Protecting a natural legacy

Eden Prairie / Minnetonka, Minnesota
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Commissioners comment about the preservation effort
Having seen Eden Prairie residents Jeff Strate (Friends of Birch Island Woods) and Kim Vos (Zero Expansion) at the meeting, Commissioner Peter McLaughlin noted for the record their presence and that the approval of the woods agreement with Eden Prairie had occurred with the consent agenda vote.

The Minneapolis-based commissioner said that the County action both preserved the land and preserved Hennepin County's land policy and financial standing, "It is a great example," he said, "of how we can work with conflicting ... or partially conflicting values and approaches and actually create public policy that advances our community." McLaughlin went on to thank the citizens group and county land official Marcia Wilda for their respective contributions to the two and a half year-old issue.

Adding to the unscheduled discussion, Commissioner Mary Tambornino said that Mayor Harris had set the tone that the transfer of the land to Eden Prairie would happen and Commissioner Gail Dorfman thanked the Friends of Birch Island Woods saying, "It shows that fighting the good fight, sometimes, actually pays off. Thanks!"

As a result of issues raised by the Birch Island Woods and preservation efforts for Spirit Mountain in Duluth and Patrick Eagan Park in Eagan, the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club is exploring legislation which could lead to clearer policies pertaining to publicly-owned green spaces and encourage greater citizen participation in the review processes for proposals intending to develop public open space.

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