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Race Track Proposed Next to Wildflower Reserve

Orange poppy fields bloom in the distance | Photo by el__vaquero via Flickr
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Talk about opposites. An Orange County man who owns 320 acres abut the internationally famous poppy reserve in the Antelope Valley wants to build a 3.6-mile course race track. The owner says there won't be much of an impact as it will be built for car clubs and racing organizations with no grandstand for spectators. Still, there are other concerns, explains the LA Times in a feature story:

But according to a draft environmental impact report filed with Los Angeles County earlier this month, the park could expose nearby residents to dust during construction and excessive noise once it is up and running. It could also adversely affect the area's wildlife, which includes lizards, badgers and burrowing owls. Most upsetting for flora and fauna lovers, the proposed racetrack would result in the loss of almost 140 acres within the project site, where seasonal wildflowers such as poppies, California buckwheat scrub and purple needle grass typically grow.

Though mitigation measures have been suggested to help reduce the dust, muffle the noise and decrease the risk of harm to wildlife, "no feasible measures exist" to prevent to loss of the wildflower fields, according to the impact report. The effects would be "significant and unavoidable."

Illegal off-roaders already hurt the habitat and some fear more will be attracted to terrain with a race track in the area.