Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Letters to the Editor 12/14

Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - The Commercial Appeal
State natural area is no-brainer

If all parties involved claim to have the best interests of Overton Park at heart, why not designate it a state natural area? Why not have the most restrictive protection possible for such a unique and limited treasure?

In your Dec. 12 article "To Protect/Parties differ on how best to preserve Old Forest," the zoo and city seem to be saying that having a state natural area would interfere with the city being able to maintain the park/forest and that the state would not be able to accomplish things like ridding the forest of nonnative elements such as honeysuckle. Does the city currently perform such activities in the Old Forest?

To say the state doesn't have the manpower to maintain our forest as a state natural area is rather vague, so I'd like to know what resources the city currently provides for park/forest maintenance, so we can compare what the city is doing to what the state would do if it were run by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

I have visited state natural areas in Tennessee and other states, and I haven't seen any that strike me as "lacking in maintenance" or being overrun with any other problems.

The bottom line is this: Give the forest the best (and most) protection possible. It is limited in size -- and has gotten smaller -- and is already firmly established as being used for walking, running, hiking and biking, and has been saved from the interstate once, so what is the problem? It is important, people love it, and their (our) love for it brought it before the U.S. Supreme Court, which shows its relevance as a historic and civic treasure, as well as a natural one.

Amie Vanderford

Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - The Commercial Appeal
A key to stopping urban decay

Man, in his infinite wisdom, has, by some miscarriage of reason, placed himself above the natural world. Somehow we feel compelled to make our mark on every square inch of the planet, to manipulate God's creation to suit our own design. As an architect, I spent 20 years of my life contributing to this process, until my disgust for our shortsightedness finally overcame my ego.

Luckily for us Midtowners, a tiny patch of the primeval forest that once covered the entire southeastern U.S. was saved from the tidal wave of developmental devastation that continues to roll eastward through Shelby County. If we have any hope of stemming the tide of destruction (which can also be traced via its socioeconomic wake) the fulcrum of the brake lever must be Overton Park.

I urge support of an immediate moratorium on any further encroachment upon, and legislation mandating the most restrictive preservation of, what little remains of the old-growth portions of the park. Maybe by working together to save a few trees for our children, we could expand the initiative and redevelop the vast swaths of urban decay left us by our parents.

Aaron James