To The Editor:
Why would a “conservancy” cut down 400 trees and pave 1 mile of nature with asphalt?
A conservancy is “an organization that works to protect animals, plants, and natural resources especially by purchasing and caring for areas of land,” according to Merriam-Webster. The mission statement of Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy (VCPC) is: “to sustain and enhance the park as a vibrant destination for recreation, leisure and the enjoyment of natural landscapes.”
Yet still, the VCPC is doing nothing as NYCParks burns $2.41 million in federal/city taxpayer dollars, to widen and pave over a popular historic trail that runs 1.5 miles through nature preserves, sometimes feet away. The NYCParks plan destroys 1.5 to 2 acres of forest and 400 trees, harming both plant and wildlife thriving there.
Two wildlife preserves flank the trail – Tibbets Brook/Lake, and the Northwest Forest.* Forever Wild preserves are supposed to receive special protection by the city. The parks dept. describes them at their website: “The Forever Wild Program is an initiative of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to protect and preserve the most ecologically valuable lands within the five boroughs.”**
Asphalt causes water runoff issues that result in contaminated water and rotted tree roots. The Putnam Trail runs between the Lake and Tibbets Brook, with the lake enjoyed by local fishermen.
An urgent problem: the President of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy is also the administrator of Van Cortlandt Park, in other words a parks department employee. This is clearly a conflict of interest, says SPT.
Neither the conservancy nor parks dept. is paying attention to the parks department’s poll at their website for Van Cortlandt Park, where 55 percent of people say if they could visit the park every day for one activity, it’d be to wander the nature trails. Others chose: birdwatching (6%), fishing (9%), golf (6%), horseback riding (25%).***
“When the parks department sends out a spokesman about the Putnam Trail and says, well, the conservancy supports our idea,’ that’s nonsense,” said SPT.
Please write a note to Mayor Bloomberg and make him aware of this conflict of interest and that his legacy will always be associated with the destruction of 1 acre of land, 400 trees and unwanted asphalt on the Putnam Trail in Van Cortlant Park. on.nyc.gov/3CDcV6
Tell Mayor Bloomberg it’s his choice and that the Putnam Trail can forever be referred to as the “Bloomberg nature walk” or if current plans go through the “Bloomberg asphalt raceway”. (Bloomberg Boulevard).
Webster’s New 20th Century Dictionary, Unabridged, defines conservancy:
“The act of preserving; conservation; preservation from injury or improper use.”
Save the Putnam Trail Campaign