Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ugly tire pile

Ken and I went on a tour of the Marine Base with the lovely young people from High Desert Test Sites a week ago. I mentioned to Mike King, our tour guide, about the existence of a tire circle out between the base and the container village. He was certain I was wrong so I sent him the coordinates - 34°21'09.9"N 116°16'38.0"W.

I got this note back from him,
I have forwarded your information to our NREA section and they will be getting with our Operations and Training elements to see how fast we can get out there.
So, in the words of Marge Simpson, "I guess one person really can make a difference, but most of the time, they probably shouldn't." Yes, I'm having second thoughts. This 400' tire circle is awful and it is ugly but there may be life within the tires now. These tires may be sheltering small creatures and the act of removing them may be more scarring to the desert them letting them sit. It IS a powerful comment on the presence of the military in the desert, and in contradiction to the messages that we heard on the tour, messages of conservation and recycling.

We were told there are two reasons military training exercises would stop - one, if someone were sick or injured, and two, if there was a tortoise present. In that case a trained person is called to carefully move the tortoise following very specific tortoise-friendly guidelines. This is a nice thought but I find it incredible.

One of the positive things about the military presence is that they do preserve most of the desert that they are on, and there is true zero (0) tolerance for off-roaders.

We'll have to wait until Google Maps updates the satellite image of the area to see if the tire circle is actually removed, but I don't think there is much incentive for Google to do so. I believe you still have still time to go paint a big black peace sign or smiley face on your marshmallow roof.