Praise for VanderKolk

Dec. 15 was a banner day for conservationists throughout California when the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved the largest parkland acquisition of our time, and the loudest kudos should go to Supervisor Maria VanderKolk.

It is largely because of VanderKolk's courage and tenacity that this victory for the environment was attained. Wildlife will maintain their clear shot across the mountains between the Simi Hills and the Pacific Ocean and the people will enjoy over 10,000 acres of parkland.

Some environmentalists cannot or will not see the tens of thousands of oak trees and 17 square miles of open space that will be preserved. They will only see the 1,385 oak trees and 1,936 acres that, unfortunately, will be sacrificed. I shudder to think of how many oak trees and how much vital open space would be lost in the coming years if denial and naivete had blurred the ultimate objective of an uninterrupted system of parks and wildlife corridors throughout the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

As long as there are competing economic interests in the view of our elected representatives and as long as wealthy developers do not share our vision, serious strategy will be required to preserve critical parkland. The expression "right is might" is correct only if you have leaders who will face the facts, keep the larger goal in sight and do the mighty thing. Ave Maria.

VIVEKA RUCKER

Thousand Oaks

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