To Save the Forest, We Must Destroy the Forest!

“Park activists considering clearing forest.” Um.  #

32 Responses to “To Save the Forest, We Must Destroy the Forest!”


  • It is a park, not a wildlife refuge. The purpose of the property is to provide recreation for human beings. Often having a wooded area with a ‘natural’ appearance is consistent with that goal. But so is putting in 2 more holes for a golf course if people want to play golf (which I personally don’t). If people want to protect more wildlife and plants then they should create a new wildlife refuge or WMA.

    They are only talking about taking a few hardwood trees down along with some pine – this is not razing an old-growth forest. This sounds to me like foolish tree-worship. I like trees, but I think that the idea of every tree being regarded as something sacred and untouchable is both silly and sometimes counter-productive to pro-nature conservation goals. Big clusters of pine trees make for pretty poor wildlife habitat. There are all sorts of birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and plants that need open meadows or low brush to thrive. When every tree is a sacred cow, dozens of other species lose out.

  • The difference here is that some members of Save McIntire have demonized advocates of the botanical garden, saying that building a botanical garden would be unsustainable and harm wildlife (which is absurd). If park activists are calling for clearing forests then it frankly makes them hypocrites, and proves false any claims that golf would be a more environmentally friendly use.

    Once upon a time, the Sierra Club used to fight to protect trees and forests. Now it’s advocating for a golf course, that will clear a forest. Pine trees actually make great habitat for many species, and a successional woodland is even better. We have way too many edge and field habitats and the “open meadow” habitat that’d be created would bear no resembance to natural meadows (since it would be a monoculture of non-native grasses). I defy you to name one rare Albemarle species that’d benefit from such a clearing.

  • There is no “forest” in McIntire Park. There are a relatively small amount of trees growing close to each other. The 54,000 trees at Ragged Mountain Reservoir that are due to be clear-cut on the other hand…
    Botanical Garden? Smal McIntire Park is a ridiculous place for it. The county has wonderful parks where one could go; however, these botanical garden know that they will be relying upon government down the road for the garden and they know that the only chance of getting it is from the city which is “awashing” with money.

  • Also, Ms. Condon’s remarks did not demonize anyone. She compared different parameters of our current golf course and the proposed botanical garden. She did not discuss the characters of either group. Just because I person does not like an idea does not mean he is attacking the idea-holder. When are people going to grow up to that fact? I didn’t get the impression it was golfers against gardeners from her letter. It was golf course vs. garden.

  • Condon, although she has made many other positive contributions to the local environmental scene, got this that one really wrong. She did indeed demonize the botanical garden advocates, by making false claims about resources that would be used and assumptions about the impacts on the environment. An environmental impact study already exists, she could have read that, but she apparently ignored it in favor of inventing her own imaginary statistics. In addition botanical garden advocates have outlined their plans in great detail, which she also chose to ignore. To be fair though, I wonder if her opinion would be the same if she knew decision makers in Save McIntire were proposing to clear forest for the Golf Course.

    As for claims about “relying upon government” and such, that’s not been decided by the public yet. It very well could end up that it is a city controlled project, or that minimal public funds are necessary. Besides, I’m guessing that your position is that we should revoke the Ivy Creek Foundations lease too, right?

    My point is simple. This is really about park use and access, and really has nothing whatsoever to do with the environment. The parkway itself does, but I think Save McIntire’s attempts to circumvent park design through the interchange design process was a mistake. The Sierra Club has turned itself into supporter of golf courses, leaving us to wonder whatever happened to the group that once advocated for stopping them?

  • ” She did indeed demonize the botanical garden advocates, by making false claims about resources that would be used and assumptions about the impacts on the environment.” How is talking about the environment demonizing PEOPLE? Doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.
    What does the Ivy Creek NA have to do with McIntire Park’s golf course?
    “As for claims about “relying upon government” and such, that’s not been decided by the public yet.” This is a type of decision that the public never has a say in. Only Council and its friends.
    “It very well could end up that it is a city controlled project, or that minimal public funds are necessary.” Of course it will. That project will generate enough revenue annually to maintain itself. The city doesn’t have to control it. That’s why the city makes annual contributions to a number of organizations who would not be self-sustaining without city money. Otherwise they wouln’t be applying for money annually and showing a need for the funds.

