Thursday, January 31, 2008
Mary Beth Doyle Preserve
The following is an e-mail that was sent out by Scott Rosencrans. Mary Beth was a dear friend and fierce environmental advocate with whom I'd worked with at the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor. She was killed in a car crash in November, 2004, and I still can't believe it. The following refers to former Brown Park that is located on Packard Rd. across from Buhr Park. The park has an easy-to-miss-if-you-blink entrance, which wasn't like Mary Beth at all. She had a gigantic personality. The woods there are beautiful and loaded with trillium and more trout lilies than I had ever seen before in the spring.
I am pleased to let you know that the memory of our dear friend MB will live on in our community in another, permanent, form. On October 16, 2007, along with my fellow committee members: Council Member (now former) Robert Johnson, Fellow Parks Advisory Commissioner Gwen Nystuen, and, David Borneman, the head of Natural Areas Preservation, we presented a resolution to the Parks Advisory Commission for the creation of a new category within the parks system called "Preserves". The resolution passed unanimously in PAC and was subsequently approved by City Council.
The resolution was the fruit of months of work from which we developed universal cooperation and it provides protection to designated natural areas within the system because of their superior floristic quality, or quality of wildlife habitat, and prevents these areas from being developed for any other purpose. If maintenance of existing underground infrastructure is needed, the area must be restored to its original condition. There has never been stronger protections within our Parks system.
In addition to the natural areas within Mary Beth Doyle Park (formerly Brown Park), which will be named The Mary Beth Doyle Preserve, their are eight more designees which are sections of Furstenburg Nature Area, Gallup Park Wet Prairie, Barton Nature Area, Bird Hills Nature Area (which Mary Beth helped to create), Cedar Bend Nature Area Woods, Dolph Nature Area, Scarlett Mitchell Nature Area, and, Black Pond Woods Nature Area.
It should be understood that MB Doyle Park is land that is used by the City, but, owned by the County and that, if for some reason, the County should decide to use it for another purpose there is little we could do about it. However, the hope is that the designation as a Preserve would be meaningful to that body. Current utilization and planning indicate a continuation of the current status.
There is a mechanism within the Resolution that allows for additional areas to be designated as "Preserves" and the hope is that such protection of our natural areas will grow over time.
MB Doyle Park is currently undergoing maintenance which will allow it to serve as a natural processor of storm water run off; something that would excite MB herself. The park will re-open this summer and I hope you all can take advantage of this beautiful resource while remembering our dear friend.