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September 08, 2011

The Valley of the Boojum Tree

WiLDCOAST is Saving Nature in Central Baja
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Preparing dinner at the WiLDCOAST camp

I’ve just returned from another positive experience in the Valley of the Boojum Tree in Baja California. During the summer months the visitors and residents of the region’s Pacific coastline tend to vacate leaving a slightly haunting desert landscape. Empty fish camp structures creak in the wind. Dust devils tear through ancient alkaline river valleys. At one point on the three hour dirt drive back to the highway from the coast, I pulled over in a canyon to reattach the roof rack that had mysteriously unscrewed itself. I shouted into the canyon wall to test my echo. After what seemed like ten seconds later my voice continued to reverberate through the hills. 

But what can seem void of life is actually teeming with creatures; marine and terrestrial, avian and microscopic. Curious seals popped up at a cautious distance from me while I surfed – seemingly happy to see me but a bit unsure of my intentions. Bats darted about at night, one brushing the side of my face on a supersonic fly by. The largest moth I have ever seen landed on the banana supply one morning. German shepherd sized coyotes languidly cruised by the camp at dusk, one eye on the path and the other on my movements.

Some of these things might startle me at home. Although I surf everyday among seals I tend to pick up my feet when one swims by. A bat swooping down at my head in my garage would probably send me scurrying. But down there the natural processes and curiosities are comforting. Beyond the city-wilderness interface of Baja Norte nature triumphs. Humans cling to its fringes making a living off its rich resources knowing that they depend on nature's delicate integrity.

It is a place where people and nature can and need to work together. WiLDCOAST is setting aside tens of thousands of acres in the region for conservation not only to protect the region’s delicate wildlife and ecosystems but to maintain open public access to the coastline. Both aspects of a healthy coastal environment have been jeopardized in other areas of the peninsula. WiLDCOAST is ensuring that this will not be the case for this unique stretch of Baja California and that it will serve the purposes that nature intended.

 

-Zach