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Letter: Trail maintenance questioned

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To the Editor:

I am writing regarding the questionable management by the city of the Rail Bridge Trail. I walk the trail frequently, as do many others, for the enjoyment of the natural beauty of the vegetation, and to observe the abundance of birds and other wildlife.

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Recently, when I observed that many mature trees were being cut down on both sides of the trail, I contacted the Parks Director, Joe Kerlin, for an explanation as to why so many trees were being removed. Kerlin said that the Electric Utilities in New Richmond was cutting down trees that were interfering with the power lines that run along the east side of the trail. (The fact that the trees being cut were on the west side of the trail was not addressed.)

Then last week, I discovered that not only were trees gone, but all of the bushes and vegetation had also been removed - not by careful "trimming" - but by being hacked to death by some sort of indiscriminate mowing machine. Now, we basically have a concrete path running through a wasteland of destruction. (Ironic, it seems, that this is happening just weeks after New Richmond was designated as "Tree City USA.")

It brings to mind the Joni Mitchell song, "They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot"...in which she observes "they took all the trees and put them in a tree museum." All we need now are billboards and plastic vegetation to complete the new ambiance of this "nature trail."

I think the city has failed to understand that the purpose of a "nature trail" is not get from Point A to Point B without interference from the scenery. Perhaps the Electric Utilities should have considered buying the power lines along Rail Bridge Trail instead of destroying the pleasures and beauty of one of New Richmond's few tree-lined recreational bike and walking trails. What happened to stewardship and preservation of our green scapes by the Parks Department and the City of New Richmond?

Jarell Kuney

New Richmond

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