The city used a huge chunk of the CPA money to purchase large tracts of land as a green zone. Now, by and large, the nature of this land should be conservation and preserving our city’s agricultural and water resources as well as wildlife. But the citizens of Newburyport purchased this land. They should have the right to have access to at least to some of this property and to enjoy the benefits. Bill Plante wrote in March an editorial, "Walk in the woods does wonders". He writes, "walking in the countryside can be especially uplifting" He further notes, "…it provides respite for those needful of nourishment of the kind we seek-diversity to meet realities with an eye on preservation."
With such value just a few hundred yards away from most of Newburyport, you would think these fields and forest would be heavily used. Not so! But it should be and the City needs to be prepared for such a fact. It will be beneficial to the citizens, and stop those grumblers that talk about all that "wasted" open space. We should have well-marked trails with signs that give clear direction so everyone benefits, the animals, the humans and the land. Farmers can safely care and harvest the land, birdwatchers can see the avian habitat kept safe and hikers can absorb the "nourishment" of the forest.
I was very impressed with the Coffin Island Conservation Area. This was "balance" between use and preservation. Check out this sign! It really says it all. Stay on the trails, watch what you are doing, respect the farmers and enjoy! I would love to see this sign replicated at the Little River Nature Trail and at the Common Pasture.
This city has the history of taking unused park land and paving it over. (Cushing Park, Riverside Park) If we don’t properly manage the green zone so all citizens can enjoy it, then we are in danger of losing it. We need parking, signage, trails that are minimal in environmental impact and constant monitoring so they won’t be dumping grounds.
Let’s enjoy our natural resources!