Hi Penny and Bert,
Brad and I visited Las Pilitas last summer. We're the two scientists from Oakland.
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that the fight here to save Knowland Park is heating up again, and I thought you might be able to help spread the word. Knowland Park is a fantastically rich wild land park in an urban area. It has five California habitats (and ecotones) and supports many animals, including mountain lions, coyotes, foxes and bobcats.
The park is threatened by a massive, destructive expansion by the Oakland Zoo. In particular, two rare California habitats (maritime chaparral and native grasslands) as well as a federally threatened animal (the Alameda whipsnake - why couldn't it be cute and fuzzy?) are imperiled by the expansion.
We've started a petition on Change.org to ask the US Fish & Wildlife Service to deny the zoo the permits it needs. The Center for Biological Diversity has joined us and written a strong letter to the USF&WS as well (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/reptiles/Alameda_whipsnake/pdfs/CBD_letter_on_Knowland_Park_5-28-13.pdf)
Here's our new Facebook 'cause' page (the Change.org link is there):
and here's the direct link to the Change.org petition:
The zoo has the big developers, the politicians, wealthy donors, and the Hearst newspapers behind them. The biggest irony is that the zoo's new exhibit is suppose to teach kids to conserve habitat (!) even as the zoo destroys it. Of course, the planned admin buildings, the "destination restaurant", the gift shop, the overnight camping experience, and the 60 foot tall gondolas don't exactly scream 'conservation'. But the park does have a fantastic view ...
We have a serious uphill battle ahead of us, but we're determined. We need to get the word out though.
And if you want a good laugh, I finally had to break down and sign up for a Facebook page so I could help administer the "Save Knowland Park" FB page. So now you know we really need help ;)
Hope to get to Las Pilitas soon - maybe when it's a perfect 110 degrees ;)