by Lisa Freeman

Last Saturday, a friend and I walked the Simpson Farm. We entered from Wall Street across from Kiwanis Park. About 100 feet in, we noticed that two trees were recently felled and left lying. The bridge on the Conservation District had new and very graphic graffiti, as well as new hatchet marks, cut into it.

Further along, we saw that another tree had hatchet marks cut into it and someone had attempted to set it on fire.

Looking ahead we saw the remains of a bonfire. A campsite was littered with candy wrappers, the remainder of the yellow pages, beach towels, a graphic novel, an overturned trash can, and the remains of a sofa.

The bonfire must have been quite large. It burned the bark and branches of the tree at least 20 feet up.

I called the non-emergency number. I thought it would be best to have the fire department make sure the fire was completely out. The dispatcher did not know where the Simpson Farm was, so I told her and I met the firefighters by the Wall Street bridge. They were happy to take a water cannon out and stated that it was much easier to do that than fight a forest fire.

Canine Officer Cruz was on the scene and eager to investigate. We are beyond fortunate to have this beautiful old-growth forest here in Loveland and it is time to stop ignoring it. We also have the East Loveland Nature Preserve, Hidden Creek Park, the Little Miami River, and the bike trail. It is everyone’s responsibility to care for these resources.

I’m asking the Council and all the City’s committees to make promoting and protecting our green spaces the top priority in 2022.

What does that look like? When the Planning and Zoning Committee considers new developments, how can they assure that greenspaces are incorporated? When the finance committee considers transactions, how can they promote natural resources? Is the Beautification Committee using only native plants in the beautiful planters they create? Has the Community Master Plan committee considered how important green spaces are in their plans?

I know that traditionally the care and keeping of our natural resources have not been the primary purpose of all our committees, but I respectfully suggest that in 2022, we commit ourselves to make this the priority.

Lisa Freeman lives in the Glen Lake subdivision in Loveland