  • The creation of the McIntire Botanical Garden would occur over the next two to five years. There would be consideration for constructing the botanical garden in conjunction with the construction of the McIntire Road extension and the Meadowcreek Parkway through the existing McIntire Park. The final built out of the botanical garden could take several decades. The first phase of construction would include a parking area a trail system. A full master plan would be commissioned for the phasing of gardens, infrastructure, and any buildings and conservancies.

    How can an in-depth environmental impact study be completed when the decisions on content and siting have not been made according to the link that Dirt Worshipper Provided?

    Some initial ideas for the botanical garden include walking trails, native flowers, plants, and trees, children’s garden, an environmental garden, sensory gardens and paths, a Japanese garden, a water garden, a conservatory, and a welcome and information center. The visitor’s parking and welcome and information center would be situated at the base of the hill near the northeast corner of the site.

    This is to be on a hill above Schenk’s Branch which flows into Moore’s Creek. This seems like it’s supposed to be a $50M to $100M dollar project just to build. Where’s the money coming from to maintain it? The City, of course.

  • Now, which will cost the tax payers more, the garden or the golf course which has been self-supporting for years?

  • Be honest C-ville Eye, you could care less about sustainability in general. If you were interested in honest debate, or the facts of the situation then I could easily explain it all to you, As far as I can tell, you aren’t, and you just like to disagree on principle.

    Am I wrong? Then tell me exactly what data I could provide that would convince you otherise.

  • What has sustainabiliy to do with this conversation. The golf course has been sustained (self-supporting) for years. The botanical garden has presented no evidence that it can be. Just because some UVA class has produced a paper that IT calls and environmental impact study doesn’t make necessarily a useable one that government should employ in its decision-making process.
    Common sense has to be employed here. If the botanical garden was such a wonderful project and would be sustainable, why wouldn’t the UVA and county community wish to claim it. It is clear to me and a bunch of other people that, just like the YMCA, it will never fly without City tax money. And that’s an undisputable fact. As for honest debate, you always avoid answering anybody’s questions. You just come up with re-wording what you’ve already said and call it “data.” I looked at the report you suggested and it contains insuffiecient data so why would anyone who’s intelligent rely upon it? That’s right you don’t answer questions, nor do you debate.
    Everytime a non-profit needs money, it tenaciously lobby our city elected officials for it, knowing that eventually they will bend over backwards to provide the money to buy votes with tax payer money. Of course, since most of the members of the non-profit live in the county and want income, they couldn’t care less that the tax rate in the city if 50% higher that what they pay.

  • My evidence? They have already started laying the groundwork for City money: a “children’s garden” (whatever that really is) and a program through the schools.

  • Okay, fine. Look at the financial data of other botanical gardens in the U.S. They aren’t hurting for money, and are quite self sustaining. Many do receive government funding (often via grants) but taxpayers get the benefits of research, conservation, and increased tourism which generates jobs and local revenue.

    Let’s take the model I’ve always proposed for the garden, the Ashville Botanical Gardens, according to their website “the Botanical Gardens receives no operating funds from the university or from local, state, or federal governments.” How is this possible? Donations.

    Even though I don’t recommend using Ginter as an example, people seem to do so anyway, so here are the facts… They are not only self sustaining but in recent years completed a $41 million capital campaign. In other words, they’re growing fine without any burden on taxpayers. In fact, I think it’s pretty obvious that they bring in revenue for their locality since people like our family will visit the gardens then go out to dinner and such.

