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Op-Ed: The desertification of Maxwell Farms Regional Park

By Giulia Latini

Today I am sad. I’m not often sad, being of optimistic nature. However, what should have been a nice walk in the park today turned out to be a sunbaked walk in desolation.

I am speaking, of course, of Maxwell Farms Regional Park. I have been enjoying this park, and the creek running through it, for more than 50 years. It was, progressively, the scene of many a family picnic, make-out sessions, skinny-dipping nights, sleeping babies in strollers under the shady bay laurels while chatting with other young mothers, walks with growing children through sparkling meadows and under dripping trees in the winter, walks with my dogs in later life.

Today, what I saw finally broke my heart. To be clear, over the years I have picked up garbage, dogs’ feces, junk along the creek (including clothing, glass, a pillow, blankets, a lawn chair and a bolt-cutter) so it’s not always a pretty sight. But nature always prevailed and the creek flowed and the old fruit trees and blackberries blossomed and the bay laurels continued to propagate with their swooping limbs starting new growth in the ground below. But then, today I saw a maimed and sickly park.

I saw 30-foot-wide swaths of bulldozed and tilled earth surrounding and crisscrossing the meadows to such an extent that “the meadows” are now tiny forlorn patches of invasive grasses and plants. I suppose that these swaths are considered fire breaks, but it seems over-kill to me. What are we all, lurking pyros?


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