To the editor:
Chad Lawhorn’s article, “Trafficway contract to be awarded within weeks,” in the Aug. 30 Journal-World, states that the planned route of the South Lawrence Trafficway travels across “vacant ground.” It’s not surprising that Lawhorn uses this term to refer to the wetlands that the SLT is scheduled to traverse; in the prevailing culture, any land that lacks a human-built home, business or structure is termed “vacant.”
However, this conception is inaccurate — as any high school biology student can point out. Natural areas, especially the Haskell and Baker Wetlands, are home to rich varieties of interacting, mutually dependent plant and animal species, thriving in specialized ecosystems that make up the grand system of nature that enables human life on earth. Such ground is far from “vacant!”
Incidentally, can anyone assure us that plans for the SLT through these wetlands include provisions — such as under-road tunnels — for wildlife to pass safely between the surviving wetlands on the north, and those on the south, of the highway? Connectivity between natural areas is essential to maintaining healthy, life-supporting ecological systems and is conducive to safety for human and non-human creatures alike.