    As for the Golf Course, let’s look at this realistically. If you as an individual owned the the amount of acreage of McIntire in middle of the city and had to pay taxes on it. Would the amount of income or value of services generated by the handful of people using it everyday come remotely close to being a viable investment? From that perspective, the current use is a waste of public money (since land itself is an asset). Go by there on the most beautiful day at “peak hours”, and you might see four cars there max (and half of those are for the playground).

  • “Many do receive government funding (often via grants) but taxpayers get the benefits of research, conservation, and increased tourism which generates jobs and local revenue.” What are government grants but tax payers’ money? What are the grants for, research? What happens if the grant money dries up?
    As for Asheville, it’s a non-profit business. It runs visitor centers, gift shops and a wedding hall. Like the the YMCA, this development does not belong in McIntire Park. Increased tourism in that area? It definitely is not needed on the already clogged 250 Bypass. During rush hour traffic already backs up from Free Bridge westward past the park and NOBODY’s going to allow the City to tear down homes to add more roads to relieve the congestion. Why create a bigger mess which is what will happen if those facilities become as popular as you project.
    The botanical gardens do not belong in that location which, BTW, is NOT the center of town, but lies at the northern edges of the City. According to the environmental impact document that you referred to says the land is actually in Albemarle County.
    “If you as an individual owned the the amount of acreage of McIntire in middle of the city and had to pay taxes on it.” Nobody expects park land to return money to the tax coffers any more than they expect that of a library or school.

  • As I said, you requested numbers and I gave them. Nothing short of God coming down with and army of angels singing it in four part harmony would every convince you otherwise (and even then probably not); therefore, it’s pretty pointless to discuss the topic with you.

    Also. you said “What has sustainabiliy to do with this conversation?” Uh, it’s about the Sierra Club and Save McIntire supporting an idea to cut down a forest to mitigate damage to a golf course (that was already mitigated seventeen years ago). So yeah, it’s got everything to do with sustainability.

    As for Ashville, have you every been there? Did you even bother to look at the map of the gardens? The facilities you describe are all one building with a vastly smaller footprint than the forest the golfers would destroy. Once again, you’re just making things up without actually bothering to find the truth of what I’m saying.

  • The trees in McIntire Park do not make up a forest.
    Yes, I went to that site. No, I didn’t look at the building because I don’t care how large the development is. I do not want privately-owned commercial uses in McIntire Park, period.
    What numbers have you provided? Certainly not the significant ones such as the costs of building the gardens and the costs of maintaining it and the sources for these funds and how much is coming from each. These are the kinds of responsible questions that should be asked. Children say “I want, I want, I want.” Adults then have to take over and consider the finances before making commitments to provide. Give us some real and important numbers.

  • BTW, you mentioned research and tourism, but you didn’t provide any numbers. How many dollars to you envision will be brought into the area for research. How many non-local tourists do you think this facility will be drawn annually?

  • So you’re saying that I could provide those numbers and if they were less than ___ dollars then you’d support the botanical garden? If not, why would I bother? Besides, I don’t necessarily have access to that information, I’d have to contact the people potential responsible for each expense. Also, some of that money from day one will be private donations and non governmental grants. Other gardens in towns of a similar size as Charlottesville have built gardens and they are self-sustaining. In fact, there was a garden before at McIntire, so we know it’s perfectly reasonable to build one inexpensively. An in depth financial anaylsis would be more appropriate once it is known if, when, where it is going to be built.

    Why aren’t you asking about the waste of public money spent to build the meadowcreek course? Or the money that will be required to clear forest and build replacement holes? Seems fair if we’re comparing apples to apples to have both sides of the equation.

