Forever paved?

To the editor:

The county commissioner’s letter in the July 12 issue, “Lebanon Hills survey explained,” unfortunately explained very little.

Commissioner Tom Egan’s stated refusal to “idly sit by” while citizens mention his park system’s own survey results and his steak dinner analogy have only served to reduce the level of logic in this public discussion.

The commissioner argues that just because only one-third responded “in support of paved trails” it is not reasonable to conclude the remaining two-thirds as being “opposed” to asphalting. OK, then, we’ll restate what is fact: From the survey’s results, two-thirds of the respondents did not in any way indicate being “in support” of paving trails. Any support for paving he feels is within this segment is imaginary until substantiated.

Furthermore, the commissioner then recites a second survey where 66 percent of the respondents supported “trail networks for hiking, biking and skiing” as if further evidence that the respondents wanted their hiking, biking and skiing trails to be asphalt. Steak dinner? This is more like: Where’s the beef? How were these dots connected?

This has been a public relations fiasco for the planners. I’ve seen many letters opposed to Lebanon’s paving and few in support other than the commissioner, who has been quoted often on the topic. If they really wish to proceed with these park modifications without appearing to be railroading some unpopular master plan, they would be wise to reopen the design process and allow further hearings, input and education.

Nobody wants this beautiful park to become a maze of asphalt. I’m sure that includes Commissioner Egan. The problem is each little bit of development establishes the baseline for the next. First a small loop, now just a “few” miles. Lights? Kiosks? The future will expand it from there. Once developed it never reverts. And it is so rare to have such undeveloped wilderness to experience this close to home.

The motto says it all: “Dakota County Parks – Forever Wild! … but forever paved? Please, keep it as advertised.


  • Scott D Johnson

    Well said Mr/Mrs Scott. It is as if our elected leaders refuse to listen to 2/3’s of their citizens. This is just the local level, compare these peanuts to what Minnesota and Washington spend. To date, only Mr. Egan has responded to my letters on this issue to his office (we disagree, but he did respond). None of the other commissioners have responded in over two months. Other people have told me the same story about their letters to the board.