Guiding Principles
for Randy Hester's team's planning process

Original Hester text
Michael's rewrite
The Ecological unit
     Caspar was and is being created by powerful ecological forces. Situated immediately between Caspar Creek and Jughandle Creek, Caspar lies in a larger watershed beginning in the Jackson State Forest. These riparian connections, combined with scores of others along the North Coast, cut through raised sea terraces on their way to the ocean. While part of the coastal ecosystem, these riparian networks surrounding Caspar are also linked inland by complex relationships between soil chemistry and plant communities.
     Caspar citizens play a central role in the maintenance of these unique, diverse and fragile systems. Therefore, the guiding principle in development and management of the Caspar landscape is to support and enhance the local ecology within the Caspar community and the global ecology extending from Caspar. Thus, all of Caspar's lands must be considered a valuable part of a whole. Yet, some lands require additional protection for ecological or social reasons. Although traditional consideration of utility and market value is unavoidable, use and design of each land unit should also be based upon both its ecological role and sacredness to the community.
Caspar's Ecology
     Caspar perches on the brink of the Pacific Ocean a few miles east of the zone where two tectonic plates continue to form the continent. North and south, the watersheds of Jughandle Creek and Caspar Creek cut through upthrust sea terraces to preserve a riparian connection between Mendocino County's vast inland forest and the Pacific Ocean. At the mouths of Caspar Creek and its sub-basin Doyle Creek there is a sandy beach and safe harbor. Despite these attractions, human development rests lightly on these riparian zones and the headlands between, so a rich and complex interaction of soils, plants, and animals continues to thrive.
     For centuries, Caspar's people have played a key role in preserving these unique, diverse and fragile systems. Historically, the Caspar Lumber Company applied the latest technology and an abiding love for the land to take from it without destroying its richness. The Company's holdings, cared for as a whole with regard for all native life forms, are a treasure at the center of Caspar's well-being. Therefore, the guiding principle in developing and managing Caspar's landscape must be to preserve and enhance the quality of all life. While conventional measures of market value and potential use must be considered, the first consideration must be for the perpetuation of the unified stewardship which makes Caspar special.
The Social Unit
     Both the process and product of Caspar's efforts to plan for the future should build community, enhance traditions, and facilitate interaction between its citizens. The outcome should serve the present and future residents of Caspar through locally supporting programs, facilities and opportunities. The form of Caspar will depend upon the intricacies of economics, charity, sensitivity, cooperation, faith, and recognition of the past and the future. As such, any plan for Caspar should create a self-governing mechanism that provides for local control. Through appreciation for the interdependence of personal values, the natural world, and manmade environments, the people can manifest themselves into a unique place of community and diversity. A new Caspar will achieve a sense of community through the alliance of social process and the nurturing, challenging, and embracing natural environment that the residents have sought to preserve.
Caspar's People
     We want our works to preserve and enhance the human community for at least a century into the future. Most of us live in Caspar because of its qualities: off the beaten track, out of the fast lane, unostentatious, beautiful, nurturing. We are prepared to work hard to preserve these and other qualities that draw us and hold us. Our governance will blend economics, charity, sensitivity, cooperation, faith, and recognition of the past and the future with our strong sense of local responsibility. As stewards of this special place, we will encourage diversity, nurture neighborliness, and otherwise continue to respect and care for the embracing natural environment upon which we rely.
Sustainable Infrastructure
     Through knowledge of the past and present, future projections for the proposed infrastructure can maintain the rural village characteristics of Caspar. These include the spatial relationships between the built and unbuilt environments, the informality, the continuity of open spaces from the expansive to the intimate, and the ability for transformation over time. New development should practice the best ecological design for energy conservation, transportation, water supply, disposal of waste and the preservation of nature. Walkability, access, and a sense of community identity should be the result of these practices.
Sustaining Caspar
     Knowing the past, and learning more every day about the requirements and dependencies between land and life forms, we mean to develop an enduring rural village. By preserving the happy spatial relationships between built and unbuilt areas, the informality and continuity of habitation and nature ranging from grandly expansive to intimately small, we can keep Caspar in the present without losing touch with the past or abusing the future. Change and new development are inevitable, but by applying the ever-improving best practices for transportation, land use, energy conservation, water management, human scale, access, and a sense of inclusive community, we believe we can preserve and enhance our place.

     mp 26June98

26 June meeting minutes

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: : posted 10 July 1998 8:45 Caspar (Pacific) time : : printed with 100% recycled electrons!