Star Tribune Opinion Piece

STRB is not against paved trails. However, our fight is about the right trails in the right places. Too much asphalt especially in a floodplain is too much and not good for the environment!

“As we struggle to find ways to protect and clean water, the use of Legacy dollars to build more parking lots, maintenance buildings, shooting ranges and asphalt trails is not helping. Most construction destroys habitat, uses resources and creates pollution and runoff. Often trail construction involves the clearing of 50-foot swaths. In Spring Lake Park reserve, a rare bluff prairie was blown up to put in an asphalt trail. Maintaining asphalt trails in the no-risk condition many people demand calls for salt, which washes into surface and groundwaters. Shooting ranges come with lead shot, contaminating land, water and eventually wildlife.

Subsequent to the Legacy Amendment’s passage, the 25-year Parks and Trails plan was developed. Citizens involved in the plan’s development called for “protecting Nature and creating the next generation of stewards.” They also wanted balanced spending. Thus far, according to the Parks and Trails Legacy advisory committee report, “Celebrating six years of Legacy parks and trails success,” 82 percent of Legacy parks and trails money has been spent on the built environment, with less than 3 percent on natural-resource conservation, protection and restoration. These activities are being “celebrated” this year. Not what you voted for? Attend a “celebration” and express your disdain because right now, most of the Legacy parks and trails money isn’t being spent for clean water or nature.”
Catherine Zimmer, St. Paul