by Elaine Klaassen
Anyone who has been to the South Dakota Badlands and Black Hills realizes that it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the country. Anyone who has been there also has noted that it’s horribly commercialized, from signs in the roadways to cheap souvenir stands to fees just for driving down the highway. You leave the area with two thoughts: one, this is a special place, and two, it didn’t take us long to ruin it.
Visitors to Minneapolis for a century have been amazed by its park system. This urban forest is vast, unique, egalitarian, user-friendly, poetic-and, in 2005, short of funds. Federal and Minnesota state budgets have been tight the last few years, and aid to local government agencies, including the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB), has been reduced.