Letter: Parks resident vehemently opposed to Drake's claim
I am a 25-year resident of Parks, Ariz. and am very concerned about the proposed pozzolan mining operation of Drake Cement, identified as the "Spring Valley claim."
If approved and implemented, this operation will irreparably damage this community.
Parks is a small rural community situated in the midst of beautiful ponderosa pine, aspen and oak forests, surrounded on most sides by national forest (Coconino and Kaibab). Our natural surroundings are on enjoyed by many who hike, trail ride, hunt, offroad, fish and just enjoy being in
nature. Wildlife is abundant here, with elk, deer, javelina, foxes and many smaller mammals and
birds sharing our backyards.
We've learned Drake has claimed more than 1,400 acres of this pristine forest for their strip mining operation. The claimed area is within the Spring Valley watershed, which connects to the Spring
Valley Wash which winds its way through Native American communities, eventually making its way to the Colorado River.
This area also contains the historic Spring Valley Cabin, the Beale Wagon Road (historical trail #61) and several archaeological sites, as well as a refuge for the Mexican Spotted Owl. Additionally, Drake's proposed major hauling access is via Spring Valley Road, also known as FS141.
Spring Valley Road is a two-lane partially paved road which is the major thoroughfare for our
community. It starts in the south where it intersects with Old Route 66 at the Parks Genera/ Store (circa 1906) and goes north past the Maine Elementary School (K-8) and fire station, with many single
family homes fronting onto it. As a two-lane road, it has gravel shoulders used by many to walk their children to school, ride their bicycles or horses to the store and post office, and walk their dogs. This same road is also the site of our annual Fourth of July Parade, for which celebrants line both sides of the road for more than a mile.
Now that I've painted a picture for you of our quiet rural forest community, overlay it with a strip mine in the midst of the forest, multi-ton gravel trucks rumbling down the main thoroughfare past the school and multiple homes, and the blasting noise and dust from these mining operations, not to mention the archaeological destruction and drainage pollution that could ensue.
Drake's claim requests their use of this operation for 20 years! I think you'll see why all our residents are vehemently opposed to this claim, and why we're seeking your help in stopping it.