County Board adds protections for Pleasant Valley Park
By David Press
Along the Milwaukee River, just blocks away from the busy intersection of Humboldt and Capitol lies Pleasant Valley Park, a fragile and threatened ribbon of wilderness hidden from the urban bustle of the city. For years, Milwaukee River Advocates Co-op, a small, dedicated group of environmentalists, has been working and lobbying to protect the land along the river from the habitat destruction caused by tree and plant removal, cutting of unauthorized trails, off leash dog walking, mountain biking and other hyper active recreational uses that threaten a safe, serene, and respectful interaction with the natural habitat. On May 24th, their voices were heard when the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution requiring special protections for the river corridor as it passes through Pleasant Valley and Kern Parks. Here are the highlights of the resolution.
The resolution recognizes:
- The Milwaukee River Corridor is fragile.
- Pleasant Valley and Kern Park have important wildlife habitat and sensitive plant communities.
- Unauthorized tree cutting, trail cutting, vegetation mismanagement, and stressful recreational activity have caused extensive damage and opened sight lines.
- There is ongoing user conflict and extensive damage to and theft of park property.
What does this mean for the future?
The Parks Dept is being directed to do multiple things including:
- Abandon the plan to cut a secondary set of trails through wildlife habitat from Locust to Vienna, and maintain the existing main trail.
- Discourage unauthorized use through permanent signage and enforcement.
- Review the fine structure for activities that damage natural areas, such as mountain biking, off leash dog walking, trail cutting, plant and tree removal, sign theft, fireworks, etc. to determine deficiencies.
- Restore rogue-cut trails to their natural, pre-trail conditions.
Milwaukee River Advocates has pledged to organize volunteers to help County Parks Department achieve the goals of the resolution, including building a boardwalk through the marshy areas, and doing plant restoration. Those interested in helping with these efforts can contact Milwaukee River Advocates at email@example.com.
David Press is a member of Milwaukee River Advocates
Photographs by Eddee Daniel