Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 11, 2013

GUEST VIEW: There's no defense for Three Sisters Island 'upgrades'

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — And yet State Parks has the nerve to call the park at Niagara an “Olmsted” park? They’ve thrown Olmsted’s carcass under the tour buses so often they’re now throwing what’s left, the remaining pieces of him, under the tires. The only homage OPRHP pays to Olmsted is the frequent mention of his name as if it’s a charm that will keep people from seeing what commercial despoliation has gone on under the guise of stewardship.

Even recognizing the need to provide a safe and accessible visitor experience at the Three Sister Islands while preserving their historic character, a challenging balance to achieve — what the State Parks has done there is wrongheaded, saddening, and despicable, a Fail of the first order. Frank Croisdale presented this view in his “Three Sisters Islands Rehabilitation a Travesty to Olmsted’s Memory,” while all the “official” views were praising it to the heavens. Some of us felt as if we were experiencing a variation of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” But perhaps we were lucky; the original intent was also to construct a restroom on the Three Sisters (discussed in “Ecotourism Best Way ...” at www.niagaraheritage.org). Maybe they ran out of money.

Do you remember the aura, the atmosphere of wilderness that used to be at The Three Sisters? Are those smooth stone pavers even native stone? Rough concrete was far preferable. Those who are fans of suburban shopping malls and patios and potted plants are probably happy— it’s getting ever closer to the things they love.

Bradberry has credentials that trump those of Kulleseid — he has lived on the Frontier and pays attention, as does Croisdale.

Me too, for that matter. Kulleseid had better get busy — he has a lot more letters to write.

Bob Baxter is the conservation chair of the Niagara Heritage Partnership

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