Sierra Club Ozark chapter says keep the state parks
This letter is in response to the story, “Public comments on Bryant Creek State Park and other parks now available for online review” (Times, Jan. 23). The Sierra Club is a national environmental organization that is 3 million strong. In 2017 an Ozark Chapter was formed in Howell County. Recently both legislators and Governor Greitens have suggested selling some of Missouri’s newest state parks. The Sierra Club firmly believes in the need to protect, not sell, these parks.
Many people don’t know how we got the land for the new parks. Flint, Michigan, made headlines with the story of lead-contaminated city water. But many Missourians don’t realize we have a similar horror story of lead contamination. About one hour south of St. Louis, the Doe Run Lead Smelter operated for 121 years. On CBS’s 60 Minutes show, the Doe Run Smelter was called one of the most polluted sites in the U.S. Before the smelter closed, half the children who lived near the factory tested for high lead levels.
After a 20-year EPA lawsuit, Missouri received $55 million in the case. Missouri used a small part of the money to buy the land for these new parks. In early December 2017, Missouri State Parks held a series of public meetings in Branson, Ava and Middlebrook to discuss the future of the new parks. They also set up a website for people to make comments. All three meetings were packed, and over 3,000 people made comments on the website; 96 percent of the online comments were to keep the parks, not sell them.
Tell your state legislators you want to keep your parks!
Earl Fuller, Willow Springs
Sierra Club Ozark Chapter
Editor’s note: The Times did not independently verify the fact presented here.