Friends of Patrick Eagan Park

Letters to the Editor

Eagan This Week
Saturday, November 10, 2001

Loss of Park Means Loss of Geologic History

To the editor:

The city of Eagan wants to convert Patrick Eagan Park, a natural area, into a golf course. More than trees and wildlife would be lost if the park disappeared.

In most construction, we bring in heavy equipment to reshape the land. When that reshaping is finished, there is little evidence of what was once there. Was your home built over a woodland ravine? A tallgrass prairie? A cow pasture? A riding ranch? Did the geological features of your back yard ever offer winter shelter to a band of Mdwakanton Indians? Who knows? Who could ever tell?

The memories that are embedded in the structure of the land are lost. Patrick Eagan Park is glacial terrain. There is no mistaking it. Standing in the park, you can see evidence that it was once covered by a glacier a mile thick. As the glacier retreated, it left all the rubble it had pushed before it---boulders from the Canadian Shield, sand from the prehistoric lake beds.

Between Northfield and the Twin Cities is a varied terrain left behind by the Wisconsinian glacier 12,000 years ago. McCarthy Lake was formed when a huge block of ice was buried under the sand and melted over a period of years to leave a ""kettle."

This is a landscape with a memory. Memory that must be lost as the bulldozers flatten the ravines and hills to make fairways, dislodge the boulders to make the greens. If we lose Patrick Eagan Park, we lose 12,000 years of memory.

This landscape remembers the glaciers, the hunting and camping of Indians, the coming of european settlers who logged off the old-growth timber and they let it go back into natural succession when the land proved too rugged to farm. It's all there.

And when you take an afternoon to wander the park, you gain a sense of perspective on your own life. The day-to-day struggle of your job disappears and you see the curve of your whole life in relation to the curve of geological time.

And that would be a terrible thing to lose.

David Brunet

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