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Archive for Saturday, July 14, 2012

A road to better wetlands

Site manager says division created by highway project will mend in time

July 14, 2012

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A History Restoring the Wetlands

Roger Boyd talks about his history with the Baker Wetlands Restoration Project and dealing with skepticism about returning the land to wetlands after years of cultivation. Enlarge video

You couldn’t blame Roger Boyd if he never laughed about any of this.

After all, this land now known as the Baker Wetlands hasn’t exactly been full of grins and giggles for Boyd over the years. Sure, there’s been this more than two-decade argument over whether the South Lawrence Trafficway should travel through the wetlands.

But the confounding ways of this property — one of the oddest pieces in Douglas County — began well before then.

To understand just how confounding, you have to know a little something about the spring of 1982. It was then that Boyd’s father, the venerable Baker biology professor Ivan Boyd, died on this piece of ground. He was burning the grasses of what back then was known by many simply as the Haskell Bottoms.

Boyd’s father was 78 years old — and had managed the property for 15 years — when a tractor accident on the property took his life.

Upon Ivan’s death, it was Roger’s turn to care for the property. Boyd, now the director of natural areas for Baker University, has been doing so for 30 years. Somewhere along the way, he’s become the face most associated with the 573 acres of wetlands that lie between Haskell Avenue and Louisiana Street. In some circles, he’s also become known as the man who sold out the future of the beloved natural area by agreeing to a Kansas Department of Transportation deal that would allow the controversial South Lawrence Trafficway to be built through a portion of the wetlands.

As the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the trafficway project last week, there’s now hope that chapter soon will be behind Boyd and this place.

Yes, Boyd said recently, the last 20 years of arguing has been hard to take at times. The accusations, the finger-pointing, the thought that the man who has given so much to these wetlands — and lost much, too — simply would stop caring about them.

He has, however, found an unlikely antidote for it all: a laugh every now and then.

“I’ve found it helps to keep a sense of humor,” Boyd said. “There are a lot of people who simply said things out of ignorance.”

• • •

Boyd kneels beside a pool of water that surrounds flowering hibiscus plants. The mud along the water’s edge is full of tracks of small animals, no doubt glad that the dry summer hadn’t yet sapped all the wet from these new wetlands.

Boyd points at the tracks and declares them to be raccoon. There’s much that Boyd points at these days on the about 150 acres of new property just west of Louisiana Street that Baker has acquired as part of a mitigation package with KDOT. (The university will get about 150 additional acres east of Haskell Avenue to convert to wetlands once road construction begins.) There’s a nearly 5-acre pond that attracts a host of waterfowl; there’s an 1,100-foot boardwalk that takes visitors through the area; and there’s a multitude of wetland plants that have established themselves on man-made berms, swells and low-lying areas.

Perhaps what Boyd likes to point at the most, though, is the John Deere.

“There’s going to be a visitors center where the green tractor is parked,” Boyd said to a recent group of visitors.

By the beginning of 2014, Baker University hopes to begin construction on a 10,000-square-foot visitors center. It will have a staff of three people, including an education coordinator to usher through what Boyd expects will be thousands of students a year who attend the center for field trips.

The theme of the visitors center will be: “What wetlands have done for you lately.” Boyd said it would be a shame if after all these years of fighting, people ended up forgetting why wetlands were important to begin with. Boyd and his son Jon — who in 2009 became the third generation of Boyds to work on the wetlands when he became the project refuge manager — are eager for the center to open. They believe that could be by the end of 2014, but they are not waiting until then to start sharing the story of the new property, which Baker began converting into wetlands in 2008 by moving 56,000 cubic yards of soil.

“We’ve had a lot of people come out and visit us already,” Jon said of the property, which is open to the public from dawn till dusk. “And I think we have changed a lot of opinions. I think we have convinced a lot of people that the wetlands really aren’t going to be lost.”

When the restoration project is complete, the property will have a host of other amenities to show off, including:

• Four entrances to provide easy public access to the property. The main entrance will be at the visitors center, which will be about a half-mile south and west of the current 31st and Louisiana intersection. Other entrances will be: off Haskell Avenue near the midpoint of the wetlands; off 1055 near the Wakarusa River; and off Louisiana Street extended, near where it intersects with the Wakarusa River.

• Bike trails that are part of the SLT project will be tied into the property.

• A camping area — designed for group camping activities of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other such groups — near the Wakarusa River.

And yes, Roger said, there will be wildlife to see, too. During one recent visit, he stopped in midsentence to tell visitors that, if they listened, they could hear the song of the Painted Bunting, a five-colored bird that Boyd considers perhaps the most beautiful in Kansas. Boyd said animals already are flocking to this property that once used to be a cornfield. He said recent bird counts on the property have found that there are at least 10 species of birds on the new property that were never officially recorded on the original wetlands property.

“There are still a lot of people who don’t believe you can convert a cornfield back to wetlands,” Boyd said. “Those are the people who haven’t been out here.”

“Or,” Jon added, “they close their eyes when they drive by.”

• • •

It was a bird that first brought Roger Boyd to what is now known as the Baker Wetlands. He was a junior at Baker University in 1967, and he came to the property with his father and esteemed Kansas University naturalist E. Raymond Hall. The trio was looking for a short-eared owl. What they found more of was trash.

In the late 1960s, Boyd said, much of the property between Haskell and Louisiana was corn and soybean fields with a little bit of pasture land. There were two pieces of native, undisturbed property on the east and west ends of the property, but Boyd estimates a full 80 percent of the 573-acre tract was being used for agricultural purposes. And trash dumping. It appeared the Haskell Bottoms were a convenient place to dump what the trash man would not take.

“I guess you could say that I wasn’t too impressed,” Boyd said about his first visit to the property.

Truth be told, it took quite awhile for Boyd to become impressed with the place. For the longest time, he simply struggled to manage the property. Most years he had a budget of $500 a year to care for the property. Back then, he was trying to establish native grasses on the site because he was convinced — as was his father — that the property could never again become wetlands once the Corps of Engineers controlled flooding on the Wakarusa by building Clinton Lake.

