April 1, 2011

For the Love of Parks

Some of my earliest memories involve parks. In fact, I think most of them do. What child doesn't love open spaces or mysterious woodlands to run in? And what adult--well, this adult, anyway--can't appreciate the perfection of a large swathe of land that's only purpose is to be itself? How centering is that? How necessary. So it saddens me to learn how the budget cuts in Minnesota will/might impact these important places. Thanks to Zoologirl for the alert. You really should just go to her blog and read her full response, but below is part of the Star Tribune article she quoted.
One-third of state parks could have hours reduced and services slashed under a sweeping environmental bill approved by the Minnesota House and Senate on Tuesday.
The Republican-controlled House would cut deepest, but both houses would limit spending for the environment and natural resources during the next two years to about $200 million, a trim of about $40 million from projected spending. The House and Senate proposed more cuts than DFL Gov. Mark Dayton recommended, but he makes up much of the gap with outdoor and environmental fee increases.
The reductions would hit nearly every corner of the Department of Natural Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, even the Minnesota Zoo.
DNR officials said the cuts could force a “mothballing” of up to 10 parks until state finances improve. Under the plan, the parks would remain open, but campgrounds and buildings would probably be closed and unstaffed.
I've never been much of a politico. It's just not me. And, Lord knows, as an educator I'm aware that pockets are tight and that cuts are sweeping. But here are my two-bits: I believe we need more of the natural world, not less. I believe people would find more of what they're looking for if they looked out, not down at their phones. I believe natural places impact people in overwhelmingly positive ways, and that they are worth taking care of, cherishing, and sharing with those who can be still enough to see.

6 comments:

  1. I'm with you. The problem is, we lose these parks, we'll never get them back.

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  2. These are tough times financially. Clearly we are all lagging behind Wall Street, even though they used our money to get rich again. It seems incredibly ironic that Minnesota would cut people off from one of the few things that can bring them pleasure without spending a lot of $.

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  3. I hate being political. Unfortunately our system is out of balance and the very things we need to sustain us as individuals and as a society are under attack. I've learned that I must speak up, with facts and clarity, with no ill will and stand with that which sustains us. Great post Emily!

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  4. Parks have always kept me--and countless others, I'm sure--healthy on both a physical and mental level. I understand the need to balance the budget. I do. But aren't long-term savings inherent in preserving such places?

    Thanks to each of you for reading and for sharing your thoughts.

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  5. Thanks so much Emily for sharing and adding to this issue. We definitely need to recognize, preserve, and cherish our natural capital. Great post.

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  6. You got it. Your post stirred something up inside of me, and I felt it needed to be shared.

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