Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - Commercial Appeal
Overton Park is still endangered
In response to Glenn Cox's April 18 Viewpoint guest column, "Overton Park, symbol for our future success":
I'm a native Memphian, working on my master's in environmental and natural resources law at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore. In my administrative law class last semester, I was proud of the activists in my hometown for all that occurred in the Citizens to Preserve Overton Park (CPOP) case, a landmark administrative law case. I disagree with Cox that it was a "bitter lawsuit" with "with no glory to anyone."
In the 1970s, the activist group CPOP thwarted state and federal plans to run Interstate 40 through our park. Yes, the victory was won at a great cost, but in my mind it remains both a victory and a valuable lesson. But now what?
You can't imagine my dismay when I came home for spring break in March to see the Memphis Zoo's clear-cutting of four acres of the Old Forest, with plans for an additional 17 acres. Where did all those activists go? Thankfully, a few have revived CPOP in an effort to save what remains of the Old Forest, but it seems the zoo and Park Friends, Inc. have a different agenda.
I feel like the zoo and Park Friends, Inc. have no concept of the value of the Old Forest, much less the management of it, and its fate lies in the zoo's hands. I am perplexed by Cox's comment that, with regard to the razing of four acres of the Old Forest for the Teton Trek exhibit, "What could have been a difficult issue was instead addressed productively among us all, as users of the park with common conservation goals."
I want to hear more about these "common conservation goals," because conservation and clear-cutting are total opposites. You can't say you support conservation and then clear-cut four acres of old-growth forest.
And if you're going to talk about issues being addressed "productively among us all," then let us all have meaningful input in the future of the additional 17 acres of fence-quarantined "green space" in Overton Park, the Old Forest.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Letters to the Editor