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To the editor:
I can’t describe my joy at hearing of the upset about the state of Wildcat Creek.
My wife and I moved here just three years ago from northern Woodford County — not far as the crow flies but in some ways like a different country. We were nature lovers living among carefully manicured horse farms — beautiful in their way but completely unnatural — and our first spring in Anderson County was partially spent on learning to coax vegetables out of rocky soil and partially on learning to appreciate that the weeds that horse farmers in Woodford exterminated from their bluegrass and alfalfa were, in their own environment, lovely wildflowers.
I drove up Wildcat Road one day and was awestruck at the beauty of the rocky creek bed. The foliage was out and my eyes were mostly on the road, so I missed some of the happier sights, so I left with an urge to return for a hike.
After growing a bit overly familiar with Case Road on my twice-daily walks with our dogs, I took one of them to Tyrone. I parked near the beginning of the gravel portion of Wildcat Road and led Ollie to the creek. It must have been August, as I’ll never forget the profusion of jewelweed and great blue lobelias, two of our most beautiful wildflowers.
At any rate, it was late enough in the season and dry enough that we could walk up the creek bed, and for a hundred yards or so my breath was taken away — in a good way — by the beauty of the scene. I turned my attention to the flowers and the bird calls and took the odd lawn chair or engine block protruding out of the pools to be anomalies.
But it slowly dawned on me that they were the rule, not the exception, and by the time I reached the top of the canyon, I was disheartened, disillusioned, sad, angry, frustrated — full of emotions that were totally the opposite of what I had gone there in search of.
Instead of being uplifted, I was to be weighed down by every additional ton of trash I saw. And my best estimate, by the time I returned to the road, was that I’d seen a hundred tons or more.
Since then I’ve often asked myself who might be able to organize the incredible community effort it would take to clean out the area, restore it, acquire the rights, construct the pathways and create what could be one of the most beautiful nature walks in the state. I knew it was beyond me, pushing 70, a newcomer to the county, a stranger to its people, its customs, its values and its wishes.
But I’ve often wondered if it might in fact take an outsider with a fresh eye to see the potential for this canyon.
So it gladdens my heart to hear the outrage that others feel about the abuse of the land and the condition to which Wildcat Creek has sunk.
I am elated that it is native Anderson Countians themselves who are raising a cry to return the area to a more natural state and to protect and preserve it.
I applaud David Ruggles for the efforts he intends making to acquire assistance in cleaning up the area. And I pray that the people here, every one of us, may come to revere the natural beauty of this county and carry the same effort to every road within its borders. And may we someday learn to respect one another enough to never again trash the environment we share.