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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Work needs to be done to make Lake Boulevard a safer place

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email letters@bemidjipioneer.com or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.

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Where I live I often see families strolling by, skateboarders, elderly people pushing their walkers, dog walkers and tourists enjoying a nature walk. It is a delightful place.

Lake Boulevard can also at times be a place of grave concern, as the bottom of the hill is also where some choose periodically to sleep at night.

I have had to warn children not to go down there alone when they decide they want to park their bikes on the sidewalk and climb down the old WPA stone steps.

Those are on the days I hear yelling and commotion that oftentimes goes along with too much alcohol. That is when I know it is not a safe place for tourists or children to land.

I have had neighbors tell me they have picked up dirty syringes as they clean up broken whiskey bottles and discarded clothing. Some of us on occasion have had to call law enforcement.

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Over the years it has become dramatically overgrown with buckthorn and lilacs, which are both invasive and not natural habitats along a lake shore.

I have had tourists ask me many times as I work in my gardens by the walkway "Why does your city not clean this up?" They note the lake is barely visible through all the thick brush.

The Indian Trail below is sacred to many Indigenous people and needs to remain a safe place of sanctuary.

Even if the lilacs and buckthorn were cut back within a couple of feet before all the bureaucracy could be tied down it would help. Whether those bushes are 2 feet or 20 feet does not make a difference as far as erosion is concerned as the roots are still intact.

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The city council could get in contact with and discuss the proper route to take to open up this potentially beautiful part of our city with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources or Federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The immature black walnut trees are unusual for this area and are currently threatened by boxelder weed trees. It is becoming a safety issue as this area is getting denser each year.

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I am concerned for children whose innate curiosity to innocently explore nature by descending the stairs to the water could be a serious threat. The tourists and locals that walk this street would thank you as well.

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