[Mnbird] Birders and Lebanon Hills Regional Park

J, Mpls jb at inet-serv.com
Tue Sep 11 08:44:02 CDT 2018

Below is a letter published in the StarTribune. The birding community 
might be interested in providing their feedback to the Met Council as well.

Turtles Aren’t Safe Yet

Blanding’s turtles a nice story, but residents must stay vigilant

Finding baby Blanding’s turtles within Lebanon Hills Regional Park is 
indeed something to celebrate (“Naturalists thrilled at discovery of 
rare turtles,” Aug. 30) These threatened reptiles gravitate toward 
prairies that are near wetlands — a habitat combination that is 
widespread in the park. One should conclude they have a safe place to 
call home. They don’t. Their habitat is where a controversial asphalt 
trail designed as a bike thoroughfare is planned; and where event space 
was proposed; and where, until recently, the natural resources were 
neglected and allowed to degrade for decades.

We are fortunate that in 1974 the state Legislature, noting the 
significant loss of wildlife habitat all around the metro, established 
the Regional Parks System to preserve and protect these most valuable 
remaining large open spaces. Regional parks complement amenities 
available in city parks by providing a wide range of nature-based 
opportunities. These are the “state parks” of the metro area, and we 
have a responsibility to manage them to their full potential. Stories 
like baby Blanding’s sightings should be the norm, not the exception. 
The best way for wildlife to thrive is by minimizing human impact on 
their habitat.

Regional parks are guided by the Met Council’s Regional Parks Policy 
Plan, which is currently being updated. Proposed changes will expand new 
construction of costly infrastructure and include plans for more asphalt 
(along with their chemical treatments) throughout these nature-based 
parks. Let the Met Council know that the priority for our regional parks 
should be natural resource restoration and programming to support a 
natural, wildlife-friendly setting. Public comments are encouraged to 
public.info at metc.state.mn.us through Sept. 27.

HOLLY EINESS, Minneapolis
* Write to Metropolitan Council, Public Information at 390 Robert St. 
N., St. Paul, MN 55101
* Email to Metropolitan Council:   public.info at metc.state.mn.us
* Leave a message at 651.602.1500 (TTY 651.291.0904)

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