Letter: Renovations ruining Memorial Park on Sorin's BluffEvery day or two for more than 30 years I have walked with my dogs or bicycled on Memorial Park.
By: David Harris, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Every day or two for more than 30 years I have walked with my dogs or bicycled on Memorial Park. As you approach the loop that winds around the top of the park, you pass the entrance into the first landing where a small segment of the bluff rises up and offers a glorious view of the valley below, the tiny houses of the East End, Highway 61 and beyond it beautiful Barn Bluff, the garbage-fired Xcel Energy plant, the Mississippi River and the bluffs and rolling hills of Wisconsin.
For unadvertised reasons, the city recently brought in trucks and bulldozers, scraped away the plant life, including a variety of seasonal wildflowers and some healthy old trees, and is chopping up much of the little bluff, replacing the smaller steps, cut long ago into the native stone, with large steps resembling tombstones rising up the little bluff like a piano keyboard on edge.
To what purpose? My speculation is someone thinks it will be a tourist attraction or place to hold outdoor events. But it is an affront to me, and, I hope, to many who love nature without continually trying to improve and manage her.
It is reminiscent of the long struggle between Native Americans who cherished their environment and invaders of European ancestry who, in the guise of builders and civilizers, brought destruction and exploitation to the land and all who had lived on it. It even conjures up memories of the common Biblical (Judeochristian) misconception of a God who created man to dominate and rule over women, mother earth and all her creatures.
Much indignation has been expressed about the threat to our beautiful environment from large scale energy producers, in particular the mining of silica sand for gas and oil drilling. The results can be readily predicted by viewing the ugly, barren flatlands in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, where I once lived, where mountains and forests were leveled by the surface mining of coal.
On a smaller scale, the city of Red Wing, in indulging the capitalistic vision of human fulfillment as endless improvement and growth, now plays a similar role, albeit much smaller, in the destruction of the earth.