News around the High Desert can arrive in little gentle gusts of wind or full-blown twisters. In this case, the news about Scenic 247 is subtle and growing in a ground swell of political emotion.
Scenic routes and corridors can be a very good thing for remote locations like Barstow, Lucerne Valley, Johnson Valley, Flamingo Heights, Landers, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Twentynine Palms. They bring attention to natural attributes that desert communities can extol. Getting the politicians to jump on board is exciting.
So when the news of the Rep to James Ramos, Bev Lowry, coming forward and joining Betty Munson’s campaign to place Hwy Route 247 in contention for a scenic designation, well, everyone in all these dusty, little towns rejoice.
Read the news first and I’ll fill in some gaps at the end…
‘Scenic 247’ picks up Barstow mayor’s endorsement
(July 12, 2016 Reprinted with permission from Cactus Thorns web news site.)
By Peter Day, Staff Writer of the Lucerne Valley LEADER newspaper.
State Route 247 is one step closer to obtaining State Scenic Highway designation. The move is inching forward after Scenic 247 Committee Chairman Betty Munson received a personal letter from Barstow Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre. The mayor cced (copied) the letter to Beverly Lowry, Third District Supervisor James Ramos’ Barstow-based field representative.
“A scenic highway designation helps attract tourism, heightens awareness of natural, historical and recreational qualities and promotes the beauty and points of interest on the route,” Hackbarth-McIntyre wrote in her letter dated July 5.
The mayor took the opportunity to tout Barstow’s attributes. “As you are aware, the Barstow area has many natural wonders that attract many tourists throughout the year,” she wrote. “I look forward to the expected increased tourism in the future for our community from the scenic highway designation.”
Although not an official endorsement from the City of Barstow, Hackbarth-McIntyre’s letter is positive and an important step, Munson said.
Every Sponsor Counts
“The mayor and Bev Lowry deserve thanks,” Munson said Friday. “Every sponsor counts, and we have several Barstow people who are very tourism-conscious and understand the value of the State Scenic Highway designation.”
An appointed member of the Lucerne Valley-Johnson Valley Municipal Advisory Council, Munson has spearheaded the Scenic 247 project. She has given several presentations at meetings such as the Lucerne Valley-Johnson Valley Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) and promotes its merits to all interested.
“Studies prove that people come to the desert from cities, other states, and countries around the world, not for industrialization, but for wide open spaces,” according to “The Case For Scenic 247,” which was prepared by Munson and Scenic 247 committee. “They seek these open spaces for relaxation, adventure, and an opportunity to reconnect with nature. Encouraging visitors will benefit the residents, exporting expensively-generated power will not.”
State Route 247 starts in Yucca Valley and travels 78 miles through a portion of Lucerne Valley and other desert areas to Barstow. According to Munson, Highway 247 is labeled by Caltrans as “eligible” for Scenic Highway status.
[end of article]
Now let me explain a bit more. The comment about “exporting expensively-generated power will not” is in reference to the barrage of utility companies [42 at last count] pouncing on the open desert lands to plant wind farms and solar collector grids from here to Yucca Valley. If they had their way nothing would be safe: no vistas, no wildlife, no trails to explore, in fact, more eye-sores than we can imagine. Consider the Palm Springs wind turbines that took over the hillsides and sand dunes off Interstate 10.
Lining up like Linebackers
The non-beneficial blight of utility power corridors bringing solar and wind generated power snaking back through the High Desert is such a crippling thought that the Scenic 247 campaign was about the most clever way to get the power mongers off our pristine desert’s back.
Is it working? We won’t know for awhile. In the meantime, small communities are banding together to fend back the “green energy movement” not because they’re eco projects but because they are lining up like linebackers to roll over us and take ground.
Our stretch of desert is the strongest and most defensible asset that keeps visitors returning and enjoying the quiet and severe rawness that we can offer. A Scenic Byway designation of Hwy 247 is exactly what we need.
Wish to keep in touch with the southern part of the Mojave Desert and all the way to 29Palms? Then check out Cactus Thorns that brought this highlight to us from their website: