The future of East County’s backcountry is dim

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Over the summer I have been all over East County and though it is not something new, the disappearance of our backcountry is becoming more and more visible. I can go to one place, then return a week or two later and see something new. And in most cases it is an unwelcomed sight.

Over the summer I have been all over East County and though it is not something new, the disappearance of our backcountry is becoming more and more visible. I can go to one place, then return a week or two later and see something new. And in most cases it is an unwelcomed sight.

New developments, corporate projects and housing are quickly urbanizing our backcountry and there seems to be no end in sight. Although many see this as moving forward and expanding our community, to many it is not only a loss of precious natural land, but also a way of life. Many of the people that live in the backcountry come from generations of farmers, ranchers and simply those that choose to live away from urbanized areas. It has also been a big draw for those that move to the County, giving them the comfort of living a life they grew up accustomed to. But land is a precious commodity in many ways.

To people that choose to live and make a living in the backcountry it is invaluable of living the life of self sufficiency and the pioneering of entrepreneurship living. To developers, whether building new housing or for large corporate projects, it is valuable to the bottom line. An opportunity to seize the moment for profit and as a result, steals valuable land, natural resources and the peaceful living for those that have chosen the backcountry as home. They do not choose to live out here because of greed, but rather they choose to keep the simplistic lifestyle that urbanization destroys. This is a concept I fully understand growing up in a family of farmers and in a time where there was plentiful open land that helped shape me into who I am today. To this day, I would much rather be living on acres of land where I can grow my own food, invest in stock and live an almost self sufficient life with my family and me depending on the land and our labor more than the grocery store down the street or the nine to five job. I find comfort in open spaces, which in reality no longer exist, and throughout my life have watched as we continue to put this lifestyle, the right of any person, on the backburner of progress. But the real question lies in whether or not progress is worth the price.

Alpine has been forever soured by the Sunrise Powerlink. If the El Monte Sand Mining Project continues on course, the fate of Lakeside, which is on the brink of extreme urbanization will be forever destroyed. The newest casino in Jamul is devastating to the families that chose to live out there away from the city and urban areas and will take its toll on them, the land, and back again to a way of life that many Americans choose to live.

It is a double edge sword as these are things that many people revel in with pride and accomplishment while others mourn in loss and the depravity of losing something that is most valued by them. And the enemy is progress. Housing, energy, natural resources are encroaching on this way of life and there seems to be no way of stopping it. Within many of our lifetimes, we will see the disintegration of our backcountry, a place where horses roam, and cattle is bred, family farms thrive and a way of life dies.

As we come up to elections this year and every election year from here on out, for those that live and love the lifestyle of living in the backcountry, it is imperative to see where your local representatives of all levels stand. In many cases, you will find that the officials that you believe represent you the best are backed by the corporate mongrels that are destroying your way of life.