Then 1990 came, and Boyd may always remember that year as the turning point — or the year he started to become enamored with this place.

A student of his had found a grant that would provide funding to restore wetlands. And the student convinced Boyd that the Wakarusa didn’t need to continually flood for the property to be wetlands again. It simply needed to be allowed to hold the water it naturally collected.

By 1991, Boyd and a crew had found a large drainage pipe, 20 feet below the ground, that was taking water back to the Wakarusa. Surely, no one there knew how their discovery would change Douglas County.

“Once we plugged that pipe, it was like putting the plug in the bathtub,” Boyd said.

It didn’t take long for water to begin ponding and for the area to begin looking like wetlands. The property had never forgotten how to be one. Boyd said despite the property once being farm ground, its natural disposition is to be a wetland. It has heavy clay soils that allow water to easily pond. And then there is the almost freakish natural element to the land: From the wetlands, you actually have to walk uphill to get to the Wakarusa River. The combination of the extremely heavy soils and the slow-moving Wakarusa has created a scenario that when the Wakarusa floods it quickly deposits the heavy soils near the river’s edge. Over centuries, that has caused the ground at the river to be about five feet higher than the ground just a few hundred feet from the river.

As the wetlands developed in the 1990s, Boyd had grown to really like the place. Then, the controversial South Lawrence Trafficway shifted shapes following a legal defeat. A new plan to build the road along a route known as 32nd Street was put forward. The route would go right through the Baker Wetlands.

“I most vividly remember when the proposal for the 32nd Street route came up,” Boyd said. “My first reaction was: ‘Are you crazy?’ We had worked so hard to convert these back to wetlands. Why would we want a road to go through it?”

But Boyd chose to listen to the Kansas Department of Transportation as it presented a mitigation plan. Eventually, Boyd began to believe the overall wetlands could be improved by the project. KDOT would build far more wetlands than the road would take. In total, KDOT will pay for Baker to build 304 acres of wetlands to replace the 56 acres that will be taken by the trafficway. Importantly, KDOT will provide Baker with an approximately $9 million endowment to manage the wetlands. Baker is scheduled to receive that money in late 2013, when construction on the road begins.

•• •

Today, the Boyds, perhaps, have never been happier at the wetlands.

Roger called last week’s finding by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that the road project could continue like “Christmas in July.”

Jon lives at the property in an old farmhouse and gets to work full time with his father, which he said is “mostly enjoyable.”

But the happiness doesn’t just stem from the current moment. Jon is convinced that the new 304 acres of wetlands eventually will become seen as an “olive branch” to those who opposed the SLT project over concerns of the effects it would have on the wetlands.

Roger also is convinced the future is going to be much different. Whether it’s two years from now, five years, 10 years or who knows when, Boyd believes people who were once friends before this road project created such division will come back together again.

“Once the threat of this goes away, once it actually happens, there will be people who give it a second chance,” Boyd said. “I know there will be.”

In fact, Boyd goes a step further. He predicts that some of the best volunteers at Baker’s new wetlands will be the people who have fought the hardest against the road because there is no doubt that they care for this place.

But that thought does create a natural question: What will it be like when old friends, separated by a road, come back together?

“Well,” Roger said. “I think that is where that sense of humor is going to come in handy.”

Comments

msezdsit 2 years, 5 months ago

pave it over. That will cure everything

KrampusLawrence 2 years, 5 months ago

The title should have been an Roger Boyd and his 9 Million Dollar Legacy." Of course the Boyd's are happy, they get new land and money to play with.

BigRedW 2 years, 5 months ago

You do realize that Baker University is getting the money, not the Boyd family. I am sure that some of that money will be for their salary, but they don't get the rest to buy personal items with.

KrampusLawrence 2 years, 5 months ago

Of course I realize that. But the Boyd family has been managing the program for how many years? And when this is remembered it will be Roger Boyd who is credited with securing the money.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 5 months ago

My daughter and I go out there, she goes alone sometimes as she says that it restores her spirit. She is now interested in native plants that can be used as food and as medicine. She has a friend that knows all this and she has had a great time learning. It would be nice if they put up a campground for senior citizens who would love to camp but can't sleep on the ground anymore. All in all this sounds like a good deal.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

The work Boyd has done is certainly commendable, but the fact remains he's motivated by what's in it for him, and nowhere in his mind is there any concern with what Haskell wants for property that never should have been diverted to Baker.

BigRedW 2 years, 5 months ago

either you can read people's minds or you are Boyd. Other wise you can't tell me what Boyd is thinking so stop spewing what you want him to be thinking and leave it be.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm merely stating the obvious-- no mind reading required.

Catalano 2 years, 5 months ago

I knew I could count on you, Bozo, to point out this little part of the story that wasn't.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 5 months ago

Wasn't it the BIA that gave the Haskell managed land to Baker, after KU rejected receiving it? Either way, I think that true healing won't happen until Haskell is better integrated into whatever happens next. Maybe some of the wetlands management or the visitor's center management can be shared between Haskell and Baker?

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

This suggestion is like giving a guy who already has trouble with gas, a case of beans for Christmas. What possible positive outcome would you expect from that. HINU isn't interesting in "managing" anything. Controlling, maybe - managing, no.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, I'm glad you're not speaking for either of the concerned parties, since you seem very eager to write off the possibility of dialogue. Your flatulence metaphor is equally offensive and unnecessary. Thanks for the low hanging fruit-armchair Bronx cheer.

Amy Albright 2 years, 5 months ago

Three generations of Boyds have tirelessly worked to clean up and restore this area. Through thick and thin, they've never stopped educating students and the community about conservation and wildlife. In a few short years they've demonstrated how to restore a corn field to a diverse habitat. No doubt they'll continue to make the new area amazing, and increase their educational reach. Thank you Roger and Jon, for making lemonade out of this KDOT lemon. I can't think of better stewards for this important place.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 5 months ago

You think they are immune to mosquito bites by now?

