The California state parks system is planning to turn 3,400 acres of ecologically sensitive and historically significant wilderness into a motorcycle park. So much for the parks systems working to protect and preserve the environment and wildlife!
The site is the Tesla wilderness southeast of Livermore and is adjacent to the 1,300-acre Carnegie State Vehicular Recreational Area
, one of eight designated recreational areas where people can ride motorcycles, ATVs and other vehicles.
The Tesla site -- steep and rugged territory in the southeast hills between Livermore and Tracy -- is the habitat for several endangered species, as well as mountain lions, snakes, hawks and tule elk. The area also contains forests of native oaks and seasonal creeks. John Icanberry, a retired biologist for the U.S. Field and Wildlife Service who lives in the area, says off-road vehicles break up landscapes and destroy habitats. The damage could take centuries to undo as the vehicles "crush underground animal burrows, flatten vegetation and disrupt wildlife" and, because they destroy soil, cause erosion and reduce the quality of the air and water.