My wife and I recently spent an hour exploring natural areas not far from our home. We were amazed and appalled.
This is a juvenile osprey, waiting for food, in its nest on a big ball and tackle joint of an enormous crane on the Duwamish River in Seattle. The river is incredibly polluted, and it will take decades, at best, to clean up a few years’ worth of irresponsible toxic industrial dumps in the middle of the 20th century. But despite existing on fish caught in a polluted river, the amazing osprey continue to thrive on the Duwamish. They are incredibly resilient and adaptive.
A few minutes drive away from the Duwamish there is Camp Long, a beautiful rustic park in the middle of a city. Elementary school classrooms vie for a limited number of coveted field trip spots there every year. The peace is stunning. The cabins available to the public for once in a lifetime family camping experiences are absolutely enchanting. The surrounding woods and well cared for trails invite exploration and discovery.
A few steps away from that scene is another vision of how we should use our city parks. This is the “ropes course” at Camp Long. In the middle of this pristine jewel in Seattle, is this testament to what can be fabricated in the name of a “natural experience”. All the supports are on poles, not trees. There are no trees where the poles are – they have obviously been removed. Reminded me of a scene from Bridge on the River Kwai.
There were poles where there should have been trees and undergrowth. There were no birds. It looked clean, spiffy, and it was devoid of life. If there had been humans there, flying this way and that, one could say it hosted life. You’d have to read the sign on availability, fill out the forms, and pay the fees, to be a part of that, though…