SI Vault
Steve Raymond
April 27, 1981
Most people think parks are invariably good for wildlife. After all, look at all those bears and bison in Yellowstone; if the park didn't exist, there certainly would be a lot fewer of them. If that's true of Yellowstone, it must be true for other parks, even if on a much smaller scale, right?
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April 27, 1981

When This Wild Area Became A Park, Animals Left And People Suffered

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Since then it has attracted a great many people. Some began to scatter grain for the mallards. Soon, crows and pigeons discovered the handouts and moved in. Now mallards are rare, but crows and pigeons abound.

The park is a haven for another kind of life, too. At night the cars come. Their tires scream and their engines rumble as they race along the beach front. When they tire of racing, they sometimes go into the park itself—even though there are no roads and motor vehicles are prohibited. They drive onto the grassy field, which once was covered with brambles, and dig ruts in its surface. Two trees have been among the casualties.

Sometimes the damage is much worse. So far, at least two cars and a motorcycle have plunged over the bulkhead the city built to keep the sea from intruding on its new park. The motorcyclist won't be back; they found his body in Puget Sound.

The mornings disclose deep scars in the grass. Cans, bottles and other garbage are strewn on the grass where quail once hid their chicks and cock pheasants called.

So don't tell me that parks are always good for wildlife. I know of one that isn't.

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