An accidental natural space

Otay Travel Blog

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Little loudspeaker in the middle of nowhere, a relic of the old airbase here
At one time it was a test base for experimental military aircraft, but for the past 40 years it's hosted an antenna array.  The Air Force basically uses it to track anything that passes over the US in space.  It's part of a chain of similar stations across the country that act as part of a single antenna.

What it's done, as a side benefit, it to preserve a plot of land in one of the fastest developing areas in the country.  It's a common effect that military bases have.  In the process of guarding whatever they have there, they protect the natural resources of the site.  This has sometimes been a problem in the past - whatever the military has been doing there for the past 50 years suddenly comes under fire from environmental agencies because one of the last populations of some poor creature there, as a result of all of the surrounding private land being developed.
One of the antenna arrays
  More recently, programs have been developed where agreements are signed where areas like this in Otay Mesa are preserved in exchange for continuing activities in similar habitat elsewhere.  Most military land isn't used directly anyway, the majority of a base is usually a buffer... they tend to need space between them and the public since they're usually either doing something dangerous, or in this case, just need to keep people away from something sensitive.

In any case, I get to travel down there, only about a 40 minute drive to just north of the Mexican border, to check up on the site, document that the things being protected are still actually being protected effectively.  It's a really cool spot, the canyons are untouched, still in their natural state while the surrounding lands are converted to endless housing tracts and industrial parks.
up4anything901 says:
pretty interesting
Posted on: Aug 01, 2009
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Little loudspeaker in the middle o…
Little loudspeaker in the middle …
One of the antenna arrays
One of the antenna arrays
Caterpillar - well protected with …
Caterpillar - well protected with…
Little red mites on a flower
Little red mites on a flower
Velvet cactus!  This 50-foot diame…
Velvet cactus! This 50-foot diam…
These rocks, piled at the edge of …
These rocks, piled at the edge of…
Likewise, lichen covered branches …
Likewise, lichen covered branches…
Little wild onions sprout between …
Little wild onions sprout between…
Microceris, I think?
Microceris, I think?
These onions are really pungent.  …
These onions are really pungent. …
Coast barrel cactus - rare elsewhe…
Coast barrel cactus - rare elsewh…
Happy bug explores the fuzz on a b…
Happy bug explores the fuzz on a …
Fields of bluedicks in the early s…
Fields of bluedicks in the early …
Hey Bevis  huh-huh , check out thi…
Hey Bevis huh-huh , check out th…
Lush, green slopes in the spring
Lush, green slopes in the spring
Big lemonadeberry shrubs decorate …
Big lemonadeberry shrubs decorate…
The same slope in the summer, gras…
The same slope in the summer, gra…
The grasses of the mesa top under …
The grasses of the mesa top under…
Velvet cactus booms, a rare site i…
Velvet cactus booms, a rare site …
Another kind of wild onion
Another kind of wild onion
Blue-eyed grass its called, a nat…
Blue-eyed grass it's called, a na…
Lasthenia or goldfields  -  so nam…
Lasthenia or goldfields - so na…
A big, beautiful mammillaria cactu…
A big, beautiful mammillaria cact…
Another mammillaria family
pups…
Another mammillaria family "pups…
Well marked corner of a bobcats t…
Well marked corner of a bobcat's …
Cold winter surveys.  Theres alwa…
Cold winter surveys. There's alw…
Coastal California gnatcatcher, a …
Coastal California gnatcatcher, a…
Otay tarplant, occurs only on Otay…
Otay tarplant, occurs only on Ota…
Burrowing owl makes use of one of …
Burrowing owl makes use of one of…
Inside the burrowing owls culvert …
Inside the burrowing owls culvert…
Burrowing owl roosting on an under…
Burrowing owl roosting on an unde…
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There's a big rattlesnake who liv…
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Mammillaria blooms! How often do…
Chocolate lily, Ive only seen the…
Chocolate lily, I've only seen th…
San Diego Sunflower, another prote…
San Diego Sunflower, another prot…
Wishbone bush
Wishbone bush
Native bunch grasses still thrive …
Native bunch grasses still thrive…
Lupine
Lupine
California encelia
California encelia
Bladder-pod bladders
Bladder-pod bladders
Tiny, waxy flowers of a milkvetch,…
Tiny, waxy flowers of a milkvetch…
Curious wester fence lizard, toler…
Curious wester fence lizard, tole…
Mariposa lily
Mariposa lily
Always some interesting old aircra…
Always some interesting old aircr…
Mrs. Raven incubates her eggs on t…
Mrs. Raven incubates her eggs on …
Ladies fingers a succulent dudl…
"Ladies' fingers" a succulent dud…
Gooseberries on a spiky ribes shrum
Gooseberries on a spiky ribes shrum
Angry looking burrowing owl peerin…
Angry looking burrowing owl peeri…
Owls perching on one of the antenn…
Owls perching on one of the anten…
Watching whats in orbit...
Watching what's in orbit...
Most of the site is a huge field o…
Most of the site is a huge field …
A native sunflower
A native sunflower
A U.S. Geological Survey marker
A U.S. Geological Survey marker
Sun sets over the ocean, about 20 …
Sun sets over the ocean, about 20…
A big full moon rises over Mexico,…
A big full moon rises over Mexico…
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photo by: cneoridium