The proliferation of vineyards replacing the forested hillsides of Howell Mountain concerns me. Specifically the Le Colline development, which is directly behind my childhood home on Cold Springs Road in Angwin, still the residence of my mom.
Our view, this uninhabited property beyond ours, is a pristine tumble of granite boulders, ravines and stands of trees that have withstood changing weather and rainfall patterns with grace. In addition, the community knows the property to contain secretive caves that are home to bats that feast on the mosquitoes at dusk.
Waterfalls are hidden in the forest there, ranging from a rill to a roar, dependent on the whims of nature. The stream that feeds our land and these waterfalls is also subject to activities at another newer winery across the road on Las Posadas, which was allowed to interrupt the free flow of Cold Springs years ago. Is this to be the fate of The Hill, denuded of trees and cornrowed with vines fed by thirsty wells and diverted springs? The heavenly scent of pine, fir, oak and laurel replaced with dust and sprays of farming upon land not conducive to such activities?
Let the valley soil host the vines, where there is more ample water, and farming has been a centuries-old practice. Already great swaths of forest have been chopped down in Angwin — is there to be no end, no balance nor moderation, until the vistas here are of a sadly scalped hillside rutted with the landslides of poor planning?
Fall Creek, Oregon