A Bridge Too Far . . . . . Left 
By  Max  Sloan 
History will show 1999-2000 to be pinnacle years for the "Green" radical movement.
The goals and programs of this effort have reached fully into government and the agencies of government. No longer are the actions of the agencies occasionally instituted to appease the whacko-environmentalists, but have become the green policy in most agency decision making.

Here you see a new bridge over Interstate 75 just 50 miles south of the now famous Frog Wall or 10 miles south of Ocala, Florida. The significance of this bridge is that it starts in a woods and ends in a woods. There is no road associated with this bridge. The new paradigm used to name this type of structure is "LAND BRIDGE",  i.e. connecting land to land. The $3.1 million bridge will be 52.5 feet wide, 200 feet of span and ramps on each side of 400 feet. The actual passageway will be only 30 feet wide with the trail and span narrowed by rock walls and formations and ........ landscaping including small trees, bushes and shrubs. Maintenance of the "Land Bridge", which is slated to only be used by animals, hikers, bicycle riders and horse riders, will be handled by the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) with vegetation maintenance duties falling to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Actual top of bridge under construction showing obstruction walls that narrow the crossing. Trees, shrubs and bushes will fill in the areas on each side over the entire span creating a "natural" crossing. 
All of this is part of the Cross Florida Greenways, an opportunistic strip of uninhabited land that runs from Paltaka to near Crystal River. The site for the Greenway was once the Cross Florida Barge Canal land that was de-authorized as a commercial project by President Nixon. Originally envisioned as a shortcut water way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the canal would have utilized existing waterways and man made canals, many that were dug and completed, to tie Florida's coast together offering a commercial barge route. When environmental concerns were raised, primarily about Florida's underground water supply, the project with  its completed canals, locks and bridges was scrapped. Long areas of the right-of-way were never developed and for years after Nixon's order to halt the canal project, the federal government maintained ownership of the properties.
The Bridge starts and ends in a woods. This is the view from the west ramp.

During the last twenty years a movement worked to convince the federal government to divest itself of the holdings because of the cost of maintenance. Some had hoped that the private land taken for the project would be sold back to the original owners or families as the property taken was for the canal project that was now dead. Behind the scenes were the environmental lobbyists that won the day when they convinced the federal government to give the land to the State of Florida. Florida's options included the return of the land to the original owners but that was never considered as again the green movement won a plan to make the vast property a giant park. Many lauded the concept until it was discovered that the majority of the lands would be off limits for human use and almost all areas of use would be for hikers, bicycle riders and horse riders. There would be no winding road similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway but rather small niches of parking areas and parks located next to existing roads that touch the Greenway. Humans, burdened by internal combustion transportation, will have to circumvent the I-75 obstruction via existing county and state roads when traveling from one side of the Greenway area to the other, these road available from one mile south to eight miles north.

Your highway and gasoline taxes may pay for the "Land Bridge" but the environmentalist LEFT has excluded you from using the Greenway if you're "motorized".  

The nearest trail head to the $3.1 million land bridge is 1.5 miles east of the bridge. Hiking, bicycle and horse paths will independently wind to the bridge where, for the first time since Interstate 75 was cut through the area in the 1950's, man and animals will be able to cross I-75 at this 30 foot wide overpass. Animal lovers seem ecstatic that the natural animal movement will no longer be hindered by the highway. One can only imagine the plans now hatching to involve Dr. Seuss's book company in developing multi-animal language leaflets that will be dropped in the Greenway areas immediately adjacent to the bridge announcing the grand opening. Will any lack of animal usage necessitate animal affirmative action plans and eventual busing to raise the participation level and protect equal rights for all species ? After what has already occurred, .............. yes.

So just how did such a small contingent of leftists environmentalists gain such control to be able to dictate their agenda and exclude others ? They are involved and they now have control.

To get back to truly sane inclusiveness, the Moderates and the Right will have to be involved. That means participating in the process. To quote from an eco-logic article "Get involved with your local "visioning council"!! The strategy is finally getting down to a grassroots level where we can effectively fight the good fight!! Now is the time to strike!! The only way out is to develop a set of land ethics at a local level. Using their principles and precepts, and by rallying the troops we can go on the offense and strike terror in their hearts!!"  [Let's rethink our strategy - Judy Keeler - June 15th, 2000]

We can continue to turn left or we can gain control of this runaway concept and return to a more righteous path ... straight ahead. Anyone that believes that Frog Walls and Land Bridges are too far out must understand that it's all real with more and more coming. It all truly is  TOO FAR ............ Left.

 Digital Cameras Courtesy of "The Flying ACE"

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Last Modified August 7, 2000