DECELERATION.LIVE: Message from Brackenridge Bird & Tree Defenders

Few hold membership with any traditional environmental orgs. Most are women of color; many are Indigenous. They’ve been smeared as disinformation agents by the San Antonio Report. And we all owe them a huge debt of thanks.

Greg Harman

Without a somewhat spontaneous arising of community bird and tree defenders at Brackenridge Park—some referring to themselves internally by their unofficial campaign slogan of “Stop the Chop,” others organizing more formally as an emerging “Yanaguana Park Coalition”—there would be a big scar on the northwest side the San Antonio River’s headwaters today. Here at what is known as “Lambert Beach,” with a stone wall in slow decay, is the densest stand of old-growth trees the City of San Antonio had planned to remove. Oaks mostly. Slightly upriver is the pump house and a former acequia that demanded more trees under the City’s restoration vision. Pecans. Oaks. Cypress. Though supportive of proposed park improvements on the 2017 bond, many of these same residents (some who served on the bond committees) rebelled: In ever greater numbers, they turned out to a series of meetings to say no to an only recently announced plan to remove more than 105 trees at the headwaters.

After winning a stay of execution (next public meeting is March 22), came third-party COSA-aligned counter measures. Deceleration called on Bob Rivard to correct at least five errors of fact in his recent attack on the tree and bird defenders, who he smeared publicly as agents of “disinformation.” The Report’s editor rejected all but one of our correction requests. They agreed “diameter” is not the same thing as “girth” but not that he misrepresented the scope of the Parks Department’s war on migratory birds, the total number of trees the City wants to remove, and how many of these are native species. He also incorrectly insisted that an “events center” is not part of the project’s scope. We directed them to a presentation by Parks and Rec’s officials during a project site tour labeling the restoration of the historic pump house as an “event plaza.” Interestingly, it is exactly at the site of a future “event plaza” that Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and his admirers will gather on March 23 for a fundraising dinner. (Price of admission to the Brackenridge Park Conservancy event? Individual tickets are going for $350. A more prestigious “Hidalgo” table runs $25,000.)

Brackenridge 2017 Bond Project Concept Drawings. Just don’t call it an events center.

Other Deceleration.Live Updates: CPS Energy emerging pathway beyond coal power, Carrizo-Comecrudo tribal lands listed by international World Monuments Fund, weekend events, and more.

Guests: DeeDee Belmares, Alesia Garlock, Daniel Armstrong


Like What You’re Seeing? Become a patron for as little as $1 per month. Sign up for our newsletter (for nothing!). Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes or Sticher. Share this story with others.