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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Do the La Brea Tar Pits really need any re-imagining?

La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits in 2012.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In 1959, when the 3 p.m. bell rang at John Burroughs Junior High, my girlfriends and I would grab our books and three-ring binders and walk home. Every school day we would walk down Wilshire Boulevard and pass the La Brea Tar Pits, some days walking through the park. (“Three design teams propose La Brea Tar Pits revamp. The mammoth’s future? Uncertain,” Aug. 26)

The park had a natural stream that trickled in the winter and spring, grass, park benches, stone statues of prehistoric animals and several open pits of tar, most with fences. My mom always knew when I walked home through the park because I would track tar into the house.

The La Brea Tar Pits are a unique natural feature of our city. It would be a shame to bury that uniqueness with another redesign. Remember, this is a natural site, not a theme park -- hopefully, the city will not forget this.

Genie Saffren, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I am a volunteer docent of 16 years at the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum. Recently I attended a county function where three design firms offered competing conceptualizations for “re-imagining” the site.

The Page Museum is a world-renowned research-based paleontology institution devoted to teaching the public what Los Angeles was like before human beings came along. The work is based on an unparalleled collection of fossils from the La Brea Tar Pits.

For all of the good ideas I heard at the event, there were far too many elements that suggested planners wanted to turn the tar pits into a kind of theme park. People don’t come from all over the world just to visit another theme park.

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Stephen Simon, Claremont


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