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

mending.....really.....saying our religious worship consisted of beer cans as you did in the Baker Orange.......really.........you have created a whole generation of people who don't know or care about green corn dances like the Shawnee, Seneca-Cayuga, and Cherokee people have.....Sundances that are part of the Lakota and Northern Plains Culture and are the reason part of the southwest area along the Wakarusa was sold off because they were being held in that area until White BIA officials sold off the land to stop the practice.....Stomp Dances that are more than a thousand years old that are part of the culture of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Yuchi, Natchez, Alabamu, Coushatta, amongst others. Your White anthro....Paul Brockington said none of this because what would a White guy know about indigenous peoples and besides when your opinion is purchased by the pressure of the people above what is necessary to write anyway? Brockington wouldn't know a stomp dance from a sundance from a green corn dance anyway.... This isn't over.....I'm already beginning my goal of making the United Methodist Church answer for your actions. The same church that manipulated the Wyandotte, Shawnee, and Kaw tribes for land and removal to the point that I went to a reconciliation ceremony on the Baker campus that the late historian Brenda Day held. The same church that had Reverend John Chivington who led the massacre of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people at Sand Creek that hasn't totally apologized yet. The same church that is letting people like you infringe on the First Amendment of indigenous peoples. The Supreme Courts loves First Amendment cases....you know Larry Flynt, Fred Phelps, Tinker V. Des Moines, heck they even respect the rights of the Klan. Infringing on our first amendment rights with worship issues.,.really.... I stomp danced in Quapaw, Oklahoma last weekend and at Copan in May. We have cultures. You have simpletons who ignore our culture.... guess whose going to be on trial now.....

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 5 months ago

Add me to the list that really does not care. Tuschi, you have got to be one of the worst ambassadors for Haskell that I can remember.

50YearResident 2 years, 5 months ago

Tuscha has had a big chip on his shoulder about this wetlands road project. It got knocked off by the road approval ruling. So, what did he do? He replaced that chip with another one twice the size. What will happen when that one is knocked off?

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 5 months ago

Well said, one of the saddest things about Lawrence is all of the contempt you see for the Native American culture and the University. This has to change. I also find it horrifying that though time both the Catholic and Protestant churches have been used to convert or destroy native cultures in order to steal their land and assets.

Liberty275 2 years, 5 months ago

"you have created a whole generation of people who don't know or care about green corn dances like the Shawnee, Seneca-Cayuga, and Cherokee '

I don't see Native Americans at the RenFest either. You ignore our culture and we'll ignore yours.

classclown 2 years, 5 months ago

What is it like going through life thinking that you're more important than you really are?

april28 2 years, 5 months ago

Boyd's comment near the end of the story is critical: the most ardent opponents will become allies. The battle is over and now everyone must start working together to make the new place the best that it can be.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

A simpleton could be a person who types "whose" when "who's" would be the correct usage.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

"I fail to see how this particular piece of land has ever had much significance to the Native American culture."

Yea, that's why several area tribes sued to keep this land from being paved over-- because it has no significance to them.

Why do so many here persist in telling Haskell and Indians in general what ought or ought not matter to them?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

More than a hundred years of history. In the early years, when the "students" at Haskell were for all practical purposes inmates, this area of the campus was the only place that they could find a bit of refuge from their oppressors, and spend time with their families, from whom they were generally forcibly removed.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 5 months ago

I think he would rather bitch. Tushi should go national. He would fit in real good with Louis Faracan, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.

kcwarpony 2 years, 5 months ago

The route KDOT prefers for the SLT would put it right through land that has historical, cultural, and religious importance to us Indians. We know and understand Haskell's history better than anyone. Many students died of tuberculosis or pneumonia from living in Haskell's cold, damp buildings and from poor medical care. Not to mention malnutrition, injuries, abuse and other diseases. Those who have researched the National Archives says that as many as 700 students are missing from the official records. Some people, including myself, believe that a few of those students are buried in that 573 acres that used to be a part of Haskell. No, we can't prove it and even if we could point out where those graves are, we wouldn't. Too many of our relatives have been dug up by grave robbers and those who want to study us. I believe any disturbance would be a desecration. Just because the land does not belong to Haskell does not mean we don't have strong ties to it. All we are asking is to leave the historical impact that the land has had on generations of Haskell students intact and to leave us a peaceful environment from which to practice our spirituality. This is a difference of cultures and most people do not want to take the time to understand, much less show respect.

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

"save the glacier dirt" fight would tie that idea up in court for year too..

Richard Heckler 2 years, 5 months ago

It is a environmental and tax dollar blunder inspired by local developers which makes this road clearly a pork barrel project.

Ace Cleaning 2 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence will step aside for progressive development only after expensive litigation.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 5 months ago

As I see it the obsolete SLT route:

  1. is too expensive

  2. is not the best choice

  3. dumps too much traffic in an already congested area

  4. destroys valuable flood control aka wetlands which saves taxpayers bundles of money

  5. destroys valuable wildlife habitat

  6. destroys an environmentally sensitive area

  7. destroys a spiritually sensitive area

  8. is not the original south of the river choice

  9. does not have the long term impact that the original choice provides

  10. Locals have already suggested YET another roadway further south = grab your tax dollars cuz locals are looking to spend them for you.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

They way I see it Merrill - 1. it is less expensive than SOR or East Connector 2. it is now the only choice so by default it is the best one 3. dumps it where? The current one dumps it on Iowa - finishing it dumps it nowhere, idiot 4. The SLT will expand the wetlands, not decrease it 5. The SLT will expand the habitat by 360 acres, that's MORE wildlife habitat, not less 6. And once again it will restore 360 acres more environmentally sensitive land that will actually be quieter with more solitude than currently, due to the 12 ft tall noise wall 7. it will impact <10% of the spiritually sensitive area - that means >90% remains - get it? 8. There is nothing precious about the ill-conceived, DOA, road two miles further south. Things change, get over it!!!! 9. this is highly debatable! It will have a much greater immediate impact and will not promote urban growth south of the river. Or was that what you were hoping for? 10. that was you who was promoting another road further south. That doesn't count. They are also dreaming about an eastern connector that will never happen either, so what's your point?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

I think I have lived too long. There exists a damned mosquito ridden swamp south of town that a bunch of crazies seem to think is in some way beneficial to the area. The local community decides to build a bypass road to relieve traffic congestion (If you do not own a car or do not like cars, I don't really give a damn). And now some dude wants to recreate this public nuisance in a new location near town. Is there anything more stupid and crazy????

