- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
An ugly picture of the America of the very near future has just been painted before conservation leaders who journeyed to New York City, more than a thousand strong, for the 24th North American Wildlife Conference and 22 related meetings. This picture is one of a land of vast, sprawling urban complexes containing woefully inadequate green places for outdoor recreation; hardly any space to get out and cool off from the heat generated by the pressures of living in these contiguous cities.
The speakers emphasized how fast this condition is being reached. They told how superhighways, usually built through richer land, are spawning communities and industrial centers along their routes; how the rush to the suburbs results in cities bumping into each other; and how a populace on wheels makes this urban sprawl possible.
Dr. Edward C. Higbee of the University of Delaware said that, unless precautions are taken, whole regions such as that between Boston and Washington are destined to become fused cities and suburbs. David R. Brower, executive director of the Sierra Club in San Francisco, confided that he had been sent to New York on a secret mission—a search for land on which California can resettle its surplus citizens.
"I wish this pretense was as humorous as it is ridiculous," he said. "But it isn't."
Then he added a few brush strokes to the general picture by describing the West Coast freeways and how the suburban sprawl has already spread 30 miles to the south along both sides of San Francisco Bay.
He even dropped an arch hint that those earthquakes they have out there are not due to subterranean shifting but are simply caused by the increasing weight of people.
Melvin E. Scheidt, consultant and former director of the Baltimore Regional Planning Council, wielded his brush to paint the metropolitan sprawl in that city. In 1930, he said, Baltimore had 804,000 people, but the four surrounding counties had only 228,000. By 1957 the city's population had increased only to 980,000, but the surrounding counties had grown to 727,000. By 1980 the regional population is expected to reach 2,600,000 and may reach 4,000,000 by the year 2000, even though the city of Baltimore itself is expected to have only 1,300,000 as its ultimate population.
At past meetings speakers have discussed fluctuating animal populations, habitat and life history studies and problems of wildlife management. They still do. At this conference, held at the Statler-Hilton Hotel, they took up everything from "Reliability of Cottontail Censusing" to "Food Habits of Mallards in Louisiana." But now the conservationists have run smack into an explosion—an explosion of the human population. Planners in any of these fields have to keep revising their estimates because of human invasion.
In less than 20 years, said Dr. Higbee, the population of the U.S. has increased by 50 million and there will be 62 million more Americans living here in 1975.