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Letter: Don't degrade Prairie Park sanctuary

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

I was rather surprised at Jason Akst’s June 28 column describing Prairie Park as a “blight” on DeKalb, specifically citing “overgrown foliage.” 

The park is comprised of a large and popular frisbee-golf course, a frequently used paved bike/walking path, and a natural area that serves as a small refuge for birds and wildlife.  

Prairie Park has been described by knowledgeable birders as a magnet for migrating birds who, having traversed many miles of bare farm fields, stop for a much-needed rest. Overgrown vegetation is exactly what they need.

To digress, last week I took my usual walk around the lagoon at Northern Illinois University and was shocked to see that most of the bushes and small trees surrounding the water had inexplicably been razed to the water’s edge, leaving only ugly stumps and sticks. Native flowers had been destroyed along with bushes which had been nesting sites for a variety of birds and had provided cover for ducks, muskrats and frogs.  What is left is a spare look which could only be appreciated by a Canada goose (it mimics their native tundra). It is this action by NIU as well as the infamous clear-cutting of the Nature Trail by ComEd that makes me alarmed at the tone of the Prairie Park column.

I am well aware that homeless people sometimes camp out in the park and that the tragic Toni Keller murder has made people reluctant to walk the interior trails.  But please hold the bulldozers and chainsaws. 

It would be a terrible outcome if, in a futile quest for complete security, the natural areas of this beautiful park are destroyed.

Kathleen Blair


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