Our challenge is to honor and preserve Olmsted’s legacy
Advocacy needed for Public Lands Preservation Act
With the pandemic, climate crisis and deepening political divisions, we have never needed our parks and forests more for respite, carbon capture and storage and common ground, as we are reminded. Malcolm Gay’s story of the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted (“A Green Gem Burnished Again,” page A1, June 12). Development pressures threaten these sanctuaries, and we have an immediate opportunity to protect these lands more permanently.
The Public Lands Preservation Act prevents the sale of these lands without providing a substitute of equal value in terms of size, value, location and natural resources. For the state to reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, we must preserve these lands. Their value as a balm for contemporary ills is evident from the substantial increase in resident visits since the start of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, the Senate version omits this protection and allows the sale of these lands, undermining the purpose of the PLPA. Massachusetts residents should inform Senate Speaker Karen Spilka and their elected Senator and Representative of the Legislative Assembly that the state must adopt H.852, which protects our intact natural heritage.
Lawmakers Should Take Steps To Polish Emerald Necklace, Other Areas
Regarding “Maps: What Boston Could Have Looked Like Had Olmsted’s Original Plans Had Been Realized” (BostonGlobe.com, June 12): Egalitarian public green space is the living legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for the boston emerald necklace. But much of his work has been eroded or never fully realized.
Currently three Bills are before the Legislative Assembly that would provide funding and policies to protect, expand and restore the Emerald Necklace and lands and waters across the Commonwealth.
The Public Lands Protection Act would require that developments on protected public lands be replaced with lands of equivalent environmental and community value.
Significant portions of the original Emerald Necklace have disappeared or been defaced due to public works projects, including Wood Island Park in East Boston, the Charlesgate Corridor in Fenway, and the Shattuck Hospital Complex in Franklin Park.
A second option would be to amend the Economic Development Bill to allocate strong funding from the American Recovery Plan Act and other sources to support the acquisition and restoration of ecologically valuable land.
A third bill would increase the cap on the conservation land tax incentive program, which allows private landowners to donate conservation land and save funds for the state.
We urge residents to reach out to lawmakers to urge action before this session closes in late July.
Director of Policy and Partnerships, Massachusetts
Invest in cleaning up the Muddy River
Thank you for Malcolm Gay’s wonderful front-page story on the 200th anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth and his incredible legacy with the Emerald Necklace. As the article noted, however, the job is not done. Not only are some areas of the Emerald Necklace bisected by noise, pollution and car traffic, which Olmsted never anticipated or designed, but the River Muddy, which he reshaped in order to reduce floods and fight against waste water discharges, is the most polluted. tributary of the Charles River. In 2020, our organization rated it a D minus for E. coli, cyanobacteria, and combined sewer overflows. Truly realizing the potential of Olmsted’s vision for this urban park oasis must include making the necessary investments to clean up the Muddy River.
Charles River Watershed Association