The Times-Independent

Leave the Old City Park duck pond alone

When I first heard the proposal to remove the fence enclosing the pond at Old City Park, I thought such a misguided idea would die on the vine.

The chain link fence that surrounds the duck ponds at Old City Park protects both the wildlife that call the pond home and curious children, argues letter writer Cynthia Beyer.
Photo by Doug McMurdo

But alas, the city is moving forward due to a partial funding source that will expire in 2025. Why would city officials want to remove fencing protection from a pond recently configured to form critical habitat for rare wood ducks and roundtail chub?

It makes no sense, yet the city’s director of Parks is moving to develop the pond with a pathway more accessible to people, yet with no consideration given for the resident waterfowl, chub and the dense vegetation forming a protective environment.

Changing the pond’s slope, to make it more accessible after the protective fence is removed, will disturb the waterfowl and vegetation, making it easier for dogs to harass the ducks.

Oh, but wait, the split-rail fence designed to replace the protective fence will be signed to make dogs stay away. That’s a laugh. Anyone who has frequented Old City Park knows dogs constantly run around with complete disregard of signs, boundaries or their master’s commands.

When the park had signs that  read; “No Dogs Allowed” it made no difference. Instead of enforcing the no-dogs rule, the city deemed it easier to take down the signs and allow dogs.

Replacing the protective fence with a split-rail fence will encourage children to access the pond to play and get close to the waterfowl. The park already has a safe water feature for kids, so why create an additional unsafe one?

The signs on the fence forbidding the feeding of ducks are routinely disregarded, but the fence protects children when feeding the ducks. Have you ever seen a toddler chased by large ducks or geese when they run out of food to feed them? It is not a laughing matter for the toddler.

Joe Cresto’s recent opinion piece [“Old City Park pond needs predator-proof fencing,” The Times-Independent, Jan. 25] made many excellent points that I won’t reiterate, except to repeat this pond must have a protective fence around it, to keep out all dogs, coyotes, raccoons, skunks and humans; and current vegetative cover should not be removed or disturbed.

Just because you have funding does not mean it should be used to create an unsafe environment for humans and resident wildlife. Landscape architecture thinking, in this case, must give way to ecological wisdom.

Please, leave well enough alone!

Cynthia Beyer writes from Moab.