The Haskell swamp in in violation of city ordnances in regards to standing water nuisances. But the local crazies seem to have lost all sense and priority for reasons that elude me. I know you might not have a job that pays $100.00 an hour and that you pay a hign rent or your kids are cooking meth, but why in the hell do you feel it is necessary to pursue this absolutely stupid and pointless notion that we need a new mosquito ridden swamp near the south city limits?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

So, what is your point other than to demonstrate your complete ignorance on the nature of wetlands habitats?

tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

Yeo, take some biology classes. You might learn how wetlands actually benefit people. Standing water in your back yard does not include all the frogs and birds who eat insects. You are more likely to be bitten in your backyard than in wetlands.

George_Braziller 2 years, 5 months ago

I've spent a lot of time at the wetlands at all times of the day. I've had some flies pester me but I honestly don't think I've ever even seen a mosquito.

JackMcKee 2 years, 5 months ago

Remember when they removed the beaver dam because the water was threatening to undermine 31st street and the entire Northern side of the wetlands ceased to exist? Then the environwackos went out and started rebuilding the beaver dam to encourage the beaver to rebuild? Good God these are some odd people.

goodrider 2 years, 5 months ago

This is a developer' dream: Destroy an existing wetlands environment, maintained by nature for countless eons, and replace it with an artificial one that requires continuous human maintenance and public funding to preserve. No doubt, during the next economic crises - one which will surely come - the public will be convinced that the state, county, city, etc. cannot afford to pay for continued maintenance of the artificial wetlands and also that the sale of the land will provide much needed revenue. I would bet that plans exists in some stashed away arcinfo or autocad file that show, not a wetlands, but, instead, a housing project or, perhaps, another strip mall. The developers of the highway project waited at least 20 years and spent millions of dollars to destroy the wetlands. This project must have more value than just a simple alternative traffic corridor. I am sure that the powers-that-be are willing to wait another 20 years for the public to grow weary of the cost of maintenance and then they will get to develop the alternative wetlands property. In the end the area around what was once the Akarusa Wetlands will be urban blight requiring further mitigation to control the negative effects of increased traffic and development.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

"Destroy an existing wetlands environment, maintained by nature for countless eons,"

Actually, these are restored wetlands. In much of this area, during the late 19th/early 20th centuries, the natural wetlands were drained and farmed, with mixed success. And with the damming of the Wakarusa at Clinton, it no longer floods these areas as it had for thousands of years previously.

But you could be very right in every other respect.

riverdrifter 2 years, 5 months ago

By the time they deeded it to Baker the wetlands were so revered by Haskell that they (and other folks) used it as a dump. I worked out there as a student of Ivan Boyd in the 1970's. We loaded up trash, tires, liqour/beer bottles, piles of broken cinder blocks, piles of discarded sheetrock, clothing, water heaters, carpet, furniture, mattresses, 55-gallon drums, you name it. We hauled it off by the semi-load. It was beyond a mess. Had this continued to the present, the wetlands might well be a super-fund site. Sometimes things happen for a reason. Haskell's deeding the land to Baker was the best thing that could've happened to it. Finish the SLT and continue the expansion of the wetlands to the south.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

At the time it was deeded over, Haskell was still run by white administrators who couldn't care less about what the students or the various tribes it served thought about anything.

And despite your attempts to demonize Haskell over the condition of that land, nearly all of that garbage out there was deposited by the mostly white residents of Douglas County, not by the students of Haskell.

As long as Baker was merely restoring wetlands, rather than cashing in on highway projects, they had no real concern about who held nominal ownership. But that's no longer the case.

riverdrifter 2 years, 5 months ago

"nearly all of that garbage out there was deposited by the mostly white residents of Douglas County, not by the students of Haskell." Wrong. It was easy to discern what came from the college and what came from somewhere else.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

And you do understand that when the land was transferred, Haskell was an institution run (ostensibly) for Indians, not by them, don't you?

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

So why don't the students at HINU volunteer to come down and help clean up more of the dump sometime...it is still there.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 5 months ago

Bottom line is that there needs to be some reconciliation between the folks at Haskell who DO care now and Baker who manages the wetlands now. This still hasn't happened, and it needs to happen for all concerned. How to proceed?

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Get rid of Bozo and Tuschie, oh wait, neither of them are at HINU. Oral history will keep the folks at HINU from reconciling so what is the point. They will believe what they want to believe. Why don't you have a sit down with Roger and Jon, see how receptive they are to your ideas.

ljwhirled 2 years, 5 months ago

Cuz the current Haskell administration is doing such a bang up job.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Goodrider, You are about as jaded as Tuschie. Essentially all wetlands require maintenance, even the Everglades. Baker University and its staff have been excellent stewards of this land for 44 years without hardly any money. I think they should be able to manage quite well on the endowment mentioned in the article. Besides, why should you care? You won't even be around through the next "move cycle"...isn't that about 5 years now?

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Earlier Bozo exclaimed: "Boyd is motivated by what's in it for him, and nowhere in his mind is there any concern with what Haskell wants for property that never should have been diverted to Baker." OK - let's think about this. BIA didn't purchase what is now the Baker Wetlands until 1902. They farmed it until 1934 (32 yr) and then they leased it to local farmers until 1968 (34 yr) and then it was deeded to Baker University (44 yr ago). If BIA had retained ownership is it likely that anything would have changed in the past 44 years under HINU management? This is a NO! It would appear that they have no interest or knowledge about managing anything that can't be mowed. In fact, 31st Street probably wouldn't exist (it wasn't there until 1971) and what is N 1250 road would probably have been the preferred alignment of the SLT in 1985 and it would have been built through the middle of the wetlands in 1996...all with the blessings of BIA and HINU. In fact, Bozo, the Baker Wetlands only has such "cultural significance" to Native Americans because Baker did go to the effort of restoring it to wetlands.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

You are amazing at fiction, what do you think it would be like today if BIA still owned it? Yes, my scenario is speculation but it is based upon past and present BIA protocol and actions. HINU would have done nothing different because there was/is no expertise at HINU to do otherwise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

You're still speculating.

