Monday, February 19, 2007

Peak Peak

I was driving down to Tucson last week and saw a billboard on the side of the I-10 about Save the Peak! Picacho Peak has been a desert landmark for thousands of frontiersmen, cowboys and battalions in the Wild West. In 1775 Don Juan Bautista de Anza brought 200 pobladores through Arizona right past Picacho Peak, fighting with Yaqui all the way. de Anza was the first non-native settler in California, spreading his colony up through San Luis and the upper Santa Cruz River Valley. Picacho Peak was also the site of the only Civil War battle fought in Arizona.

Picacho Peak, this magnificent 2,000 foot tall volcanic plug, is slated to be the site of Union Pacific's new railway switchyard. This means a dramatic increase in diesel exhaust and other pollutants at the base of the peak, likely affecting the sensitive desert wildlife habitat vegetation. A switchyard is going to ruin the natural beauty of this insanely gorgeous geological marvel! So frequently out here treasured and unique landscape is compromised for industrial profit. There are thousands of miles of open railway passing through the Arizona desert, even passing along the I-10 in Tucson. Isn't there a smarter solution here?

save the

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you realize that diesel locomotives emit less exhaust and particulates per ton mile hauled than do semi trucks. Trains aren't as noisy as a steady stream of trucks on the Interstate, either. Railroads are more heavily regulated than trucks. Taking some of the freight off I-10 and putting it onto the UP, even with a switchyard, would be an environmental improvement. If you want to save the Peak, get rid of the tin-roof trailer park at the base of it, and the campground.