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Opinion

Ann Cantrell c. 2008Welcome To Your Public Park

by Ann Cantrell
Contributing Editor/Parks, Recreation & Open Space


Photos in this opinion piece were taken by its author on Oct. 26

Editor's note: Included below is a response invited by LBReport.com from J.C. Squires, Manager, Business Operations Bureau, City of LB Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Marine.

(Oct. 27, 2010) -- El Dorado Regional Park was bought and paid for by Long Beach taxpayers. It was developed using county and federal tax money. An entrance fee is required to enter El Dorado East, so it would be expected that the public should be able to use any part of this park at all times. Instead, large portions of the park are often closed for Special Events, some of which require additional fees to attend. Our open space and public park is being rented to the highest bidder for commercial gain.

On Tuesday, October 26, I went to El Dorado East, entering with my annual pass. I was greeted by a sign that Snake Road was closed for a filming event, which is being done from 4 a.m. to midnight.


Illustrative photo taken in Area III; filming is taking place in Area II with similar sign.

Further down the road the parking lot for the filming crew was packed with cars. At least they were not parked on the grass, as appeared to be happening at Oktoberfest the previous weekend.

When I arrived in Area III and tried to drive around the lake, I found another road closed sign -- even though there was no Oktoberfest going on. There were a large number of trailers parked on the east parking lot.

Last weekend, cars coming to the City Hall-permitted Oktoberfest were apparently sent across a long stretch of grass south of Glider Hill. A new "road" has been carved in the grass, with deep ruts and mud puddles in the middle.

These photo were taken on Oct. 26 with an additional four days to go for this City Hall-authorized "celebration." I don't understand why parking cannot take place along the roads and in the parking lots.

I am especially concerned about Oktoberfest and filming taking place at night, as studies show that birds are extremely disturbed by lights. Both of these events are in areas of the park containing streams and lakes used by many birds for foraging and hiding. Birds canít just move somewhere else--they are territorially dependent and this is their home.

Many of the parkís birds are just completing fall migration, some flying from as far north as Alaska. Crowds and noise disturb the birdsí feeding and resting and the added stress can mean death.

On Oct. 26, one of the few birds I saw was a Turkey Vulture circling over the dead grass and mud-rutted road. As vultures feed only on carrion, I fear for the birds and other wildlife in the park.

This evening (Oct. 27), Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is scheduled to hold a Lakes, Ponds and Wetlands Task Force meeting -- Wednesday Oct. 27, 7 p.m. -- at the Parks and Recreation Building at 2800 Studebaker.

Please come and voice your opinions.

LBReport.com invited and received the response below from J.C. Squires, Manager Business Operations Bureau, City of LB Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Marine

We do use properties throughout the city to raise revenue which helps fund low cost and free recreation for the community.

In all of our permits, event operators are required to repair any damage. That includes fixing broken sprinkler heads, turf and anything broken in any special activity.

The Oktoberfest is featured as a family event, thus the carnival rides and childrens' games. We've had positive feedback in emails from families who've attended the event.

It's another way to create recreational opportunities for our community.

Our responsibility is to take care of the public's assets -- all of the assets they own -- and to provide opportunities for all of our residents to enjoy.

And LBReport.com invites our readers' comments below.



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