Until recently, I was a big supporter of the SLO Botanical Garden. But when I read “Beware the bedazzling plan” (Sept. 10), I had to agree with the author Richard Schmidt, who wrote: “Why, when we were promised an arboretum, do we now hear we’re going to get this sort of extensive development way out in the valley?”
On September 27, I packed a picnic and drove to El Chorro Regional Park with my $20 weekend park pass, only to be denied entrance! The park was closed to the public but the parking lot was filled with cars. What appeared to be an ocean of Farmers Market-style pavilions was a fund raising event for the SLO Botanical Garden. For a $25 donation I could have parked my car; otherwise the garden was closed with no alternative access.
As a 35-year area resident I have seen how development has taken many forms. In Santa Barbara the local botanical garden was given control of the Mission Canyon Park. Soon thereafter, a ticket booth blocked the entrance. Today, there is not a single picnic table for public use. Any other organization would be called out and exposed for land grabbing but the so-called “environmentalist” group conveniently hid its’ true intentions. The result will be the same right here in lovely El Chorro Regional Park.
Every year we lose precious public lands to groups that pretend to protect land from development but whose agenda reveals the exact opposite.