By David Simmonds
Those of us who have traveled Baja California for decades know that the 900-mile long peninsula is, like a wild Mustang, not easily tamed…and we like it that way. The lone, winding highway connecting Tijuana to land’s end at Cabo San Lucas was completed in 1973, spurring tourist-oriented growth around the southern Cape, now one of Mexico’s most visited destinations. But the majority of Baja has changed little for the past 35 years, attracting road-hardened, adventurous travelers and residents who don’t much like crowds and concrete. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the imcomparable Sea of Cortez, the lack of fresh water and searing summer heat have been Nature’s ardent protector from the inevitable advances of the single-minded Hammer-Swingers. If some places on earth deserve protection (of course, they do), then Baja California has to be near the top of that shrinking, sacred list. Make your next Mexico visit to Baja and you’ll see what I mean.
The Baja California Meeting three-day summit was held in Tijuana last week, where a Fonatur (the tourist development arm of the Mexican government) spokesman announced plans to study the pristine area between Gonzaga Bay and Bahia de los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez, about 300 miles south of the border. “We need to build three Cancuns, and we are analyzing where we could do so, and one of them could be in this zone”, is how the Fonatur official matter-of-factly put it. As he was addressing mostly developers and real estate moguls, his musings were met with head-nodding approval.
One Cancun, a Disney-like experience for serious party warriors, is enough. Much of that once ecological and cultural wonder is being destroyed, with no end of destruction in sight. Okay, we’ll give them that one, although I’m not sure the local Mayan civilization would agree. But Cancun was a mistake and should not be repeated…anywhere.
Fortunately, there are several environmental watchdog groups who diligently fight for nature. For a good overview check out Ron Mader’s excellent web site: http://www.planeta.com.
With the recent Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Al Gore, the sometimes flickering light being shined our earth’s environment has never been brighter. It is up to each of us to get involved. It’s a fight worth fighting.