I would like to thank Mr. Arkley for having the foresight to purchase the Dog Ranch almost a decade ago ("Arkley's Dog Ranch on the Market," Nov. 6). His ownership has kept it safe from the misconception that restoration of coastal dune habitat means stripping it of vegetation, promoting erosion, filling wetlands and killing trees. By merely not following this once popular trend, he has maintained a model for us to witness some of the many unrecognized benefits of our naturalized albeit non-native beach grass — the same grass that protects and even helps create coastal wetlands and forests while it benefits related wildlife. It is also a well-known and very effective resource used to grow real estate in coastal areas by collecting and vegetating sand brought in from the ocean. Add that to the increased coastal protection this grass provides from sea level rise and storm surges one must wonder why there are still plans by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bulldoze holes in our local dunes.
I also want to thank Mr. Arkley for allowing us the countless hours of enjoyment we as a community have had riding our horses and hiking the trails of this beautiful and rare coastal forest and adjacent dunes. There really is no other experience like it.
Certainly, this land has become a well-publicized magnet for an abundance of "campers" that obviously represent an ongoing homeless issue. But maybe the message there is that the Dog Ranch is meant to become a transition ranch for returning veterans who too often struggle with reintegration and homelessness after returning from deployment. We could perhaps call it Dog Tags Ranch. That is if we can get our federal government to develop more interest in restoring our soldiers' lives than bulldozing dunes.
Uri Driscoll, Arcata