To the editor:
You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"
What little serenity one might find at Clinton State Park these days might soon be gone if plans to encourage private development there are executed. Local business interest in cahoots with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks would like to see a privately owned resort built at the lake near Lawrence. In the name of economic development, acres of forested land will be bulldozed to make way for new roads, power lines, sewage lines and water lines to support the new development.
Try to imagine the most scenic place in the park, with the best view of the lake and surrounding area. It probably has a trail or two in the vicinity which was built by volunteers under the
direction of the Kansas Trails Council. During certain seasons you might see eagles nesting in the trees or perhaps simply perched there, waiting for dinner to swim by. You might see wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, opossums, or any of a number of different species of songbirds. In the near future, you might also hear the roar of an approaching bulldozer, followed by cement trucks. After that you probably won't see the eagles, deer, opossums or songbirds much.
Once the resort goes belly-up because people won't pay to stay somewhere and look down on a muddy lake, where the weather is much too hot and muggy in the summer and pretty darn cold at times in the winter, you won't see much of anything. The trees will have been bulldozed, the wildlife will have left for a quieter, less urbanized location. But we will be left with the remnants of a short-lived economic revitalization project.
Let us not forget that Kansas ranks dead last in the United States in the amount of public land acreage. Can we really afford to bulldoze any of it to make way for someone to build a motel at the water's edge?
As Kansas Trails Council coordinator for the trails at Clinton Lake, having spent hundreds of hours working on the trails, having organized work parties of volunteers who have spent over a thousand hours in the last ten years working on those trails, I suggest there is no place at Clinton State Park for private development. There is simply not enough public land in this state as it is. Sacrificing any of it to private development would be an unpardonable sin against the people of this state!