Regardless, what Haskell might have done with isn't the issue. The issue is what Baker is about to do to it-- pave it over.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Impacting <10% is hardly "paving it over". And by the way, you are the one who is speculating about the unmarked graves and spiritual importance. At least I can point to past AND present practices to support my speculation. But in the end NEITHER can be proven, can they? You can rant all you want, but according to the articles in the paper it looks like the SLT is going to happen...oh, but I guess that is speculation also?

riverdrifter 2 years, 5 months ago

"In fact, Bozo, the Baker Wetlands only has such "cultural significance" to Native Americans because Baker did go to the effort of restoring it to wetlands."

100% correct!

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

yes, and White interests like the sugarcane and real estate industry are the reason for the issues in the everglades. Money spoke there and tried to stop the restoration of a river there that would help with the restoration of the everglades. money also spoke with the multiple oii exploration canals near the intercoastal waterway in Houma and Cajun Country southeast of where I grew up at in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. Money is the religion of White people. Iskulli anumpuli (money talks). Money didn't speak to John Muir....money spoke to Gifford Pinchot.....I took Environmental lab and lecture in college....money spoke to Teddy Roosevelt when he took away Blue Lake from the Taos people only to have Richard Nixon return the lake 62 years after the White people took it. I see the statue of Alice Ann Callahan, beloved Baker Art History Professor in front of the Baker Library. This a direct quote from her book "The Osage Ceremonial Dance I'n Lon Schka" on pages 4 and 5 of the introduction....."The American colonists and missionaries not only tried to push the Indians from their lands, but they also tried to eradicate Indian culture. This lack of sympathy for other's culture was reflected in the outlawing of many of the Indian ceremonial dances by the end of the nineteenth century, especially the Ghost Dance and the Sun Dance. Indian agents in South Dakota in the 1880's referred to the Sun Dance as that heathenish annual ceremony and that aboriginal and that barbarish festival. Through the influence of missionaries, Indian agents, and other white interest groups against these pagan ceremonies, the US Interior Department formulated a criminal code in the late nineteenth century forbidding Indian religious practices. Penalties were established, and this criminal code was still in effect until 1933. These laws of the Whites served the purpose of decreasing the threat of the collective solidarity of the tribes." What does it say when a now deceased Baker University professor and Osage Indian speaks against the actions of a college where she worked. Why was there worship in the wetlands? For the very reasons that the late Professor Callahan spoke of above. Why was until 1993 when a federal law allowed tribal religions on Haskell land that the prayer wheel was built? The United Methodist Church like the Baptist Church, and Catholic Church, and the Presbyterian and Moravian or Bretheren Churches have to answer for their sins against indigenous peoples. Why is it that the UN has a tribunal that deals with indigenous people's issues and why is it that Oklahoma got a guilty conscience when a UN tribal liason visited there in May? Actions not words......Baker is a Methodist college........actions not words....

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Tuschie, Actions do speak louder than words. Baker University received the land and converted it in to wetlands for everyone to enjoy/worship/whatever not just for Baker students. What I learned from Dr. Boyd the younger is that wetlands are not static. Management can not be passive. If the land was returned to BIA/HINU there would be no maintenance and the character of the land would change considerably...but then since you have NO WESTERN SCIENTIFIC background, I can't expect you to understand the significance of that. Please, just stick to your stomp dances and we will all be better off. Here's an idea - go to the chapel garden on the Baker campus and do a stomp dance there. See how that turns out for you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

"Tuschie, Actions do speak louder than words. Baker University received the land and converted it in to wetlands for everyone to enjoy/worship/whatever not just for Baker students."

And now they're getting paid to let them be paved over. That action speaks quite loudly, and pretty much wipes out the positive actions taken up to now.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

The benefits of the entire mitigation package have been spelled out several times and through different venues. It is unfortunate that you are so self-serving that the ONLY agenda you have relates to the speculation that this is a spiritual location and contains unmarked graves. It completely prevents you from comprehending that there are other speculations that might be just as legitimate. Good luck with your continued narrow-mindedness, not to mention self-rightousness.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

" If the land was returned to BIA/HINU there would be no maintenance and the character of the land would change considerably."

You're still speculating.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

"This area is sacred and contains indian children graves"....you're still speculating.

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

pointless apologies.....

December 19, 2009 U.S. Passes a law that includes an Apology to Native peoples. Never presented formally or publicly to Native Americans or the public.

A Resolution of Apology to the Native Peoples of the United States was attached to H.R. 3326, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010. The President of the United States signed it, but he never presented it publicly to the American people. It says, in part,

Sec. 8113. (a) Acknowledgment and Apology- The United States, acting through Congress--

(3) recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes;

(4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;

(6) urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land.

1996 Methodists Apologize for the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado in 1863.

The General Council of The United Methodist Church in the United States extended apologies to the Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples and asked for forgiveness for the death of over 200 persons, mostly women and children, who died in the state of Colorado in the Sand Creek Massacre on November 29, 1863. It was especially motivated to make this apology because Col. John Chivington, the man who led the massacre, was a lay Methodist minister at the time of the massacre. The 1996 Methodist Church Resolution said in part,

“Therefore, be it resolved, that this body of the 1996 General Conference extend to all Cheyenne and Arapaho a hand of reconciliation and ask forgiveness for the death of over 200 persons, mostly women and children, who died in this state where this great conference is being held; and

“Be it further resolved, that The United Methodist Church offer at this General Conference a healing service of reconciliation, asking that tribal leaders, elders, and spiritual leaders come and sit with us, pray with us, and bless us; and let us heal the past and offer to one another the gifts with which God (Ma-Hay-O) has blessed each of us, acknowledging that racism is a sin, but also seeing one another as whole people who need one another, as we acknowledge that we also need God.”

apologies mean nothing when sinners keep sinning and ask for forgiveness...

