Monday, June 22, 2009

Eco-Nuts Grab More Chicago Lake Front

While the Chicago Park District is publicly plotting to extend the lake front four more miles (against the wishes of voters, it should be noted), a stealthy move has already been made to appropriate portions of our lake front. There are a number of "dunes," or "nature areas" that have been in place since at least 2007. Chicago Park District lists the areas as: Burnham Park , Gompers Park, Humboldt Park, Indian Boundary Park & Cultural Center, Jackson Park, Lincoln Park, Loyola Park, Montrose Beach, Nichols Park , North Park Village Nature Center, Osterman Beach, Rainbow Beach , Ridge Park Wetlands Park, Sherman Park, Washington Park and Winnemac Park. We'll look at Loyola Park here, but I just want to note that some of the locations, such as Osterman Beach, resemble little more than strips of scrubby weeds wedged between sand and high rise buildings. These "dunes" projects are, purportedly, designed to provide sanctuary to wildlife. One such project is Loyola Park, on Chicago's North Side, a block east of N. Sheridan Road at the end of W. Pratt Avenue. The "dunes" are suddenly larger this year than last, and not by natural action. Rather, humans have essentially confiscated more of the beach for the purpose of well, for the purpose of some idiotic tilt at windmills. See the slideshow, below. It is, to be frank, ridiculous. Volunteers spend full days hunched over, seeking out non-native plants and hand pulling them from the sandy soil. It's a futile battle, of course. Dandelions are an "invasive" species, for example. Dandelions are native to Asia, and I seriously doubt that the well meaning, simple minded eco-volunteers will win their war (let alone a single battle) to keep the "dunes" dandelion free. That's just one of a hundred non-native species that the volunteers cannot realistically hope to keep out unless they enclose the area with a dome. Another problem: The three willow trees nearby have spawned thousands of foot-high offspring in the dunes, and volunteers last year told me that they, like dandelions, are undesirable. Again, a losing battle unless those willows are removed, and that would set off a public relations disaster for the dune fanatics. The projects are still just laughable oddities, but they hold a menacing promise. Do beach-going Chicagoans really want the eco-lunatics to enlarge their anti-dandelion battlefields to take more and more precious beachfront away from human enjoyment? That's their goal, you know. They'll deny it, of course, but ask them this: How much more space for the "dunes" will you need, and when will it be enough? RELATED: Take care of what's of there first - Chicago Tribune Nature Area Volunteer Stewardship Days - Chicago Park District Leave a Comment... See Our Online Store Chicago News Bench RSS Feed We're on Twitter...