Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Off Road Vehicles vs. The Beach


I don't go to the beach to see a row of trucks parked. I'm trying to get away from the rat race and get into nature. There is nothing natural about parking lots. In North Carolina's Outer Banks the truckers are crying over protecting nesting sea turtles, and plovers. They act like bullies if you challenge them to their right to drive on the beach but the truth is driving on the beach is lazy!

Families with a ton of kids use those big wheel wheel-barrels to haul their gear down to the beach - I've seen umbrellas, tables, tents coolers, fishing gear, toys, buckets and shovels as well as radios, blankets, food and beer, changing bags, everything imaginable all walked down to the waters edge. If there is a choice fishing spot or break - it should be designated - with ample parking and raised designated walk ways.

If the choice spot is all the way out by the inlet and you want to go - get/rent/borrow/share a boat - off roading all the way out there will just destroy the spit of sand anyway.

There's nothing like a fresh coat of snow right - piled high by the side of the road and two days later black as coal from all the soot from our car exhaust. The snow helps us see what casual driving actually does. The beach gets impacted just the same. The pollution is real even if we can't see it as it spews out our exhaust pipes. Everyone goes to the Caribbean for the pristine waters and beautiful beaches but North Carolina is starting to look like north jersey.

I've lived in a coastal community all my life up and down the coast. Trucks on the beach lower property value. I know they hate environmentalist because they inconvenience recreation and caring about anything other than yourself is weak, but every time we degrade the environment we lower property value, we erode the draw for the economy and we lower the abundance of marine life that has a direct financial impact on the economy of the region.

Everyone talks about their rights but when your rights are counter-productive to the health and well being of the entire community then you are being short sighted. A few mom and pops went out of business because beach access was closed, but I bet there's a big new medical center and hospital with jobs for the increased population that is drawn to the area because of its natural beauty. And that there are increased services for the locals, retires, bird watchers and vacationers because of that very same draw.

In the old days when it was just a few locals bahaing out to the point - the impact was minimal on the natural population that sustains our seashore economies. But think economies of scale. I've been out to the beaches in North Carolina and it looks like the parking lot of the Meadowlands on game day.

It's a shame some people don't get more satisfaction out of the natural sounds of the waves crashing, the pelicans flying, the dolphins jumping, the terns calling or the Osprey hunting than blaring their radios. Maybe if we all understood how much we rely on the natural world to supply the raw materials that power our economies we would all be a little more respectful. The natural worlds intricacies are not completely understood by science and probably never will but we need to keep trying to understand, and to err on the side of caution.

How nature works in concert with each and every organism, tide, land, water, and air to produce the beautiful grouper that lands on our dinner plates is not something I take for granted. Getting all macho about the balance between the economy and ecology is counter-productive. Living in balance is the key. Having fun doesn't mean destroying everything around us. Overfishing, bahaing the dunes, disrespecting the earth and its intricate design that produces absolutely EVERYTHING that sustains our very existence, health, economy and happiness that's greed, reckless and decidedly unaware of where we are, and how we got here.

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