To the editor: After watching the NEMBA Pittsfield Bike Park advocates present their power point about their pump track design to the Pittsfield Park Commission last night, I was simply appalled at the fundamental lack of environmental ethics or conscience (in the words of the great conservationist Aldo Leopold) that these people displayed to the people of Pittsfield and Berkshire County. ("Pittsfield's Parks Commission saw plans for a mountain bike course in Springside Park. It's worried that the project will be too popular," Eagle, Nov. 16.)
Not only did these mountain bike presenters unabashedly show how they would transform Springside Park into the Pittsfield Mountain Bike Park (a clear violation of the park deed and a change of use under Article 97 of the state constitution), but they totally ignored the environmentally costly effects that hundreds of trail trashing and trail shredding mountain bikers would do to the Springside Park biodiversity, ecology, natural green spaces, wetlands and trails of Pittsfield’s largest urban park.
This 2.3-acre atrocity in the woods would consist of 98,000 square feet, including 23,000 square feet of asphalt, 12 prefabricated features including pump track, ladder drops, jumps, an encircling split-rail fence, dual slalom course, skills development zone, gravel walks and an enlarged parking spot for more than 22 cars with overflow parking allocated at the Springside House to allow hundreds of more mountain bikers to invade the rest of Springside Park regardless of delicate ecosystems, the Vin Hebert Arboretum, vernal pools or upland meadows and forests. Over 70,868 square feet of total green space would be taken from Springside Park including the children’s playground and old ballfield.
The adjacent federally protected wetland (calcareous fen) next to the old ballfield would be impacted, despite the dubious and ineffective precautions of construction of turbid water discharge and erosion controls under the city storm water permit.
Victor C. Capelli, Ulster Park, N.Y.
The writer is a retired ecologist and was the resident naturalist at Springside Park from 1991 to 1996.