Nature Conservancy’s Beauty Myth

Dear Ms. Editor:

Your Neighborhood News story (January 13, 1995) reminded me again of how naive are the Nature Conservancy members. The NC would apparently like to ban all people, including the taxpayers who bought and support the forests, and the rebel mountain bikers of TURF (to which I claim no association or allegiance), from the Cook County forest preserves so that the NC can pursue its goal of returning the forests to their condition before European settlement. Excuse me, NC, but (1) who chose the magic moment of yesteryear as a nirvana to which the forests should be returned, and (2) who at NC has ever been elected to public office?

The bikers do no more damage to the forests than do the horses, the deer, the occasional drunk who four-wheels on the trails, or the Cook County forest preserve employees who drive tractors and trucks on the trails.

And on the topic of damaging the forests, the Nature Conservancy recently arranged for 20 or so acres of a 15-year growth area near Palos Park to be mowed flat, all in the apparent interest of removing the volunteer plants from the area. This once very nice area of growth was mowed down to several inches in height, supposedly to remove the European buckthorn and other volunteer plants which offend the sensitivities of the NC. Has it occurred to the NC that the birds which spread the volunteers will do it again, or does the NC have a program to potty train the birds? Has the NC moved to ban horses from the trails? They leave pounds of manure containing a veritable smorgasbord of seeds on the trails, some of which sprout along the trails. Has the NC devised a plan to keep the deer from ingesting seeds from residential landscaping and depositing those seeds in the forests?

Wake up and smell the humus, NC. You can’t turn back the biological clock of the forests to the year 1,500. The average citizen wouldn’t know a virgin oak forest from a besmirched oak forest, and would find either kind equally attracting (maybe even marriage material).

The bikers aren’t the people who litter the trails with beer cans. The bikers spit, pee and leave tracks and bent twigs, much like the deer. I say leave them alone.

Ken Bellah

Palos Park