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Editorial -- December 6, 2001 EP News
Eden Prairie News EDITORIAL
December 6, 2001

Kudos for saving woods

It has been more than two years since a local group of residents banded together to lobby for the preservation of Birch Island Woods.

There have been many twists and turns along the way, many times when members of the group called Friends of Birch Island Woods feared the county-owned land they were trying to save was a sliver away from being developed. They no longer have to worry thanks to a deal for the city to buy about 28.6 acres of the woods for $600,000.

Council members officially approved doing just that Tuesday, and the County Board will presumably do the same Dec. 18. It was a simple and quite happy ending to a complex issue that raged over one philosophical question: Should the county give the land to the city through a no-cost conveyance?

Indeed, the city wanted to save the land, and the county wanted to sell it to the city. However, the county did not want to set a "dangerous" precedent of just it giving away. That, of course, left the city looking at a myriad of ways to dig up the necessary cash.

So, in the end, the city got what it wanted, the county got what it wanted, and, much more importantly, so too did the residents. The land is saved in what can be termed appropriately a win-win-win situation.

We are thankful for that, and most appreciative for the heroic efforts of the Friends of Birch Island Woods, the City Council and city staff. It wasn't easy dealing with a county bent on getting what it wanted, no matter if that meant bulldozing the woods for homes.

And what a victory.

Birch Island Woods is an Eden smack dab in the middle of a sea of suburban sprawl. Its forests and wetlands remain a wonderland for those who want to get away from it all and don't have time to travel up north.

What a shame it would have been if this sanctuary were developed. Think about the generations to come that would have lost out on its magical beauty.

Let's never forget what these residents and city officials did for us. There is only one word to describe it: priceless.

©Eden Prairie News 2001

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