly self-contained ecosystem. Erecting a security barrier around its Wildlife Reserve during a huge event with loud music, bright lights and pyrotechnic displays does next to nothing to protect that ecosystem. From the pocket gophers that feed raptors, herons and owls to the insects and plants that feed resident and migrant bird populations, the entire park weaves a web of support that is robust yet fragile.
Birds and other wildlife in the park have taken decades to acclimatize to freeway noise and airplane overflights — but five music stages blaring from 10AM to 11PM, 65,000 people tramping around daily, plus all the trucks, structures, cables, generators, porta-potties and untold other hardware needed for this project, will tear the fabric of that web in ways that will in some cases be felt for years, or forever.
Everyone knows about Coachella, the big, yearly, dusty, noisy, happy, drugged-up blast for young music-lovers. It is set on a relatively small patch of remote Imperial Valley desert, and there’s a reason for that! Here is a link to a site that lists every music festival scheduled in the U.S. for 2016. Click on as many as you have time for, and follow to the individual website. You’ll find that these festivals are located either in established fairgrounds, or out in the boondocks. There’s a reason for that!
Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department hopes to make money from the AngelFest event, to be spent for maintenance and improvements in the Sepulveda Basin. But is beating up an oasis of nature in a crowded city the correct way to care for it? Where a preserve has been set aside for wildlife? SFVAS is not against music festivals, only against putting one in Woodley Park.
For those wanting to know more about the avian species who call the Reserve home or who desperately need it as a rest and recuperation spot on their migratory travels, here is a list compiled by our own Kris Ohlenkamp. It makes good reading for birders and non-birders alike.
Please sign the petition if you are a Los Angeles resident, and especially a resident of the San Fernando Valley. If you have time, write an email to Deborah Lamb (email above) — even if you’ve signed the petition, the fact that you took the extra time to write an email will make a much-needed impression. If you don’t know Woodley Park, go take a walk there. Look for the undeniably adorable baby American Coots (pictured)
You’ll be impressed with the bird life, serenity and usefulness of the place — as what it is, not as a public fairgrounds, which is what it will become if AngelFest becomes a yearly event.
*Landing page and here, Live 8 photo: Andrew West