Thursday, January 19, 2012

Preserving parkland

Running along the opposite side of our street is a stretch of wooded parkland.  This sliver of open space hosts native plants as well as, yes, some patches of invasives.  At its lowest point, a pond and surrounding wetlands support mallards and other birds. On the far side, the land rises sharply to a train bed.

Recently, our town had to vote on whether to sell a portion of this parkland so that an 18th-century  house could be moved on to it (and then vastly augmented so as to ensure financial feasibility for the developer).  As an abutter to this parkland, the idea of destroying even a single square foot was incomprehensible. Rule one of natural resource management: once open space is lost to development, it is gone forever. (I won't labor all the political back and forth but, in a nutshell, more suitable locations for the preservation of this house have been identified.)

At Town Meeting, where the authorization to sell was debated by the citizens, it was quite revelatory to hear other townspeople say again and again how much they valued this parkland--for its trees, its wildlife, its refreshing green stretch of open space. On voice vote, the potential land sale was overwhelmingly defeated.  Instead, a bike path may be set along the train bed. How wonderful if that project could be combined with a wildlife census and the removal of invasive plants. Anyway, happily, it now looks like this patch of parkland will be preserved for all of our citizens to continue to enjoy.

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