The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 14, 2014

Our View: Joplin’s prairie a good addition

A green space and a paved path make up one example of a city trail that can accommodate those seeking exercise or the walking commuter who needs to get across town.

For years now, Joplin has been on the right foot in establishing a network of city trails and has more in the works.

Last year, another layer was added to the plan. Through the planting of a large number of trees in parks and throughout green spaces, a potential urban forest has been introduced and will be something to anticipate as these trees take root.

Now, the prospect of another layer has been announced. An effort is under way to acquire land along Campbell Parkway that would be restored to native prairie. The deal has yet to be finalized, but the owner of eight acres along Campbell Parkway is offering to sell the parcel for use as city park land. The owner bought the land a number of years ago so that it would not be developed.

Tony Robyn, known locally for his work as director of Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, is employed as the city’s disaster recovery coordinator. He is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Prairie Foundation to obtain the land between 15th and 20th streets. Once the deal is complete, ownership would be turned over to the Missouri Prairie Foundation, which would clean and replant the property, taking care to save the native grasses and wildflowers and returning it to its natural state. After that work is done, ownership would be transferred back to the city.

How fortunate Joplin is to have all these layers. From the unique chert glades found along Shoal Creek to the native prairie in the center of town, Joplin residents should embrace the chance to preserve these natural resources for future generations.

We enthusiastically support the addition of an urban prairie to our city parks system and look forward to walking in the tall grass someday.

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