October 13, 2020
Regarding: Church of the Woods proposed project Dear San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and Planning Officials: When people speak of BAD FOREST Management and MISMANAGEMENT in our local, state and National Forests, the blame starts with county approval of inappropriate and bad projects. President Trump and others have blamed the recent California forest fires on mismanagement and part of the finger pointing and blame starts with approval of bad and impropriate projects that destroy the natural forest for built projects such as the proposal from CHURCH of the WOODS. This proposed project is a bad project and approval is gross mismanagement and reckless. The Church of the Woods proposed project should be rejected.
There is a difference between holding a religious service in the unbuilt natural forest canopy, which some consider a sanctuary built by G-d, versus destroying the forest woodlands which is blaspheme and does irreversible damage to the forest. There are many built sites that could be purchased, leased or rebuilt for a structural church compound and parking lot if the Church of the Woods desires a built structure for services. Why didn’t the Church of the Woods purchase the white elephant Arrowhead Springs Resort which was sold for a fraction of what it would take to build this proposed white elephant destructive project?
Private land ownership does not mean that the land can be destroyed nor does it give religious group or any other entity the right to destroy the valuable forest for selfish desires. Private land ownership of forest lands does not allow for the old growth trees to be destroyed nor everything on the land destroyed while impacting the surrounding lands and destroying an important part of San Bernardino County.
There are rules, laws and considerations for land use which is why this project should not be allowed. You the Board of Supervisors are the gateway to maintaining San Bernardino County for the future generations while preventing more irreversible damage to our county.
The air quality in San Bernardino County has grown worse since I moved here twenty-six years ago. My children and husband have moderate to severe asthma and now I am plagued with breathing problems related to the pollution. Old growth forest help make the air better processing pollutants and providing oxygen. The trees help protect run off, maintain watersheds, prevent landslides and floods that surrounding areas. The forest were reserved for preservation and conservation not destruction.
“Climate change poses a major risk to the stability…ability to sustain the American economy.”–Commodity Futures Trading Commission Task Force.
No matter; personal or political beliefs, we must face climate change reality with negative economic impacts, physical, biological impacts, fires, water shortage, etc. The recent Apple and El Dorado Fires have kept our county and forests burning with air polluted to unhealthy levels since July. I have watched our mountain landscape burn from our living room window all summer. The air has limited outdoor activity in our mountain and foothill communities which is has tripled the COVID burden and burn-out and decreased sales tax revenue.
Allowing acres of old growth forest to be destroyed and replaced with built structures and asphalt will create a heat sink in the middle of our California mountain and National forest with temperatures rising 30 to 45 degrees F(Fahrenheit) as documented by scientific juried research. This heat sink will have a tremendous impact to our already damaged forest far beyond the increase in surface and canopy temperatures. This heat sink will have obvious and notable effects such as an Increase in surrounding forest death, severe fires, higher heat in our mountain communities. How much water does the proposed project take and use?
San Bernardino County has replaced orchards, dairies, groves, ranch lands with hideous money draining structures while paving over prime agriculture lands disrupting and destroying a agricultural economy for pollution and empty warehouses. Mountain tourism is one sustaining business sector that San Bernardino County should prize not destroy.
San Bernardino County economic health and financial future depends on your decisions today. Please do not allow the Church of the Woods proposed project. Our mountain landscape, and forest are tourism and economic assets. In the surrounding area, there are already many built sites, structures that can be repurposed and rebuilt for a built physical church building. Entities can be found to purchase/conserve the old growth forest land if necessary.
Allowing the Church in the Woods to destroy old growth woods and forest lands for built structures and asphalt is a bad project for San Bernardino County and mismanagement of our forest and county. The cost is far beyond the loss of irreplaceable trees and habitat. The cost is an economic disaster that will plague San Bernardino County for years to come. The increase in temperature for that and neighboring areas would yield to dreadful impacts to tourism. No one comes to the mountains and forest to see more traffic and buildings. People come to the San Bernardino County mountains and forests to see nature, forest, snow, while they play, spend money and escape the city, traffic and pollution that plague the valleys below.
Destroying the forest destroys the tourism economy and tax dollars for San Bernardino County. Please do that responsible thing, reject the Church of the Woods proposed project for the present and future of San Bernardino County.