LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let’s work together to save our beautiful river heritage

Re: “Tecumseh Park restoration to include roadway, parking lot and boat ramp but no campground,” Times Feb. 21). The record-breaking flood of 2017 wiped out Tecumseh Park and did incredible damage to the area’s waterways and to people’s homes and property; it even destroyed a couple of important bridges.
Now it’s 2018, and nothing proposed so far will stop the continuing deterioration of our rivers or of Tecumseh Park and Cook’s Access. Our river heritage is heading down the tubes in a giant tsunami of destruction, and with it the value of our homes and property, as well as of fishing and tourism, which have mostly moved to Arkansas, it seems.
We still have canoeing, thank goodness, but now there’s no place free to the public to put in or take out between Patrick Bridge and Tecumseh on the North Fork or between Warren Bridge and Tecumseh on Bryant Creek. And until the boat-launch ramp at Tecumseh is repaired, it’s really not even feasible to take out there. 
When we lose our heritage, our children move away. They won’t come back to an ugly environment or stay in an area where they can’t make a living. We need to pull together, put politics aside and brainstorm possible solutions for restoring our river heritage. One challenge is to come up with workable solutions. Another challenge is to care enough to make this restoration a priority.   
We can see the long- and short-term big picture if the situation doesn’t improve: The overall loss of the economy of our county with fewer jobs, a smaller population, real estate decline and less money for local businesses. What has happened to Tecumseh can happen elsewhere in our county. It affects all of us, rich or poor.  
All of us need to step up to the plate and work together to save our heritage. 
We need help. And we need to be heard.

Diane and David Rienstra

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423