Portions of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument were already crossed by a border fence in 2017 … but now they’re destroyed
(October 5, 2019) — Since 1976, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has also been the Organ Pipe Cactus Biosphere Reserve, a world heritage site sanctioned by UNESCO as the most pristine examples of intact Sonoran Desert ecosystem. The otherworldly beauty of the monument brings visitors who come to gawk at the towering forms and hike the gravel-strewn trails. It also attracts scientists from around the globe who study the inhabitants of the desert and their adaptation to this incredible environment.
And now it’s home to one of the greatest acts of ecological vandalism in a century—carried out in an effort to hurry construction of Donald Trump’s border fence.
Despite Trump’s many tweets, announcements, and rally speeches, wntil the last few weeks, it was easy to characterize the real length of his wall: Zero. Not a yard of new fence had been built in a place that didn’t already have some existing barrier when Trump stepped into office. But Trump has made it a priority to add some miles to the total before he has to go back in front of his “Build the Wall!” rally crowds for the 2020 election.
The easiest way to do that has been by avoiding potential lawsuits from private landowners that could tie up progress for months. Instead, Trump has been counting on his hand-picked cronies at the EPA and Interior Department to ignore every law and regulation concerning construction, environmental impact studies, and protection of archaeological artifacts.
Even after miles of border fence were erected in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument between 2012 and 2017, the striking beauty of this Sonoran Desert jewel was preserved. There is no question that original fence was destructive. Following the border as closely as possible meant that not only were saguaro and other cactus that had grown over a space of centuries removed to provide highly questionable “security,” but the ranges of rare and endangered desert animals were permanently altered.
Disturbing as it was at the time, that initial fence was placed with some care, often without disturbing ancient, towering examples cactus within just a few feet of the fence. Images from 2017 show a relatively low fence that, while it certainly doesn’t vanish into the landscape, is also not a jarring disruption of the otherwise gorgeous scenery.
Now those ranges, and cactus older than the nation, are simply being bulldozed aside as Trump carves a scar across the desert.
A section of the border fence as it existed in 2017.
That original fence was in no sense attractive, and the damage it caused to the site was real. But compared to what Trump is doing in an effort to claim miles for his “wall,” it’s a paper cut.
In video shot by Kevin Dahl, senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, bulldozers can be seen cutting through the Saguaro and heaping them like rubbish.
These cactus can obtain a weight of tons, and an age of centuries. Even the more modest-sized examples being bulldozed in these images likely have an age of over 100 years, as growth comes slowly in the water-starved desert.
In September, the defense department claimed that saguaro in the path of the barrier construction would be “relocated” to other sections of the monument. But Dahl’s video reveals that this is a flat-out lie. The rare and iconic cactus are instead shown being pushed along by bulldozer and piled into heaps with other ripped-up plants.
These areas of desert will not be repaired in the lifetime of anyone now looking at their events. Or their children’s lifetime. Or their children’s. Even if Trump’s pointless, useless, ugly barrier were ripped down tomorrow, it wouldn’t begin to repair the damage that’s underway — damage that is expected to stretch 78 miles across the ecological fragile park.
(October 9. 2019) —It’s like entire new galaxies full of stupid are being discovered every day.
So Trump has touted his wall as being “virtually impenetrable.” Which to me sounds like you’d need a special X-Men superpower to get through it.
Ah, but no. It’s literally child’s play.
After Trump bragged that his wall was “virtually impenetrable,” Rick Weber, co-founder of the Muir Valley rock climbing park in Rogers, Kentucky, organized an event for climbers interested in scaling a replica of the wall. But, of course, at least two people have already ascended Mount Trumpnuts.
Weber took the President’s claim as a challenge. He says he constructed his own replica of the wall, relying on the wall’s official dimensions as well as recent images of the structure. This weekend, Weber is planning to invite climbers attending the “Rocktoberfest” rock climbing festival at the nearby Red River Gorge canyon system in Kentucky to climb the model. Guests will be challenged to compete to climb up and over the wall in the fastest time.
Several people have already managed to climb up the wall replica, including 8-year-old Lucy Hancock. Hancock didn’t use any ropes or other tools to climb the wall, but wore a belay, a safety device designed to catch a falling climber. An adult climber, Erik Kloeker, was up and over the wall in about 40 seconds.
And there you have it. The very expensive wall that shut down the government, debased minorities, and divided the nation is totally useless.
Ha. Like you didn’t know that already.Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educ