“Gee I wish the public didn’t have access to the waterfront in Burlington,” said nobody ever.
“What a shame the Grand Canyon is preserved as a national park instead of being developed into a golf course, high-end homes and some condominiums,” said nobody ever.
“Too bad the Waterbury Reservoir and Little River State Park are open to the public for camping, boating and recreating when they could be privately developed for exclusive waterfront homes,” said nobody ever.
“How unfortunate that the town of Waitsfield accepted the donation of the Lareau Swim Hole so that people could have a place to access the Mad River,” said nobody ever.
The reticence of some on the Waitsfield Select Board to accept a 2.3-acre parcel of land that abuts the town’s Wu Ledges forest is curious. The tax impact of taking that parcel off the tax rolls in insignificant. It’s 2016 municipal tax bill was $37. The parcel is landlocked and undevelopable. It contains a spring. To argue that taking the parcel off the tax rolls will somehow hurt people financially is questionable.
There is no really good reason to reject the gift of the land from the family of the late Dana and Eleanor Haskin and there are many more good reasons to accept it.
The parcel has merit in its own right and offers an important extension of Wu Ledges and is already being used by the public to access Wu Ledges. It’s no secret that recreation is an attractive draw for any community. Study after study shows that recreational lands have great value and generate revenue.
Recreational lands also provide places for residents to play. That has real value. The Burlington waterfront has real value to people who live and visit there as do all state, local and national parks.