I played a bird call on my office computer and a yellow-billed cuckoo answered. I didn’t know it was a crime at the time, but I get it: Don’t confuse nesting endangered birds. My wife is a witness and she says, “The Audubon Society should have a warning on their bird calls.”
East of 500 West across from the BMX Park you will see Mill Creek bound in mesh, forced into line to accommodate a blatantly unnecessary bridge. What did that thing cost the taxpayers? $500K? – at a time when the city is having problems with water, sewer and electric lines, as well as a sewage treatment project that prioritizes tourist poo over yellow-billed cuckoos.
The bridge planned at 200 South in Bullick Cross Creeks Park will cost much more, be uniquely harmful to habitat and dangerous in a flood. The project is complicated due to the existence of a derelict dam and lakebed in the path of Pack Creek where the bridge is to be constructed. The trickling flow of the creek through sediments of the lake in this spot sometimes becomes a jet of mud the consistency of liquid concrete and that is what we want because this is the only way the creek will ever be clear and running through the bedrocks of the moraine.
If you want to see what law requires of structures in wetlands, go to Matheson Preserve, our token bird preserve. Construction of a “permanent” structure over Pack Creek in a spot so unstable and sensitive would destroy habitat for species now flourishing after years of the trail being closed and stabilize the instability of lake sediments and pose a serious flood risk to property that hasn’t flooded in its 90-year history. There are 35-foot-long logs behind us in the wetlands, each 3 to 4 feet in diameter, tossed here in a flood we witnessed. This is why you don’t have legal permanent structures in wetlands.
The folly of a huge bridge on a little foot trail reveals city management has no understanding of what the creek can do or the value of its lush habitat. The first time City Manager David Everitt saw this place was last week when he came to ram the bridge down our throats. Everitt was talking about a trail fence to keep the crowds out of our property and painting lines in the streets for the tourist families to park and ride the trail. He exaggerated the need for a bike commuter route in his interview, then says it is not for tourists, who are exactly the folks who use the trail most. We know because we live on the trail and serve as an involuntary information and emergency hub.
We’ve paid taxes on the trailhead since 2003, told we owned it. Now we see it is not on our deed, but we were sent the tax bills and were led to believe by city and state employees that we had responsibility for the trailhead right-of-way. We have worked on the trail and the wetlands over the years, paying for Russian olive removal in winter and caring for daily or nightly human casualties. If we have any say-so, we say no to the bridge until the creek is stable and wildlife is prioritized in any plans.