Mr. Randall Butt, Manager
Farragut State Park
Hand delivered to the Farragut State Park headquarters, Monday, December 19, 2011
Dear MrM. Butt,
It is nearly midnight on Sunday, December 18 and I have been literally staring at my computer screen since 10:30 p.m. Ihave watched my screen saver go one and off multiple times as I stare at a blank “sheet” of paper with your name at the tcp.
Almost fifty years ago I attended a ceremony at the viewpoint located on the northern tip of Farragut State Park. Park personnel, Bayview residents, my family, and even the assistant Director of Idaho’s Fish & Game department were there to dedicate the viewpoint to the memory of my grandfather, Alvin MacDonald. The View ofthe lake was a spectacular and sweeping panorama ofthe lake and the surrounding mountains.
Over the years the trees and brush have continued to grow and much ofthe view was hidden by this growth.
My father and I have each volunteered over the years to trim the
trees and brush under park supervision so the view could be retained. We were willing to pay for our employees time to help with the effort. Our offer was made multiple times to park personnel, but they always replied that they would take Car@ Of il. I brush removal was done just below the viewpoint area on several occasions by park personnel. Their efforts helped, but the View has certainly been diminished over the years.
A few days ago one of my customers mentioned that the park was doing some tree removal in the viewpoint area. I thought, “good, it would be nice to see some more ofthe lake again. So, earlier today I drove to the gate near Vista Bay Resort and walked to the viewpoint. To put it simply, I was absolutely unprepared for the moonscape that I found. Last year, or the year before perhaps, someone did some logging and tree removal on the south side of the road that leads to the viewpoint. I walk out there very often and I was actually quite pleased that the loggers left several gnarly atypical trees standing. The trees are really quite homely, but they had “character” I applauded the fact that even though they were not beautiful in a traditional sense, they still had very interesting shapes.
I was expecting to see a similar treatment with large, medium, and small trees and bushes left to grow. Imagine my shock when I found that the whole area north ofthe viewpoint road was literally a clear-cut. Even though I have had several hours of time to calm down, I still find myself alternating between seething anger and absolute dismay. What were you people thinking?!‘?!? Was anyone thinking?
Writing this letter to you assumes that you, as the park manager, are responsible. However, I know that the property iuvoîved is Fish & Game property, Maybe you dídn’t make the decision. But, if you didn’t, did you have input? If you loved the area involved and had grave concerns, did you, as a steward of the land, think to contact area people to advise them that your park, our park, Idaho’s park, was going to be scalped? If you didn’t have those grave concerns did it ever enter your mind that maybe, just maybe, someone might have grave concerns?
My nature, as a person, is to respect the hard work that all people do as they perform their jobs. I am willing to leave people alone because generally I want to be left alone. I don’t want people breathing down my neck all the time so I am willing to trust the judgment of others who are in positions of authority. You have made a huge error in judgment and right now I don’t know the level of your culpability. What I do know is that in my opinion someone needs to be tired. Maybe multiple people need to be tired. Our trust was put in you and in others in similar positions and We have been totally betrayed by the heavy handed butehering ofthe landscape that was perpetrated at the viewpoint.
l know that it is winter and things will green up when spring arrives, but you simply cannot replace trees that were 30, 40, 50, 60 years old. With some thought and planning trees could still have been removed, but some could be left to ñame and accentuate the view of he lake. How disappointing it is when such a failure of Vision is there for the whole world to see.
I have been a supporter of you and of the park for many years. I have long had the opinion that relatively Wild and untouched areas that are still accessible to the general public need to be protected. It is discouraging to out that protection is obviously not a priority for you.
This letter is not written as a rhetorical exercise. I do want some answers as to who was responsible so the people who share my concerns can better direct their actions.
If you are so inclined I have no interest in receiving a telephone call. At this point I am truly sorry to say that my level of trust is at zero. A letter in reply would be appropriate.
Photo by Taryn Hecker Thonpson.
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