Upset over youth programs
The Geauga Park District seems to be on a mission to train children to hunt and to provide our public park lands as training grounds for them to practice their skills. So far in 2018, at least three activities devoted to children hunting have occurred or are planned. In March, a two-day course “to train young and beginning hunters” was held at the Meyer Center in Big Creek Park. In April, the GPD Facebook page celebrated “youth turkey hunting season” with a picture of a boy and his father with a turkey that was stated to have been killed by the child on April 21, presumably in a Geauga County park. On May 5, GPD rangers held a “Wild Turkey Clinic for Beginning Hunters” for children of all ages. The registration page for the May “clinic” states the rangers have been certified “to teach clinics sponsored by the National Rifle Association using updated training manuals supported by the highly acclaimed NRA Hunter Skills Series books.”The description of the program states it is provided with the “…goal being to make attendees more effective hunters.”
Teaching children to be effective hunters, and closing Geauga County Parks to the public to turn them into training grounds for hunting, is not consistent with the Geauga Park District’s mission to “conserve, preserve and protect.” However, it is more in line with the mission of the NRA, a heavily politicized organization with an aggressive mission to promote gun use via “youth programs, … a cornerstone of the NRA” (https://home.nra.org/about-the-nra/). At a time when other organizations are severing ties with the NRA (http://abcnews.go.com/US/companies-cutting-ties-nra-grows-include-hertz-metlife/story?id=53322436), the current leadership of the Geauga Park District (GPD) is aligning our county with its agenda to promote hunting by children.
As of this writing, six of 10 spots for the hunting clinic were still open; whereas spots for the Timbertots Flower Fun and Nature Explorer children’s programs were on waiting lists! This comes as no surprise, since results of surveys conducted by the GPD since 2008 indicate that residents overwhelmingly support more passive use of park lands, and specifically object to using them for hunting. This is consistent with the mission to conserve, preserve and protects and should be respected by the park board and administration. The current board does not permit public comment at their meetings, where a resident such as myself might wish to express concerns about the GPD promotion of killing over conservation.
Akron, think twice about foresting
There’s an old saying that if you tell a lie or spout misinformation often enough and sound like you know what you’re talking about, the public will believe it. The so-called foresters with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Department of Forestry (I call it the department of tree farming) seem to have adopted this method of communication.
Well folks, in the words of the great communicator “Here he goes again.” John Kehn, service forestry coordinator for the Ohio department of natural resources, recently told the Geauga County Commissioners that Akron should be managing its forests. Logging promotes the growth of younger trees for a healthier forest.
In my view, foresters with ODNR are interested in two things: growing trees fast and cutting them down. Their department should more accurately be called the ODNR division of tree farming. Oh sure they use fancy words like “management, healthier forests and sustainability,” but basically they are tree growers with little interest in the other species that are associated with the trees. The word “forest” refers to a community of living things not just a tree farm. Unlike prevalent foresters of our time some foresters in the past knew this.
Aldo Leopold was one. If you have not read his book “A Sand County Almanac” I would highly suggest you give it a try. It is one of the classics of conservation. Another highly esteemed forester of the last century was Robert Marshall who went on to be one of the founders of the Wilderness Society. He wrote four books in his abbreviated life, all wonderful reads.
We would all be better if the ODNR division of Forestry would cease to exist. Private sector forestry consultants could handle any work the present division does, and hopefully since they would be paid by the forest owner, they would be beholden to that person and not be minions to the tree cutters, politicians and others with primarily personal gain in mind.
The city of Akron is planning on lumbering one of the parcels of forest adjacent to LaDue reservoir in Geauga County. This land was purchased many years ago to protect the water supply for Akron. On much of this land they pay no property tax and some was acquired by eminent domain. I don’t believe it is legal for a city to force a sale by eminent domain only to use the land for economic gain such as lumbering the land. In addition, since this lumbering appears to be just the first step in turning much of their land into cash via timber sales, they should know that the tax exempt status of their land would be in serious jeopardy.
Time to think twice, Akron.
John G. Augustine