To the editor:
It's that time of year again when wildflowers create beauty across Kansas. A recent visit to Akins' prairie found the rare and threatened Mead's milkweed in bloom. Fortunately, for the generosity and foresight of Tom Akins and family, residents and visitors of Lawrence are able to experience the awe of a remnant prairie in full bloom right here in Douglas County. The conservation easement Tom Akins placed on his unplowed prairie means that it will never be developed and that the wild grasses and flowers won't be disturbed. While not typical of conservation easements arranged through the Kansas Land Trust, the Akins family wanted to share this prairie. Visitors are welcome.
A little more than 10 years ago Lawrence boasted a privately owned remnant prairie five times larger than Akins'. The owner of Elkins' prairie decided to plow it under to ensure that it become more "productive." It was located near the Lecompton exit of I-70, at the head of the South Lawrence Trafficway. As a remnant prairie, it would have been a gateway to the city of unparalleled beauty.
How lucky we are in Douglas County to have landowners who understand that universally people have a deep longing to reconnect with that which we are a part of. The Akins provide us opportunity to satisfy that need at their prairie, now and forever more. We thank them.