'Trouble in Paradise' revisitedYour news story in the Nov...

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November 17, 1992

'Trouble in Paradise' revisited

Your news story in the Nov. 1 Sun Magazine was rightly entitled "Trouble in Paradise."

We are seeing so much of the natural heritage of Maryland's deciduous woods being daily destroyed.

A visit to the peace and beauty of Black Marsh makes one grateful to the state in its efforts to preserve open space before it is too late.

Reading the plans of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) makes one hesitate. The park is on Chesapeake Bay. We are trying to save and clean up the bay by law.

How can the building and planning envisioned in this article help to achieve this end?

It should also be a concern that in so many of our state and national parks, the very asset being preserved is now subject to overuse, causing rapid deterioration.

Any planned development in North Point State Park should consist only of a nature center built back away from the critical area of the bay and the delicate wetland of Black Marsh.

Bridget Maginn

Timonium

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Bruce Reid and photographer David Harp deserve tremendous applause for their feature article "Trouble in Paradise." Mr. Reid was careful to treat both sides of the issue surrounding North Point State Park and Black Marsh Wildlands equally.

I was, however, concerned with the statement made by Janet Wood, chairperson of the DNR citizen advisory committee: "We've accepted 90 percent of what the coalition has asked for."

It is true that the DNR's draft master plan was trimmed (i.e., 50 day-use boat slips to 25), but the types of activities the coalition feels would be detrimental to the sensitive wildlands, which abut the 20 acres of proposed development, were not.

There seems to be a misconception of what the coalition has proposed for the park. They do not want to close the gates to the park, but merely propose that such detrimental activities be relocated, away from the already fragile coastline of Chesapeake Bay.

There also seems to be a misconception as to whom the coalition represents. They are the hundreds of thousands of people who make up its members and supporting groups such as the National Wildlife Federation, the National Audubon Society, Clean Water Action and Save Our Streams of Maryland, just to name a few.

The trouble in paradise is that state and local governments have forgotten who the park really belongs to, the citizens of the state of Maryland, denying them the opportunity to discover the beauty of what could be the state's first natural park.

Cindy Stitz

Edgemere

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One advantage of having a natural rather than conventional park at Black Marsh, which was not brought up in the Sun Magazine article, is cost.

Locating park facilities closer to North Point Road instead of on the sensitive waterfront would result in considerable savings in road construction and installation of sewage, water and electrical lines.

Additional savings of over $2 million would be realized from omitting controversial waterfront "improvements."

Nearly all of these savings are attributable to work on the existing pier, creation of 25 boat tie-ups and related dredging.

The remainder includes $87,000 for an incongruous Victorian fountain and $55,000 for a dopey lighthouse (described in DNR's own draft plan as a "cheap nonfunctional replica").

A natural park would need less maintenance, which could be expected not only to produce ongoing savings but also to reduce the size of the planned maintenance complex (currently projected to cost $400,000).

Other facilities would also be smaller and simpler in a natural park.

For example, the picnic area ($500,000) could be scaled down and the large pavilions now planned could be eliminated. (This seems like a reasonable step anyway, in view of the extensive picnic and recreation facilities at Fort Howard Waterfront Park -- only 1.5 miles from Black Marsh).

Downsizing the proposed visitor center and eliminating its coed dorms, bathing facilities and kitchen and food concessions would also decrease its estimated $1.7 million price tag.

Cost is an important consideration in these lean budgetary times. The taxpayers of Maryland could pay less and get a better park at Black Marsh by "going natural."

Sidney Turner

Catonsville

Testing puts heavy stress on students

In the Oct. 24 Maryland section, the headline, "Ex-whiz kid gets 6 months after SAT fraud," should have sent a chill through parents and educators. A 19-year-old boy's life is in ruins, and he will have to pay the penalty.

According to psychologist Dr. Barry Olsen, Lawrence Adler led a life of trauma and abuse. He was "driven to succeed."

His fear of failure or inadequacy led him to persuade a friend to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test; then he manipulated another friend to testify for him in court. His own perjury and an obstruction of justice charge has caused the judge to "make an example of Larry."

The word "driven" describes many parents, politicians, educators and students. It is time for us to re-examine our attitudes toward learning, and particularly toward testing.

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