Today in the Daily News, several councilors objected to the linkage trail between Maudsley State Park and Moseley Pines City Park. Voiced by Brian Derrivan over the problem of patrolling a trail system through the forest, both he and Tom Jones, Tom O’Brien and Steve Hutcheson voted against the proposed project. Councilor Jones made mention of the problem of fires being started.
Now Brian Derrivan knows something about this because the Little River Bike Path and the Little River Nature Trail are inside his ward and both pass through wildlife areas. And there have been fires from drinking parties and some limited vandalism along these stretches. And the police have been quite firm they do not intend to hold regular patrols through this area. Overall though, the general safety of visitors have been secure and the disturbances have been minimal.
That’s because the non-profit Parker River Clean Water Association maintains and monitors this city property. They have posted notices of certain basic rules and a phone number for the police in case of emergencies at either end of the trail. Any fires or vandalism is quickly reported to the police and just as quickly any messes are cleaned up. (at no expense to taxpayers!)
I strongly advise the City Project Manager, Geordie Vining (He probably already has!) to contact the Moseley Pines Commission to step up to the plate and do some light monitoring of this trail extension. The police, who probably won’t be patrolling the trail, can be quickly notified of difficulties or at least a posted sign will allow trail users to get hold of them quickly. Any suspicious activity or unusual night parking can be alerted to law enforcement. And any messes such as broken glass or smoldering fires can be attended to ASAP.
It doesn’t matter where in Newburyport you go, the very best partnerships occur when government works closely with concerned citizens and/or citizen groups. The Atkinson Common Commission works hand-in-hand with the Belleville Improvement Society; other groups monitor our city parks and any visitor can tell which ones have private help and which ones do not. The Clipper City Rail Trail wouldn’t look the way it does unless it had dedicated volunteers. And as the years go by, the private Downtown Group is going to have a decided impact on the central part of our City.
In some cities with overbearing public unions, private participation is actively discouraged because it is perversely reasoned that volunteers are robbing the public employees of their earnings. (And you can certainly tell which communities they are!)
THAT IS NOT HOW OUR SOCIETY WORKS!
We have a careful balance between businesses, churches, families, government, private organizations and individual citizens. When one sector tries to take over the job of the other, conflicts and problems arise.
Awhile back, I had a missionary come to my church who reported the attitude of the people in Japan. They had so been taught that government would do things for them that when a terrible auto accident would occur on a busy city street no one would run out to help the victims. They were too busy looking up and down the streets for the ambulance. Strangely, I had another missionary from Europe report the same odd mentality!
In the same issue of the Daily News, an editorial spoke of the cooperation between a jogger and the police to quickly solve a crime.
How sad if that citizen had said instead, “Why should I get involved? That’s the police’s job.”