Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lytle Creek Day 2012 - Definitely a Celebration!

On this beautiful fall day we had the opportunity to celebrate many things - a lovely pavilion used as a gathering spot, American Heritage Girls demonstrating community service, community friends celebrating the natural resource, Lytle Creek, and two outstanding women who have chosen to use their time, talents, and enthusiasm to making our community a better place - Laura Curliss and Dori Sabino.   I wanted to share with everyone what Laura Curliss had to say.  It is a touching, and rather moving personal piece that I hope speaks to your heart and moves you to get more involved in helping us more fully realize our local potential. 
Thank you , Laura, for putting into rather elegant words, what many of us feel in our hearts! 
A SPEECH FOR LYTLE CREEK DAY – Oct. 6, 2012 – by Laura Curliss

Little Lytle Creek.  What is it?  What does it mean to us, its neighbors and friends?

It’s just a little stream looking to be what it wants to be…
a tiny bit of wilderness, a wild waterway that seeks to
bring to us the benefits of renewal. Something in the human soul wants to stay connected to water.   The language and imagery about water is poetic and religious in nature.

Waterways are wild.  They go where they please … if we humans don’t interfere.


The riparian woodland beauty of Lytle Creek has called out to many.   It is the Vision of many people, including the Lytle Creek League of Conservators which formed in 2003 with the Leadership of Roy Joe Stuckey and many others. Fred Buckley, Wallace Collett, Nathan Hale, Fred Anliot, Lori Williams.  Mayor David Raizk and the Wilmington Council approved the purchase of the former Purvis-Ferguson farms, 127 acres in the Wilmington Park system now known as the Lytle Creek Nature Preserve.  Many have served on the Board of LCLC and are here today. 

Bob Johnson, Bob Thobaben and Dr. Maxine Hamilton have contributed as County Park Commissioners.  The County Commissioners have approved the use of land for woods, trail and prairie use.  On Lytle Creek Day in 2006, former Wilmington College Pres Dan DiBiasio called it “Wilmington’s Central Park” and Roy Joe Stuckey the "Frederick Olmsted of Clinton County," in reference to the landscape architect who designed New York City’s Central Park.

My definition of the Lytle Creek Greenway is the same as the Ohio Greenways definition – it is a collection of lands, often called nodes, that connect in some fashion – here to Lytle Creek – that create a wilderness experience in or near an urban area.

Lytle Creek gives and it receives.  It gives us a way to connect with wilderness and that which is wild in us.  Lytle Creek receives what we give it and gives it to others, downstream, eventually leading to the Little Miami National Scenic River and then to he Ohi/yo, Senaca for the “good river,” according to William Bright, Native American Place Names (2004). 

Will Rogers of the Trust for Public Lands envisions a system of parks and open space that stretches from inner city to wilderness.  Lytle Creek and the Lytle Creek Nature Preserve are the remnants of a wilderness that once covered central Clinton County.  You can reconnect in this wilderness, discover and learn, find the freedom to day dream, to solve your problems, heal your wounds, refresh, rejuvenate and to realize your full potential.  And have a little fun. Wilderness is freedom.  This is the allure of the life of the “mountain man” or the romanticism of living “on the land.”  No rules except what you make or of which nature reminds.  But remember the #1 rule of entering wilderness , which I learned as a Girl Scout – Take only pictures and leave only footprints.

The idea of wilderness is an afterthought in Ohio.  We have mostly tame areas now, except for the remnants…things we call greenways, preserves or natural areas.  This is why my husband and I named a 70 acre county park we helped to create the “East Fork Riparian Reserve.”  We wanted to emphasize the importance of reserving to nature this land, where humans are the visitors, not the residents.  These are places where wild creatures and plants might find a handhold on the escarpment of civilization.  Places where we, too, can be wild with them.

This is why I am involved in land trust work – to permanently preserve important farmland and natural areas for the benefit of future generations, for the benefit of resources and wilderness areas conservation.  Land Trusts have preserved more land that all of the national parks combined and here in Clinton County, Clinton County Open Lands and Tecumseh Land Trust have preserved over 600 acres.  If County Park lands are included, more than 1000 acres are currently preserved or dedicated to public use.  Unless land is under conservation easement, no land is immune from a change of use. 

Congratulations to the Lytle Creek League of Conservators for being the stewards of a vision for a bit of urban wilderness in the City of Wilmington.  Generations from now, like the Girl Scout troop here today, will thank you for your hard work, your vision, your effort to give every man, woman and child the opportunity to connect to this good earth in the Lytle Creek Greenway.