Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Sandhill Cranes and the Great Valley That Once Was, and in Places, Still Is
Living in the Central Valley of California (which I agree should always be called the Great Valley) is an exercise in frustration and futility. The natural environment, the greatest savanna environment in the United States, was almost completely co-opted by agricultural development, and then by urban development. It's not a great place for people to live...most of the jobs are poorly-paid manual labor, the soil, air and water are infused with pesticides, herbicides, and particulate air pollution, and health problems, especially asthma and related respiratory illnesses are rampant. Education is a low priority to those in power. We are consistently the first to suffer in economic downturns, and the last region to recover from them.
This is part of the valley as it once was, and still is. It belongs to all of us, and it is right in our own backyard. And to our coastal and urban center friends, don't forget that there are some incredible sights to see on the valley floor when you are on your way to Yosemite or to one of the Sierra ski resorts. For our international visitors, there are more places to see than the travel brochures hint at. If you are interested in the natural world want to see some of the real California, not just the tourist meccas, then check out these places. The refuges are worthy of a look.