Friday, March 4, 2011

West Creek Reservation

I have been going through my old files, finding things to post here.  Here is a letter I wrote to the people in charge of taking the lond by my house and converting it to a public park.  I receive a personal letter back from the director telling me how moved he was by my letter. 

I will let you know how they did sometime soon.

As a resident of Ridgewood Drive, I grew up and still live on the banks of West Creek. Through the years, I delighted in playing in the water, learning the names of the many wildflowers and watching the changes in the season. We knew all the trails within reasonable walking distance from our house. Unfortunately, my strongest memories are from watching the changes and destruction of the area. It was a happy time when they covered up all the garbage in the landfill and left the bulk of the landfill alone, but when they built the Channel 19 tower, they also tore up the most beautiful hill of wildflowers across the creek to hook up the wires. In all my life, I have never seen as many Trilliums in one place as there were growing on that hillside. There are only a few left, now. I keep hoping they will make a recovery, but I have noticed no difference at all in all these years. A wonderful bunch of concord grapes were destroyed at the same time. Every fall, we had picked grapes for home made jelly. To this day, I don’t like the taste of the store bought grape jelly.

I watched with disappointment as the city gradually removed the fruit trees from the remnants of the old orchard. There would be no more lovely spring shows of flowering apple, pear, plum, cherry and hawthorn trees, and we would no longer be able to eat those delicious cherry pies my mother used to make.

More recently, the city decided they would dump their fill in a lovely wetland area near the former orchard. How could they do this? The few mallard ducks in the area used to swim about in it. There are no frogs left in the area since they destroyed that wetland. Now I hear that they will try to restore the wetland. What a shame that it had been ruined in the first place.

Building the Channel 55 tower destroyed a small, secluded wetland that always made me think we were in Louisiana whenever we would look at it. There is just a tiny remnant of it left that looks nothing like the original, and it hurts me to see it when I remember its former beauty.
Another sad day is when we discovered that someone must have gotten a chainsaw and decided to practice with it in “Eerie Forest.” They easily cut down 100 trees and let them lay there. Previously, they trees were so thick that very little light could shine through; hence the name we gave it. We watched as the first minnows showed up in our part of the creek. We used to try to catch them with no luck at all, but we had a lot of fun trying. As the years have gone by, though, each year there are less and less fish. The pollution is taking over our lovely creek, and killing them off. Soon, I wonder if the herons, kingfishers and water snakes will go elsewhere, too.

Sometimes I feel like the Native American in the TV commercial that I saw when I was a child, crying as he looked at all the litter. I cry when I look at all the terrible destruction of the place I love so much. Will the West Creek Preservation Committee help restore things or will the increase of human use increase the deterioration? I’ve seen the damage that mountain bikes have caused in the MetroParks, the litter that the people leave behind and the way that some areas are “improved” by the MetroParks by making them more civilized and taking away the naturalness. Will the easier access to the trails mean more teenagers with drinking parties leaving bottles and cans everywhere? Will people be picking and trampling the wildflowers that are left? I look to the future of West Creek with hope, yet with trepidation. Please let my fears be for naught.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

It is so sad seeing the destruction of the place where you grew up. There were acres and acres of land behind my house that I used to ride on when I was a kid . . . and they put a subdivision on it. :( It broke my heart. I hope they do something to preserve what's left. Very well written letter.