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

you have no respect for Native cultures Idaho and if you forget I was a United Methodist minister's kid from 1970 to 1992 in parsonages for the most part except when I was at Baker from 1988 to 1989. I grew up in parsonages at Plainfield, Ohio near Coshocton and Newcomerstown (Delaware/Shawnee/ Munsee area), Elyria, Ohio (Wyandotte, Seneca-Cayuga area), Jonesville, LA, (Troyville culture, Creek, Avoyel, Taensa, Natchez, Choctaw area), Moss Bluff, LA (Attakapa, Akokisa, Coushatta, Redbone area), Shreveport, LA (ancestral Caddo area) Manhattan, KS, ( Pawnee, Kaw, Delaware, and Potawatomi area) McLouth, KS, (Pawnee, Kaw, Kickapoo, Delaware area), and Tecumseh, KS, (Kaw and Shawnee area). I know the John Wesley side and the Thomas Huffaker side of Methodist history and the history of each area I lived in. I've seen the occasional good side of the UMC and many of the bad sides of the UMC and organized religion for that manner. I grew up in the Oauchita and Catehoula wetlands in Jonesville and the Calsasieu wetlands between Moss Bluff and Lake Charles and I traveled through the Atchafalaya Basin and the Pascagoula and Chickasawhay wetlands going to the Gulf of Mexico in Pascagoula as a child. I'd say you have no leg to stand on concerning wetlands, being a minister's kid, and talking about indigenous history. I Stomp Dance as a statement that you didn't win.....America is 236 years old. The Nunih Waiya Mound in Mississippi is three or four times that old. Poverty Point Mounds in Louisana date to 2500 to 3500 BC. Stomp dancing is at least a thousand years old. tribal lands were taken stop ceremonies back then and your SLT is no different now. Hope you don't feel any guilt.....most americans don't......

Ken Lassman 2 years, 5 months ago

Is reconciliation possible? Is a discussion about the possibility of reconciliation between those at Haskell/Indian Nations and Baker/UMC even possible? And if so, who would have to be at that table?

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Give it five years. Most of the opponents will have moved on - physically or emotionally. The ones that didn't wouldn't be the ones that would ever come to the table anyway.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Are these two pointless, rambling diatribes supposed to impact anyone...in a positive way? I can't tell if you are proud of all the experiences and opportunities you have had or you are complaining that your dad dragged you all over the place against your will while preaching Methodism, a religion you so clearly abhor. Sounds like you have some inner demons that you need to get a handle on!

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

actually Idaho I've spoken pinki aba ish binihli ma, chi hochiffo hvt holitopashke, ish apelichika yvt alashke, nana ish aiahne ka yakni pakna ya a yohmi kat, aba yakni a yohmi mak on chiyuhmashke. Himmal nitak ilhpak pim alhpesa kakon ish pi ipetashke. Mikmat nana il aheka puta ish pin kashofi kvt. pishno vt nana pim aheka puta il in kashofi chatuk an ish chiyuhmichashke. Mikmvt, anukpulika yoka ik ia chik pim aiahno hosh, amba nan okpulo an ish pi a hlakofihinchashke. Apelichika, mikmat nan isht ai aianhli, micha isht aholitopa aiena kvt chimmi a bilia yoke. (The Lord's Prayer in Choctaw) at a UMC Church more than once and sang Shilombish holitopa ma ish minti pulla cha, Hattak ilbvsha pia ha ish pi yokpulashke (Amazing Grace) at the Baldwin United Methodist church, Shallow short memoried no history americans......english only.....what you miss out on. chipisalichikki nahollo ilbvsha.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

I hope you can comprehend how terribly impressed I am!!!

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

Remains of children are found at Brantford by the Mohawks and ITCCS Monday, November 28, 2011 Archaeological digs at the Anglican church's Indian residential school in Brantford, Canada have uncovered children's bones and other evidence of mass murder. The dig is organized by sovereign Mohawk elders and Kevin Annett of the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (http://www.itccs.org)

Canadians were abusing native students into the 1970's while the US did so until the 1960's. Canada was paying claims like the Catholoc Church until the Conservative Steven Harper went Dubya Bush and backed out of settlements that were already agreed to. You want a Civil Rights issue to blow up in your face go ahead and step in front of it. Just like the developer at the end of Poltergeist telling the dad I didn't know there were bodies as the spirits swallowed the Craig T. Nelson's home.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

Yes, in deed. Those things happened as there is direct evidence. Whereas there is no direct evidence, nor even oral history of graves in the Baker Wetlands...nor the Haskell Wetlands. As Bozo keeps saying - you are still speculating. You talk a lot. How come you have NEVER been involved in any of the protests that WPO has had at HINU, downtown, or on 31st Street? Hope you have your "dozer running shoes" handy.

akt2 2 years, 5 months ago

Interesting article. Not many have actual knowledge of the land and the ability to observe the habitat right down to the latest species. How can you argue with truth and Painted Buntings?

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

your evidence will occur when that road does hits bones. then you will be done unless someone suppresses it. I visited that boarding school in the summers of 2002 and 2003 going to the Grand River Haudenosaunee Reserve to the southeast of Brantford named for the British/Mohawk Leader Joseph Brant (Thayendeaga). They found these graves on the campus which wasn't that big of a campus. There are a hundred other reports of places where children were abused and dumped across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Colombia. Something like 50,000 children went missing in the Canadian residential Indian school system over 70 years. Canada and the US both did the Indian Boarding School thing and the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 5 months ago

Lets see. The area is a man made floodplain many have been calling a wetlands, so I would assume that the wonderful new road we call the SLT will be build above grade. Many dump trucks will bring in new dirt to build the road up above the man made cess pool, thus there is no reason to disturb anything that is below the surface.

