Sunday, January 14, 2007

Back road thoughts

4X4 driving is a favorite pastime here in the desert. Yesterday it snowed, and today it is extremely cold: you could see my breath in the kitchen this morning and tonight the water pipes are frozen solid. In other words the day was clear and chilly ideal for some back road driving. Jay leads the convoy, there are six cars, all but one have a CB and channel 31 is used to stay out of the way of the truckers who use channel 30 here. They have kindly invited me for the day. Table Top Mountain is the center of the ride in a landscape that is still pristine. In the middle of a Joshua tree forest, there is not much to graze for the cattle and horses we see here and there near a water tank with windmills. The red barrel cactus, cholla, teddy bear cactus, beaver tail, shrub and bush I don’t recognize in their winter gray, creosote, a few pinion trees and everywhere you see the arms of the Joshua tree reaching for heaven fill this day. The vistas are grand Music Mountain, a part of the Grand Canyon and then gentle sheltered slopes basking in the chilly winter sun.
We come upon a kind of dirt road highway. It is for a new subdivision and development in the White Hills. Since Nevada is running out of space, Las Vegas and its surroundings is the fasted growing city in the USA, developers have decided that it would be a nice commute and are planning 100.000 people here, 40 to 50.000 homes. Nice roads, nice homes, low density sections with a house on ten acre lots, and high density sections… water features are planned and the developers guarantee a 100 year water supply. As you can imagine that is not as simple as it seems. Arizona is up in arms, they feel that The White Hills Development, is just a bedroom community for Las Vegas, and would only benefit Nevada and not Arizona. Arizona, (I thought the name was clear, it has arid in it!) has up to now successfully fought California and Nevada when they wanted to get some water. To date no water is allowed to go out of state and they consider that allowing these 100.000 newcomers to use the local aquifer is the same as exporting water to Nevada. The aquifer can indeed provide for one hundred years for 100.000 people, but there are already people using and depending upon this water…
Having seen the grand panorama’s and the gentle slopes, having felt the bouncing of the road, the occasional screech and ass dragging of the car in the hands of a most competent driver, I wonder about the meaning of progress. Does progress and economic growth, really have to go hand in hand? I don’t think so. Isn't it all about quality of life, the protection of wildlife and nature, and a better, simpler life for all. So one should not plan a 45 mile daily commute to Las Vegas for these 100.000 inhabitants. At the other end of the road the nearest city is about 70 mile away. This is an unsound plan. Think of all the CO2, the weather is freakish enough now as it is and everyone knows what it means to be high and dry in Arizona in summer: If you brush your teeth, you take some water in a glass and don't waste a drop by letting the faucet run...


  1. Progress in inevitable! It is always amusing to find that those who are against progress are the most aggressive in wanting their property protected against progress, Trespassers, or sold for the highest prices the market will bare!
    We all love nature! We all appreciate beauty! We all want to preserve it! Living in the desert we appreciate and value our water resources!

    When you mentioned "We come upon a kind of dirt road highway. It is for a new subdivision and development in the White Hills" Were you on someones private property? There is thousands of acres that belong to the BLM & National Forest and because you have all the time in the world to on your hands it seems to be okay to Trespass! Hymm!
    Meadview, Lake Mead City, White Hills and all the surrounding areas are on all growing in leaps and bounds because of this wonderful Master Planned Development that Leonard Maridan has underway. I applaud you Mr. Mardian. Keep up the good work. Perhaps soon we will be able to find a decent place to eat between Kingman and Las Vegas! Pehaps soon there will be a decent place to stay for our visitors to the new Skywalk at Grand Canyon West! And perhaps we will all soon stand up and Applaud progress & beauty as they harmonize in the desert!

    Remember, All things are possible!

  2. A lot of assumptions, as having a lot of time on my hands... And no, there was no trespassing involved. Progress that serves humanity in the real long term is good, therefore we must be careful with the water. Maybe we'll meet in a good restaurant in the White Hills one day.I wasn't aware of being aggressive, just describing what I saw and what seem to be unsolved issues.