The community has rightly resisted attempts to “park out” the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. High-impact recreation, such as speedboat racing on Heart Lake, has been phased out in favor of low-impact activities in natural and rustic environments.
What is the justification for changing this direction with the proposed bike skills park?
The Parks Department justifies the bike skills park on the former dump site in the ACFL because it will save the time required to mow the dump cap to prevent trees growing. But this is beyond illogical and factually erroneous.
Mowing over the now-smooth surface of several acres without obstacles is easily accomplished with a wide-swath tractor mower. The bike park will break up the vegetated surface into complex shapes of various sizes, many of which may be inaccessible or unnegotiable by any equipment but small push mowers.
Rain gardens and large areas of bare or near-bare dirt will seed in and sprout tree, shrub and weed seeds aplenty that can only be removed by hand labor, weed wackers or herbicides, and the latter are excluded because of adjacent forest ponds and wetlands.
The Parks Department has recently wasted much time and public funds on ill-conceived, incompetently pursued proposals that ignored physical and functional reality.
More than 40 essential questions in need of answers about the proposed bike skills park have been sent to City Hall. The Parks Department and City Council should concentrate on getting objective and project-positive answers before spending more time and expense on developing specific ACFL site plans.
ROSS O. BARNES