The answer to this week's question is an unequivocal "yes!" Richland should do more to protect the Amon Creek Natural Preserve. There are many reasons why this is important.
The Amon Preserve is a unique place, incorporating both shrub-steppe and riparian habitats. These areas are fast vanishing from the Mid-Columbia due to development. Once removed or displaced it will take years to restore the diversity the preserve supplies. Mitigation is simply not an effective remedy in this climate.
The preserve provides a haven of peace and a corridor of safety in the midst of rampant development. I encourage folks to spend time sitting on one of the benches, particularly one overlooking water, or walking along the several paths that wind through the preserve, to absorb the sights and sounds. You will notice a variety of plants, animals and birds. The preserve is the home of the flora and fauna you see around you. They deserve keeping what little space is left as their home.
Countless volunteer hours and a whole lot of money have been donated to create this gem. The work that Tapteal Greenway and the Friends of Amon Basin have done to preserve Amon Basin is to be commended. It makes no sense to waste all this time and money.
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The Amon Preserve is used and enjoyed by our citizens, including school groups for education, Scouts to satisfy merit badge projects, people exercising themselves and their pets, and others in Richland and the greater Tri-Cities seeking refuge in nature. It is a wonderful way to help our children understand and appreciate the special place in which we live.
Perhaps the greatest threat to the Amon Preserve is posed by the city of Richland's proposed right of way for the extension of Rachel Road through the preserve. If this is allowed to happen it will utterly destroy what many Richland citizens have spent hours and years trying to build for the enjoyment of the community. There are better and less-damaging ways to connect the Steptoe and Leslie thoroughfares. An alternative route would offer the best protection for the preserve.
-- BOBBIE BULL, Richland