Letters to the Editor

Unfortunate changes surface at Fort Ward Park | Letters | Nov. 4

Are you curious what the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District has done to Fort Ward Park?

I live directly opposite of the park where there used to be a meadow. This section of the park has been classified as a “no mow” zone by the state (previous owner) for years. The state realized that this was a natural habitat, and it shouldn’t be disturbed with unnecessary mowing and clearing.

In June, the park district decided the area needed to be cleared. I was shocked to hear a large tractor with a land-clearing attachment grinding through the meadow destroying the habitat. Why do this?

My Fort Ward neighbors and I attended park board meetings to voice our concerns. The board explained that it was clearing the area of noxious and invasive weeds.

Commissioner Kirk Robinson said they were following state guidelines in their mowing practices.

According to Gina Piazza and Jeff Skriletz, state Department of Fish & Wildlife biologists, the island park district needs to create a long-term management plan for the park. They believe the removal of existing cement (a remnant from an old silent movie house) and the planting of native vegetation would out-compete any invasive species.

Also, why did they remove so many beautiful, viable trees throughout the park that were clearly not diseased?

I was shocked by the rudeness the park board shows to the public. As elected officials, the board members should encourage an open dialogue with the public. I’ve found Robinson to be argumentative with people, and really not interested in what the public has to say about the parks. Why is the park district making all these changes prior to a Fort Ward (and Fay Bainbridge) comprehensive plan being developed?

I suggest a citizen parks committee that has voting rights on the park board. Or maybe new, more receptive leadership is all that is needed. We have an election right now and I ask you to vote for Ron Luke, who is running against Robinson for the Pos. 5 seat on the board.

Suzanne Parkhurst Browne, Fort Ward

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