Liberty275 2 years, 5 months ago

While I don't really see these as wetlands, the newer section on that curvy road south of 31st looks to be nicely done. As long as they keep the water diked up and control it's loss, it should come out OK.

The bit along 31st is a blight because it's just filthy standing water. Thanks to the beavers, the south side isn't as bad, and once you get back into the country it's interesting but not very wet.

I would move the road about 200 feet south of 32nd though because there are some trails north of 32nd worth protecting.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Das tushie has built himself an escape hatch. If the graves he's predicted aren't found, it's because the White Devils have suppressed the evidence. Clever he is.

Liberty275 2 years, 5 months ago

Beige Devil is more accurate. I know I'm beige.

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

Idaho....I did protests a decade ago when you were in diapers. I submitted comments to EIS and SEIS documents. I did paralegal work with NEPA, TCP, Sacred Sites, Section 106, and NAGPRA. I copied off eighty ratified treaties between the US Government and tribes where education was promised in return for the cession of tribal lands (Civilization Act of March 3, 1819) at Baker and let WPO use them against Baker. I saw the racism firsthand at the commenting sessions at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in 2003 after returning from pow wows in Ontario and Quebec, Canada. When one Dan Lambert is allowed to speak early and leave while hundreds of Native people including myself waited until midnight to comment to the US Army Corps of Engineers about the trafficway. When one group suppresses evidence long enough as you all have there is a price to pay.

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

You ask me as a Choctaw/Biloxi descendant whose people were split up through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma with only the Mississippi and Oklahoma Choctaw tribes being federally recognized and the rest being dispersed with state or no legal recognition at all to overlook the actions of the US Government and some American people....my ancestors family applied for Dawes Allotments in Oklahoma in 1906 and were denied by the Dawes Commission 76 years after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek removed many Choctaw people to Oklahoma with many dying on the way and others scattered in a way the federal government would never recognize them. You naively call the wetlands now beautiful without realizing what they looked like before White BIA officials ordered Haskell students to lay down tiles to aid in the drainage of the wetlands so to attempt farming a century ago. In typical White manner....give the Indians the worst land to farm with....sandy soil, crops flooded out before Clinton Lake existed. I cannot overlook what your culture can't bring itself to admit or to do the right and respectful thing and not build the road through that area. Imagine what any of this area looked like when buffalo predated cattle and were environmentally better for the land and water. Sometimes when I'm on Skyline Drive between Eskridge and Alma, Kansas, I close my eyes and see Pawnee, Osage, or Kaw warriors coming over the horizon in the Flint Hills or I see an area along Mill Creek and later see a picture in a History of Wabaunsee County book where some of the last Citizen Band Potawatomi in Kansas had wigwams in that area in the 1870's. If you consider the battered and soon to be more battered area that Baker stole beautiful maybe the eye is in the beholder whose seen no other wetlands. I saw the wetlands of the Little and Oauchita Rivers around Jonesville, LA, as a child. I saw the Atchafalaya Basin in the 1970's and my folks took me to Avery Island, the home of Tobasco Sauce, as a child. We drove though areas where the road on levees was the only ground above water in Louisiana. This whole arguement from my perspective is one of forcibly removing childred for years from their homes, cutting their hair, outlawing their culture and their languages with threats of starvation and imprisonment, forcing them to wetlands to worship without abuse from christians and then having a white man say that nothing sacred happened there in spite of the persecution that drove Indian kids to go awol from the campus. For many years a class was offered at Haskell called Contemporary Issues. Many kids came out activists due to what now retired Mississippi Choctaw Haskell Professor Raymond Farve spoke about concerning the miscarriages of justice in the country against indigenous peoples.

IdahoWinds 2 years, 5 months ago

So your response to Liberal was that the Baker Wetlands look like crap because you have seen better elsewhere and it doesn't matter because its not about wetlands its about stolen land and mistreatment of Indian children. Is that correct?

Comment noted, then.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

And the beat goes on. Yes, I do recognize that that 100 or more years ago, the European invaders committed grave and vicious evils against the native americans that lived on this contenant. It is well known history. What really rankles me is that now, after all this past history is gone and gthe persons who committed these agregious acts are long dead, that the decendants of the native americans seem to somehow think that they have a free shot at the current people who live here who are not decendands of the native american occupants of this land. Rhey drive cars, live in modern dwellings, use electricity, buy food at the supermarkets, and generally have evolved into the modern life we all lead. But somehow feel that due to evil things that happened 100 years ago somehow give them the right to protest and complain about past injustice and have rights and priviliges that supercede the citizens of the nation that do not trace their heritage back to the original native americans.

All this flap about the Haskell swamp and the Lawrence Trafficway are merely a lot of foolishness by persons who have not yet discovered responsibilities in our modern day society and are only out to make trouble for the community.

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

I've worked paid taxes and held the same job of fifteen years all the while fighting this road so you're not talking to me. The rights you are so angry about have always existed and people now are being assailed for the actions of those who ran roughshod. Many cultures hand the battle to the next generation. I trace my ancestry back to Choctaw, Biloxi, and Cherokee people along with German, Scotch, Irish, and English people. I know where I came from. I drive a car speak English and Choctaw, and have to drive 150 miles or more to participate in southeastern tribal cultural practices. Yes many people live in a couple of worlds. Know anything about the aftermath of colonialism? What about the responsibility of being good to the land and the sky? I'd say many americans fail at that....

devobrun 2 years, 5 months ago

Tushkahouma, I can't imagine the weight of the cultural burden you speak of. Your writings are stream of unconscience feelings that tell a story of loss. Your sad telling of stories of lost culture provide no clue as to remedy. You travel to pow wows in a car, on roads. You will go to the hospital to have your appendix out if necessary....You will live in white man's culture which is based upon a reductionist philosophy. And then you evaluate the world on the basis of holistic feelings-based native perspectives.

