The Little Lake Valley — aka the Willits Valley in Mendocino County, CA — is threatened by an environmentally disastrous Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) highway construction project called “The Willits Bypass.”
Willits is in The Little Lake Valley of California’s Coast Range mountains, 140 miles north of San Francisco. Travelers literally can't miss Willits — US Highway 101, the region’s main inland artery becomes Main Street through the center of this small town, population 5,000 (including Hwy 101's first traffic light north of the Golden Gate Bridge).
Caltrans’ Willits Bypass Project would:
• Drain and fill in 86 acres of wetlands — the largest wetlands fill permit in Northern California in 50 years.
• Build a 6-mile-long, 200-foot-wide, Interstate 5-sized highway through Little Lake Valley just east of town in order to bypass Willits.
• Devour wetlands, oak forests, meadows, native plants, Ponderosa pines groves, habitat for northern spotted owls, habitat for coho salmon, habitat for steelhead trout, habitat for the endangered tidewater goby (fish), and prime farmland (1/3 of the valley's farmland would be affected).
• Release massive greenhouse gases from construction into the atmosphere — over 80 years’ worth compared to the “savings” from reduced stop-and-go traffic in town.
• Cost over $300 million taxpayer dollars!
• Override the objections of the majority of Willits' citizens and business owners.
Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration claim the Willits Bypass Project will ease traffic congestion on Main Street, but studies show 70% of Willits traffic is local and therefore would not be improved.
Reject this Willits Bypass and advocate less environmentally harmful, less expensive alternatives presented as early as 2004. As the old proverb goes, “No matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back.”
To learn more about the campaign, check out: SaveLittleLakeValley.org
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