NANFA-- preserving greenspace.. a few thoughts...

Robert Carillio (
Wed, 4 Sep 2002 11:22:24 -0500

The Time To Preserve Greenspace in The Mahoning Valley Is NOW! ..Thoughts to

By: Rob Carillio

I am someone who has traveled the nation and the state of Ohio quite
extensively. With this travel, I have grown to appreciate all of the natural
and rural landscapes that form our country and state..

In this article, I want to take the opportunity to reflect on Ohio's natural
and rural landscapes, and what it means to me to preserve them, so that future
generations will have the opportunity to appreciate natural and rural Ohio,
just as I have had the benefit of enjoying.

With urban sprawl swallowing up so much of our natural and rural landscape
daily, in the form of new roads, subdivisions, shopping plazas, etc, I wonder
what my Ohio will look like in 20 years? Will I still see the wide open
spaces of graceful rolling forested hills to the South East that I have
grown to love???.. Will I see the opening up to the great plains in the
Western part of the state? Will I see the peaceful old family farm?.. or the
small country town with unique local Mom and Pop stores? Will places like our
state parks , be but an Island of green surrounded by pavement?. How many more
Home Depots, Lowes, Shopping Plazas, and Pharmacies do we really need???.. In
20 years, what will be the more rare landscape? A strip plaza, or urban and
suburban greenspace? What will people value more? Will I still see the
mixture of these landscapes right here in the Mahoning Valley? Perhaps not,
so with that in mind, the time to preserve greenspace in the Mohoning Valley,
is now.

These questions often come to mind, as I see these landscapes continue to
vanish in the name of economic development. Perhaps to some of you, like me,
visions of these landscapes have created many fond memories of travels in
all seasons. Visions etched forever in my mind like that gold and orange
sunset overlapping a cobalt blue sky just above a sparkling Mosquito Creek
Lake. Or the open field or meadow where tall grasses and wildflowers sway
back and forth in Summer breezes. Brilliantly colorful Autumn foliage, or
the thick lush green forests along country roads. Yes, visions such as these
have always generated an inner peace with me and provided tranquility for
the soul. Stepping out and being alone in such areas, I have often, found
the answers to problems I have faced. They are the perfect places for
meditation and to realize how much simple pleasures , mean the most in life.
With all that in mind, the time to preserve future greenspace in the Mahoning
Valley is now..

Now that I have taken time to reflect a bit on the tranquil beauty of our
natural and rural landscapes, ask YOURSELVES the following questions. Are
these qualities in and around your community you want to see vanish?.. What
kind of world do you want to grant to your children?... Do you want
everyplace that surrounds you to become wall to wall concrete and noisy
traffic??? When was the last time you wanted to relax and get away from it
all, and you envisioned sitting in a traffic jam?.. or being elbow to elbow
in a shopping mall???. Probably not too often, I would guess! A more suitable
environment to escape reality in may be ones that I described above! Again..
I say..With all that in mind, the time to preserve future greenspace in the
Mahoning Valley is now..

From here, until this article is finished, I want to offer some philosophies
as to how preserving greenspace just may possibly make a positive impact on
the local and area economy.. You read.. then decide for yourself whether or
not you believe we could stand to set aside more greenspace... The
following are just my opinions that are a result of experiencing life here
surrounding me?

Most of us have heard about what the benefits of preserving greenspace
provides wildlife in the way of food and shelter, but we often take for
granted the economic aspect of preserving greenspace. Have you ever noticed
how car commercials on T.V. always use nature as a backdrop to sell their
product? Sure you have! hills, deserts, lakes, green forests, and mountains
are the usual scenes on a T.V. commercial that make that vehicle look
irresistible. The thought of taking it on a camping trip in a foreboding
forest tempts the imagination and sense of adventure locked deep within us
all! Well, their will be no commercial backdrop like that if it becomes a
new subdivision, nor will you probably want to buy a $30,000.00 vehicle to
camp in a subdivision either! Nature is sublimly used to attract buyers of
that new vehicle!

Let's have a few more "economic" looks at what preserving greenspace means.
Have you ever taken note to real estate advertising???.. Do you notice how
many new developments and their advertising boast "wooded lots", "country
setting", or other natural names which use nature's appeal to allure
perspective buyers?.. How about names of developments like "Fox Run", "Deer
Creek", "Bass Lake", and "Quail Hollow". The list can go on and on. Just
have a look around and take notice! You can see how natural and rural appeal,
help to sell the real estate product, and above, the motor vehicle product as
well. What do you think???.

Another aspect of what the natural and rural landscape can play on our
economy is the manufacture and sale of hiking, canoe, kayaking, fishing and
camping equipment, cameras for nature photography, and research equipment
used by biologists. Think about it. Why not one day have this equipment
manufactured here in the Mahoning Valley, and used by money spending visitors
HERE, in the Mahoning Valley?.. Why should other areas collect all the
benefits of this when many people may want to look for something to do
outdoors a little closer to home? You shouldn't have to go thousands of
miles away to experience the fascination of nature. Join the Machining River
Consortium on a nature outing sometime, and you may be amazed at what you
learn and see a short distance from home!

So as to not degrade and undermine this rural and natural landscape we have
been discussing, let us learn new ideas and ways which help us to achieve
balance between the natural and rural world, and the urbanized and
manufactured one. Let us practice environmentally friendly, compatible and
sustainable economic development, good for the long term, which
conservation groups such as The Mahoning River Consortium, The Trumbull
County Soil and Water Conservation District, and The Ohio Sierra Club,
advocate and show us how to accomplish!

It's up to us here and now to know where we are going in the future with how
we shape our communities , and how it will negatively or positively impact
our areas natural and rural landscape in the long run, so we must think long
term in the way we plan, not short term. If all this is new to you, perhaps
a good idea to attain a new found affection and relationship with natural and
rural lands, is to visit a state park, a river, a small farm market, a small
town or village, a nature preserve, etc. and see what a pleasant experience
it can be. You will then see what is at risk of disappearing. Remember this
quote as well. I don't know who said it originally, but it has stuck in my
mind since I heard it, and it really applies to the material within this
article. It says. "We only SAVE what we love.. and we only LOVE what we know".
With this said, take the time to get to KNOW what we could stand to lose.

If we can preserve much of our natural and rural areas through responsible
urban planning, perhaps in the future, your children will have the same
privilege of experiencing the wonder ofthe nation's , Ohio's, and
specifically the Mahoning Valley's natural and rural heritage. Maybe my Ohio
and mahoning Valley, in 20 years will not be the fragmented cluttered place
it is seemingly becoming in many areas today.

I finish by saying, for a final time.. With all the above in mind, the time
to preserve future green space in the Mahoning Valley is now.
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