Theresa Mason 0

Help Save Our "Little Jamaica" from destruction by Arizona Dept. Of Transportation

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Please join in our fight to save our unique recreational area we call, "Little Jamaica" from being destroyed by the Arizona Dept. Of Transportation. Little Jamaica is an area made up of 8 natural springs that are on the embankment of the Virgin River located under the I-15 bridge in Beaver Dam/Littlefield Arizona. There is one large waterfall and several smaller ones that are surrounded by lush, beautiful green vegetation. The waterfall empties into a pool that was constructed from sandbags and is roughly 4 feet deep. From there the water flows over the sides, down the embankment to several smaller waterfalls before emptying into the Virgin River.

These springs have been active for over 50 years and contribute to the scenic view of the area; as well as provide wetlands and habitats that are critical to the existence this unique ecosystem. The Virgin River directly supports hundreds of wildlife species including, Wound Fin, Virgin River chub, Virgin Spine Dace, Flannel Mouth sucker Desert sucker, Speckled Dace, and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. Many of these species are endangered or are considered sensitive species to the area. The unique characteristics of this ecosystem are not found anywhere else on the planet.

It wasn't until the construction of the I-15 bridge in 1969 that altered the springs flow from the rivers edge to the top of the embankment that allowed for the pool's creation. The pool has since been calcified from the constant flow of water over the sandbags which allows it to blend in perfectly with the surrounding environment. It unique location and stunning beauty has given birth to our own tropical oasis in the desert. It allows us to keep cool and have fun with our families during the summer months when the temperatures can reach up to a blistering 124 degrees. We tried our best to keep it secret, but the internet has quickly made this a popular summer destination.

Several months ago I discovered that the Arizona Dept. of Transportation intends to destroy "Little Jamaica" in 2019 during the I-15 bridge rehabilitation. They intend to dismantle the pool, destroy the waterfalls then place huge boulders on top of the springs and enclose the entire area in a 12 foot steel picket fence that has signs posted on it that read, " Natural Resource No Trespassing Allowed". They claim its a liability and a burden located within their right-of-way of BLM land and that because they (ADOT) did not authorize the pools construction it is an attractive nuisance they refuse to protect.

For the past 10 years Arizona Dept. of Transportation has shown no interest in this area or the people using it. If it was such a burden and liability for them then why didn't take action against it long ago? Their Environmental Assessment is questionable, as it does not follow guidelines set forth by National Environmental Protection Agency regarding the full assessment of alternatives upon the human environment. Plus, their scoping methods were not successful in reaching the residents of the three communities directly affected by their bridge project; Beaver Dam, Littlefield and Desert Springs. In addition to that, the informational flyers they provided for the public did not include the slightest indication of their plans to destroy "Little Jamaica" nor were they offered in Spanish which prevented many local residents from becoming involved. This has created a great deal of anger and astonishment among us on how anyone could destroy such a beautiful, scenic area that provides a wide range of recreational experiences for people of all ages. Their intended actions will leave a permanent scar on our land and remove critical wetlands that are necessary for the survival of the sensitive and endangered species of this area.

Further more, the Virgin River is federally protected under the "Wild and Scenic Rivers Act" which also provides protection to the embankment up to 1/4 mile. Little Jamaica falls well within that range of protection because it lies less than 60 feet from the rivers edge. Why isn't this being enforced? Not only that, this area has also been identified as the location of four prehistoric and ancient Indian sites and two Historical trails: The Old Spanish Trail / Old Morman Wagon Road and The Jebediah Smith Historic Trail. These two trails cross over each other underneath the center of the bridge up to the north side of the embankment continuing thru the gorge. Even though there 's no visible footprint left today, the fact still remains that they were there.

This is why we cannot allow Arizona Dept. of Transportation to do such a vial and detrimental thing to our land, our environment and our community. We have written to several federal agencies involved in this matter requesting their help in developing a plan that will provide the necessary protection and management of this truly special, unique and diverse area that we call, "Little Jamaica". If necessary we are prepared to enlist the aid of the American people that believe in life, liberty and will unite to preserve and protect what little we have left for future generations. Please show your support and sign the petition below. For more information or inquires please email : savelittlej@gmail.com. Thank you for your time and interest.

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