  • No, the numbers would most likely cause me to protest the garden more vehemently. I’m trying to alert those who are on Council and do not know how to make wise decisions as to some of the questions they should be asking the garden advocates. If Council is going to go into business with this group, they should insist upon an in-depth financial analysis. So far that has not been the City’s modus operandi. You don’t have access because I doubt if most of information doesn’t exist. You see, the way the City usually makes decisions is by sitting around brainstorming and then moving forward without regard to costs.
    Obviously, the previous botanical garden (which I don’t remember) was unsustainable, otherwise it would be still here.
    Are you telling me that you have information on any of the gardens you have looked at that shows they are self-sustaining without government money? “Also, [SOME]of that money from day one will be private donations and non governmental grants.”
    The money for the Meadowcreek Golf Course was spent years ago. And it did’t cost over $50M to build. It also sustains itself, according to City staff. In the city’s budget the money for the golf cours is a separate line item and the revenues for that expenditure is derived totally from the golfers. A great many people and their guests enjoy that golf course annually and pay for the privilege. That will not be said for the gardeners from the very beginning. I’m talking about the considerable amount of tax payers’ money that will be spent in the future for expansion and maintenance of the gardens. Since I do not believe in private conrol of public land, such as what’s going on with the downtown amphitheater, I most likely will never support the non-profit in its proposal.

  • The only reason the previous garden isn’t still here is because of the 250 Bypass, which destroyed it.

    As for the rest, thanks for finally admitting that you are not open to any reasonable and rational dialogue and that there’s no number or fact I could produce to convince you otherwise.

  • The 250 Bypass isn’t wide enough to destroy a botanical garden. It is, however, wide enough to destroy a flower bed.

  • The 250 Bypass isn’t wide enough to destroy a botanical garden.

    Of course it is. A 150-foot-wide swath of four lane divided highway is enough to destroy a great many things that one might care to run it through.

  • The Bypass is less than 100 ft wide. Nothing that vaguely resembled this http://www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org/Gardens/GardensMap.htm was in McIntire Park. The Asheville site has 600 species. You couldn’t fit anything like this in the strip between Park Street and Walker School.

  • That particular botanical garden is located on university property which I imagine is convenient for research.

  • The entire VDOT easement for the bypass is bound to be significantly wider than 100 feet; I was being conservative with 150 feet. You said that the 250 Bypass isn’t wide enough to destroy a botanical garden, but I think we can both see that’s obviously not true.

  • Are you saying that the Vietnam Memorial is in the highway easement?

  • Frankly, I doubt that VDOT was spending money on easements in the 40’s since everything was “pay-as-you-go” in those days and VDOT was funded differently in those days. Although I remember when the Bypass was put in, I don’t recalled anything called a botanical garden nor do I remember seeing one. Nor have I ever heard any of my contemporaries use the term “botanical garden” when talking about Charlottesville. Again, there may have been a grandiose flower bed. Have you seen any pictures in your travels around the web?

  • Here’s an idea. Why don’t the garden people buy Meadowcreek Gardens http://www.charlottesville.org/Index.aspx?page=378 from the City (20 acres along the 250 Bypass beside the English Inn) and put their garden there?

  • Are you saying that the Vietnam Memorial is in the highway easement?

    *sigh* If we were in the same room, I’d throw a stress-ball at your head. No, no, I’m not saying that. Because the Vietnam Memorial is substantially more than twenty five feet off of the bypass.

  • The lenght of my property line on the west is 100′. I can easily fit the highway in that space. How much easement do you think the road has then?

  • FYI, I never said there was a botanical garden at McIntire, I said “there was a garden before at McIntire”, so comparing the WPA wildflower garden destroyed by the bypass to the botanical garden as Ashville is misrepresenting the issue. Also, my understanding is that the bypass didn’t destroy the whole thing, but bisected it, or wiped out enough of it that it was no longer considered viable.

    …and yes, a botanical garden like the one at Ashville could start as simply as the one the WPA built long ago. These things are built gradually as donations come in, not all at once.

  • Thanks for clearing that up about the garden. It’s not always pleasant when you don’t remember things.

  • The northwest sliver of the eastern part of McIntire is completely unused (except for animals).

    Why not put hiking/biking trials in that part. Or replace the golf holes (if they are ever taken by the MCP).

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