The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Commissioner Benepe a conservationist?

The Wall Street Journal just published a story about Park Commissioner Adrian Benepe. The article describes a commissioner that sounds like a conservationist. We should hold him to his word. The following quote is from "Meet New York City's Official Green Thumb", by Jane Garmey, September 4, 2007; Page D5:

"...Mr. Benepe credits this with radically changing his mind-set about undeveloped parkland: "For years, the conventional wisdom was that if you could just get enough money, the thing to do was come in and cut everything down and turn the place into a football or baseball field." Now, however, he began to appreciate that undeveloped parkland offered the city essential natural habitats for salt marshes, fresh-water wetlands, meadows and deep woods -- all needing to be preserved."

I hate to sound pessimistic, but the following quote was from an article published in New York Magazine, May 18, 1998:

"Ten to fifteen years ago, observes Adrian Benepe, the no-nonsense Parks commissioner for Manhattan, the parks were rife with crises: crime, drug dealing, graffiti, homeless encampments, rotting infrastructure. Many were resolved. “The dog problem is the only real problem we have,” he says. [...] “People are almost compelled to let them off the leash, because they need so much more exercise and space,” says Benepe. Dog owners make these choices and then expect their fellow New Yorkers to live with the consequences. “They say to us, ‘You need to allow us to exercise hunting dogs in crowded nineteenth-century parks.’ “

Despite those words, last year he successfully petitioned the NYC Board of Health to change the health code and allow dog owners to unleash their pets in nearly every city park in unenclosed areas. My only point is that, obviously, his public statements cannot be trusted.

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