Thursday, December 16, 2010

Letters to the Editor 12/16

Letters to the Editor
Thursday, December 16, 2010 - The Commercial Appeal
Park suffers under city's care

Opponents of the proposed Old Forest State Natural Area would likely prefer that Google Maps hurry up and replace the current satellite image of Overton Park.

Click the image to view on Google Maps

Zoom in a bit and you can easily count more than 200 vehicles parked on Overton Park's classic greensward, the park's only expanse of open grass where non-golfers are allowed. This overflow of zoo parking spreads across half the field and over the roots of dozens of periphery trees, while the zoo's Galloway Avenue parking lot sits two-thirds empty. The greensward is not fallow land, either; you can spot a dozen picnic blankets in the photo, with plenty of people milling about the open space.

What does this have to do with the park's 10,000-year-old Old Forest Arboretum? The same group of people are "taking care" of both recreational amenities with the same managerial mindset. I agree that overlaying a state natural area designation on part of the park would clutter up an occasional workday for a few civil servants and zoo executives, but so what? Why should we trust the Old Forest's current stewards to treat it as a "city natural area," given their current neglect?

I have no problem with "people in Nashville ... telling us how to manage the park" (Dec. 12 article, "Parties differ on how best to preserve Old Forest"), as long as their management doesn't include more bulldozers and parking cones.

Gary Bridgman