‘WTF’ is not the biggest issue

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To the Editor:

Several people responded to articles online and in the papers complaining about the acronym “WTF.” Your concern about the clever twist of an acronym to draw attention to the Land Bank Trade Winds mismanagement is so typical of what is wrong with your way of thinking. You miss the point as much as the Land Bank Commission has lost its focus on its mission.

The Land Bank is a rare breed, neither a sanctuary nor a park system; it is a middle ground where the highest virtues of conservation can be realized: public enjoyment of nature, where limit and restraints secure the natural world’s future and prosperity.

Their own words betray them. The Land Bank mandate is to secure what is really our land, the people’s land, to allow “families and individuals the opportunity to experience the outdoors: Hunting, hiking, fishing, dog walking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, swimming and all types of passive recreation”; again, their words.

The spirit of their “law” and the letter of the “law” both seem to conflict with the commission’s decision to fence off Trade Winds from the public. Their hubris will undoubtedly not let them admit their mistake or correct it.

Just for review, the dictionary defines what conservation and recreation actually mean: Conservation is “the management of a resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.” Recreation is “leisure activity that is an agreeable exercise or use of discretionary time.”

There are to be no mechanized tools employed on Land Bank properties, but small aircraft landing and taking off, mowing runways with a tractor, digging fence postholes with a Bobcat, and fencing off the land are somehow consistent with passive recreation?

Those activities aren’t a middle ground. The are a far cry from conservation, and not at all consistent with passive recreation for the enjoyment of nature.

The Land Bank Commission’s decision as to what the best use of our land should be and how to accomplish that has proven they no longer understand their role.

I would contend that they have sown more discord and taken away more individuals’ and families’ ability to enjoy nature than anything else they could have done. They have caused more destruction with their machines and fence than 25-plus years of dog walkers and aircraft. Prohibiting people from using and enjoying the land they paid for is like caging wild animals to preserve the species. Sometimes it’s better to let nature take its course.

What they have done is wrong, and if they won’t fix it, perhaps we should fix the Land Bank.

 

Stephen Caliri

Edgartown