J500 Media and the Environment

Save the Wetlands, save the Flint Hills by tylerw09

The other day I went to the Baker wetlands for the first time. I had heard a lot about them and I thought that it was a bit of a shame that I haven’t seen them sometime in the four years I’ve lived in Lawrence.

I had a great time at this beautiful place, but it made me wonder what progress really is.

For a long time there has been controversy about a proposed highway, an extension of K-10, that would go through the wetlands.
Supposedly this would lessen the traffic on 23rd Street, but it would also destroy an ecosystem and a beautiful part of Lawrence.

There is even a “new wetlands” being built to appease people who are upset.

The question is does this matter? Is any place safe from progress?

I think the Flint Hills should be. My family is originally from Eskridge (I was happy to see that they have a website!) and I have spent a lot of time there. While I am all for alternative energy methods and support the use of wind turbines, I feel that they should be in every place except the Flint Hills, as are the last of the Tallgrass Prairie.

A thousand wind turbines in the Flint Hills would only generate 1/10 of 1% of our nation’s energy production. Do you think wind should not be used as an alternative energy source until it becomes more efficient? Am I being hypercritical because I support alternative energy but don’t want them in a place that is so dear to me? I don’t think so. I am going to do everything I can to help the Flint Hills, because they deserve to be protected.

-Tyler Waugh


5 Comments so far
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The Flint Hills definitely are beautiful, but I guess I don’t have as much of an emotional connection to them as you do. And to be honest, I don’t think wind farms are that ugly. I think they’re pretty beautiful. But I do know what the Flint Hills mean to people, I know how gorgeous they are, and I know that wind turbines could change that to some.

I think a happy medium would be to look into wind farms everywhere else in the meantime, before thinking about whether to build them in the Flint Hills. Probably a hundred or so wind farms (maybe more since I last looked into it) are in the process of being approved or built in Kansas alone.

Comment by jessicasb

I agree with Jessica; I’ve not got that emotional a connection with the Flint Hills, but have driven through them and agree that they are beautiful. I also think that turbine farms can be beautiful as well. I probably would be more concerned about damage from progress, if that progress was something else (ie a factory, a slaughterhouse, a [albeit random] neighborhood).

While I agree that the wetlands should not have a road put through them (and that the “new” portion is nothing but an attempt at appeasement), I think most people tend to overlook that if the by-pass is put in, we would also lose part of out local history. Or, to be more specific, Native Americans would especially; with the strong tie between Haskell (especially in the early decades when it was a boarding school), the area has a historical significance that no man-made, “appeasement” site can replace.

Comment by marybethw

I think that’s a lot of people’s problems with wind farms, is that they’re ugly and fundamentally change the landscape. I guess what makes me in favor of them is that they’re a step in the right direction to preserve the entire earth. If current emissions and pollution continue, can you imagine what the Flint Hills would look like in 20 years? 10 years?

Comment by alyv

The aesthetic argument is one I’ve heard many times, especially in the Flint Hills, but after visiting a rancher in the Flint Hills who has a wind farm, named Pete Ferrell, I really think this is something that should be left up to individual landowners.

It seems like the Flint Hills ranchers have banded against him, and he is criticized as being the odd one out, but I think he’s making a much more sustainable livelihood than he is by ranching.

Why is ranching aesthetically pleasing but something that is truly sustainable is not?

Comment by Lauren Keith

Thanks for writing about the Flint Hills. They are my favorite place too. We have lost almost all of the tallgrass prairie, but the flinty rocks of these hills made it possible for Kansas to keep the last large stand of unbroken tallgrass prairie in North America. It would be a shame to lose that now to other developments. So please keep telling everyone how great the hills are.

Comment by Dennis Toll

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