Saturday, June 7, 2008

Breaking news!

A few minutes ago I was surfing the web for info about the Memphis Zoo's future plans (I do this about once a week, now, for obvious reasons) and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but concept drawings of next year's Zambezi River Hippo Camp and -- brace yourselves, people -- a rudimentary written description of the Zoo's development plan for our 17-acre Enchanted Forest!

Obviously the Zoo's leaders were in a real hurry to get this posted before the next news cycle hits 'em where it hurts, so the typos will likely be corrected later, but this is the version I'm looking at right now:

This living exhibit is intended to provide unparelled access for all segments of the community to enjoy the natural plantlife and animal wildlife that resides in one of Memphis' finest parks.

The concept calls for a simple, raised boardwalk that will guide Zoo guests through the forest. This forest land is located on the Zoo's existing campus footprint. Click here to view an image that has this land highlighted in the Zoo's master plan.

There will be no large-scale buildings or animal exhibits constructed in this area. Instead, the Zoo will partner with forestry experts to provide a safe path through the forest while maintaining its delicate ecosystem.
Hey, that sounds pretty nice, doesn't it?

But then you notice the weasel words in that "no large-scale buildings or animal exhibits" clause. And you think, how come I'm being called a guest when I'm required to give my host a fat stack o' cash just to walk in the door?

And you think, as Stacey pointed out seven weeks ago:
. . . really, it doesn’t make much sense for the Memphis Zoo to create a "Chickasaw Bluffs" exhibit when there’s already a good amount of the real Chickasaw Bluffs on display in the park -- for free.
And you remember the Zoo's comments to the Memphis Flyer in January, 2007, about that big new "elephant exhibit near the Northwest Passage" that's supposed to open in 2012.

And maybe you know that forestry experts are almost always "concerned not with trees, but with how trees can serve people."

And you just have to wonder, is this love for real?

Especially when that love is buried so deeply (and inexplicably) in the Membership section of the Memphis Zoo's website that only the all-knowing Google can root it out. You'd think the Zoo would at least mention this Major News Update in their Press Room section, but it's not there yet.

Remember, you heard it first on Channel CPOP!


Update - Sunday, June 15 - The main page of the Memphis Zoo website is now featuring prominent links to the descriptions of future exhibits, so the public can actually find this information. Hooray! But no updates in their Press Room yet.

5 comments:

Ganja Blue said...

"This forest land is located on the Zoo's existing campus footprint." So, how long has the Old Forest been encroaching on the zoo's property?

"Instead, the Zoo will partner with forestry experts to provide a safe path through the forest while maintaining its delicate ecosystem." Why start now? You were doing so well without them. On the other hand, I hear there are some great forestry experts working for International Paper here in town. /sarcasm

Anonymous said...

Holy cow. Thanks for the heads up.

LP said...

The nice thing about a simple boardwalk is that it's cheap to build and can be easily removed to make space for expanding elephants, etc., in the future.

If this boardwalk is ever built, I wonder if the City Council would agree to a perpetual conservation easement to preserve the remaining forest.

Stacey Greenberg said...

what really gets me is the fact that the examples they use--selmer and collierville--are PARKS. FREE parks. Just like Overton Park.

They even say, "This trail will provide unparelled (SIC) access for all segments of the community to enjoy the natural plant life and animal wildlife that reside in one of Memphis' finest parks."

So let me translate: WE, THE ZOO, WILL FENCE OFF 17 ACRES OF YOUR PARKLAND, MAKE IT REAL PRETTY, AND CHARGE YOU TO COME SEE IT UNTIL WE DESTROY IT WITH OUR SHORTSIGHTEDNESS.

And how do they guarantee "unparelled access"?? Only folks with $13 bucks can see it, assuming it they make it to that part of the zoo.

Anonymous said...

So that's where Karl Rove is working now.

--LxPx