How's that workin' out for ya, tusch? It seems that your words on this blog come with stains from the tears that must roll down your face. Tears of anger, tears of sadness.

Reductive analysis of the SLT has settled upon a solution that benefits the traveler.  It benefits the flora and fauna in the wetlands.  And it could have benefitted the Indians of Haskell if they had joined the team.  But by joining the people who actively engage the world, rather than simply experiencing the world, the native perspective is lost. So you fight the road and the new wetlands....and you recieve nothing but tears for your loss.  It is the story of indigenous people all over the world.

notorious_agenda 2 years, 5 months ago

If you can work and pay taxes at the same job for 15 years, why then can you not go effect positive chance once on the "wetlands" in that time? If you can drive 150 miles to participate in cultural practices, why then can you not drive the few miles to the "wetland" and preform your fundamental cultural practice of having responsibility to the Land and the Sky? Talk is cheap. Matter of fact after 20 years talk is an insult now.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 2 years, 5 months ago

Wetlands, whining, winding roads, grinding bones, growling tomes...all concrete dust in the wind and our lungs. Our power to destroy is taken into our hearts until their is nothing left but our bickering, which echoes off of the walls of our crumbling castles. So is it really necessary to keep writing our pie hole blather? what good has it done? Money wins in this world's "big" picture...end of story. There is violence and there is love. There is no winning. There is no losing. The bones of love and hate just flowing in waves over our land and this world is a grave, an animation of death, or just the way it is...with tiny little bugs crawling over every bit of it, imagining themselves the center of the universe because they feel the magic of life.

I dare us all to SHUT UP and live with a smile on our face, at least SOME of the time!~) I shut up now, yes? SHUT UP is good gravy for to eat the world!~)

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

I drive roughly 400 miles in a week and even with the supposed traffic issues I've never needed this road. the chamber of commerce, the developers, the republicans....they need this road just like their ancestors needed all the railroads that are now abandoned like the one running east of the wetlands.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

In an earlier post, you mentioned being good to the land and sky. Yet here you say you drive 400 miles per week. That's an awful lot of pollution you're pumping into the environment. Of course, I'm sure you can justify it in some way. Create some rationale that would justify your behavior.

The point is, though, what you're really doing is compromising. We all do it. Even when people say they want to maintain the environment but this road or that road is still needed. You compromise your values of maintaining the sky every time you turn on your ignition. And others do it when they want to drive around 23rd. St. traffic, even if the road did disrupt a little swamp.

Why is their compromise wrong, but your compromise is OK?

COjayrocks 2 years, 5 months ago

You should start walking 400 miles per week when you need to travel. Then you will NEVER need to use the roads the white man has forced upon you.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Reading this thread is much better than simply driving your enemies before you and hearing the lamentations of their women.

Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

I love hearing the comments of those people who come at me with that American yeoman work ideal nonsense. The people who parse out words from a statement to create a strawman attack. The reason I go to Oklahoma is because this area is a plains and eastern woodland culture area. You know, Kaw, Osage, Comanche, Kiowa, Ponca, and Omaha, along with Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Sac and Fox, and Iowa cultures. Northern and Southern Drum country. Stomp or Round Dancing is a southeastern cultural practice amongst Muscogee, Tsaligi, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Yuchi, Natchez, and Shawnee peoples. The Shawnee people lived everywhere in the east from Pennsylvania to Savannah, Georgia, to Alabama. The Creek people whom some of the Shawnee lived amongst in Alabama learned the stomp dance from the Muscogee and then the Shawnee shared the dance with a number of tribes in northeastern Oklahoma including Quapaw, Ottawa, Peoria, and Wyandotte peoples. Most of the southern drum songs come from the Ponca tribe who shared them with others on the plains. Telling one to grow up sure covers up the fact that you're living on stolen lands from the Manypenny treaties of 1854 and 1855 that opened up eastern Kansas and Nebraska. Americans are always good at changing the subject and attacking the victims of their actions. Bill O Reilly is a good teacher I guess.....

KansasHerbalist 2 years, 5 months ago

Here is a letter to the editor that I wrote but it was too long for inclusion in the LJW and too expensive as an ad:

Dear Editor: As a plant ecologist and wetland scientist, I am excited to see the new mitigation wetlands on the Baker University land east of the Haskell-Baker wetlands. I just love wetlands and am happy to have them in my neighborhood. Roger Boyd has done a good job creating these wetlands, but let’s get something straight. These new wetlands don’t replace what is being destroyed at the Haskell-Baker wetlands as a result of the South Lawrence Trafficway.

A multitude of plants, animals, insects, spiders, fungi, microbes, and other organisms in the soil and water will be lost forever. You are fooling yourself if you believe that replacement can be gained simply by calculating acreage loss and mitigation gain while incorporating wetland functions and societal values. The Earth is a living and intelligent being as are its flora and fauna. Losing them is like losing loved ones you know. Indigenous peoples throughout the world have believed this for many 100s of years. Concerned residents would also take such a loss to heart, a feeling that has fueled a 25-year fight to save the wetlands. If you tie in the environmental justice issues such as loss of sacred land and burial sites, intrusion on Haskell University’s medicine wheel, etc., it is no wonder the SLT has been such a contentious issue.

Roger and Jon Boyd in the July 15th Journal World article—A Road to Better Wetlands—expressed hope that both sides of the SLT argument could reconcile over time. I am not sure that is entirely possible, but I have two suggestions that could further heal this wound. First, have those in favor of the project including the US Army Corps of Engineers, KDOT, other public officials, attorneys, and citizens go to the wetlands and apologize to the plants, animals, spirits, and ancestors that reside in the land, so that reconciliation can continue. Second, now that we have a new complex of wetlands, let’s celebrate their presence. Couldn’t we have the community of SLT adversaries go there to welcome the plants and animals (and thank the Boyds and Baker University)? Ceremonies could be performed and other activities scheduled to establish a new start for us all.

In the spirit of the wetlands,

Frank J. Norman Lawrence

Mr. Norman has lived in Lawrence for 30 years, and is a plant ecologist, botanist, and herbalist.

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