If preservation of at least a portion of the Rathdrum Prairie is no longer possible, then I think it's time to take more than a few to task. As the December 2 Spokesman Review editorial states - there's a whole lot of blame to share. The farmers, the towns, the realtors and the developers - all.
But let me tell you, the prairie is not a paradise in which to live. We are in one of the 5 acre developments. In four years we have not been able to enjoy a meal on our deck - the wind. That constant wind. And landscaping? Not for the faint of heart. The soil, being former riverbed, is so rocky digging a hole in which to plant is a daunting task. Then real soil (rather than the powdered rock that suffices), mulch, fertilizer and enough water to put a dent in the aquifer must be added. If anything over 3 feet is planted it must be well staked or you'll spend a plentiful amount of time re-righting it. Then there is winter. Shovelling drifts of slush 3 and 4 feet high to clear a drive is a difficult task for the stoutest of hearts. Especially in the wind - that constant wind.
You developers and realtors aren't doing your clients any great favor by continuing your march to obliterate the Prairie.
What I find curious is that like our towns, the County does have a comprehensive plan. I looked it up and found generic boiler plate that says very little. But it is there and somebody should be held accountable for it. Ultimately I would guess its our county planners and commissioners.
Things have a way of passing under the radar around here. About three years ago there was a series of meetings to decide the future of the Prairie. It was sponsored by the Planning Commission to the best of my recollection and was facilitated by Swaner Design, an open space planning firm out of Salt Lake City. What was the final plan and where is it now?
I attended those meetings and asked Mr. Swaner who would be responsible for implementation of the final plan. He told me it would fall upon each individual community as well as the county. I really want to know what has happened. Our tax dollars paid for it! Yet the march to obliteration continues.
I see in this morning's paper there is a citizens' committee involved with readdressing the jail expansion plan. We perhaps need a very vocal citizens' committee to oversee and report on all the actions of our elected leaders. A shadow government of citizens if you will. People from all walks of the community.
As much as I don't like living on the Prairie - there is a certain beauty to it; a serenity despite the wind and an environmental nature unique to our area. If the entire Prairie can no longer be preserved because of the checker board development that has already occurred, could there not be a portion salvaged as our own version of Prairie Lands National Park? Could the Nature Conservancy or a like national entity help? Are there not grants available for such endeavors? Could a citizens' committee not research this and make recommendations to OUR elected officials?
I read "It's too much money", "It's too late", "It can't be done". Can't never accomplished anything. But this would take a cohesive effort from a lot of citizenry. People willing to put out effort rather than rhetoric. Are we a community with a common bond and goals? Or are we a community of self agrandizement and self interest? Time will tell? The Prairie doesn't have time.