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E-M:/ Some Rare Good Environmental News



As a park advocate, this is the best news I've heard for parks in our state in a while:

Detroit council rebuffs attempt to sell up to 92 city parks

But Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who chaired the committee looking at the proposal, cut off further discussion, saying the proposal wasn't going to happen.

"We won't let you sell public parks," Watson said.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080221/METRO/802210466/1361

Sadly, our state park system is still underfunded, under maintained, and in danger of exploitation (http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=7399)(http://www.mecprotects.org/MER/APR06/parkland.htm). The economics here don't make any sense:

National wildlife refuges generate about $4 in economic activity for every $1 the government spends, according to a study released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday. (http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1128-reserves.html) I believe I have read that for every $1 invested in our state parks, we receive $7 in economic activity; I can't find the source right how. It seems as if more investment in our parks would pay off in both the short and long terms.

Also, Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor is still in danger from the Benton Harbor City Council and also from Whirlpool and its minions.

Environmental bond issue may be on ballot

Michigan voters in November may be asked again to approve a bond to pay for protecting the state's air and water, Gov. Jennifer Granholm told the Kalamazoo Gazette Wednesday.

Like similar proposals OK'd in the past, the package might include money to maintain the state's parks and natural resources as well.

"We're actually looking at that right now," Granholm told Kalamazoo Gazette editors and reporters.

http://blog.mlive.com/kzgazette/2008/02/environmental_bond_issue_may_b.html


Similar bonds in the past have been instrumental in cleaning up contaminated sites in the state. However, this is something we should be funding on an annual basis. We also need more enforcement so we don't have new sites to clean up.

Donation puts trail on track

The Fred Meijer/Berry Junction Trail project has a new lease on life, thanks to a $400,000 shot in the arm from the West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition.

With a little more fundraising luck, construction of the first half of the bicycle trail, from White Lake Drive and Blank Road in Whitehall Township to Beegle Field in Dalton Township, could begin as early as this summer, according to officials.

(http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2008/02/trail_project_receives_400000.html)

It is great to have more bike trails. However, it seems to me that if Fred Meijer gets to have his name on the trail for 400,000, then so should the West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition, giving it the name of The Fred Meijer/West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition/Berry Junction Trail. It seems to me that we could have a statewide transportation strategy based on bike trails - urban and suburban trails could be used not just for recreation but for transportation and commuting.

Best,

Christopher Reader