The junior scientists of the Wildlands Conservancy have been given permission by The City of Allentown to remove four dams along the Little Lehigh and Jordan Creeks. These dams have been in place since the 1930's. Experienced fishermen worry that their removal will allow muskies and other large predators to move upstream and endanger the trout population. Between the opinion of fishermen and junior scientists, I'll take the fishermen any day. The park department is officially leaderless at the moment. While the former director moved on, the new one has not yet been confirmed. Although the Conservancy got a grant to remove the dams, how much would it cost in 2013 dollars to replace these dams? As a park walker, I can attest to the beauty and sound of the water cascading over these short one foot drops. The current administration should protect our park's history, until which time the citizens are in consensus with such drastic changes.
UPDATE: The new park director was confirmed at the last city council meeting. The Wildlands Conservancy was previously allowed to create riparian buffers in the park system, denying park users the traditional view and access to the streams, now the dam removals. I think the time has come for a discussion: Is the park system to be used as a laboratory for the Wildlands Conservancy, or an asset for the citizens? Were the parks meant to be wildlands, or to benefit from landscape architecture as envisioned by Harry Trexler and others? Are these decisions to be made by a series of itinerant park directors or the citizens of Allentown?
photocredit:The Morning Call/Donna Fisher