One-sided deer account

RE: Wissahickon has become ‘a killing field’ Nov. 11

The article written by Len Lear on the dear culling in the Wissahickon was completely one-sided.  Deer lack natural predators in urban areas and deer populations that are left unchecked will inflict serious damage on forests.

Obviously, reintroduction of natural predators is not an option in an urban area.  Multiple studies have concluded that deer overpopulation is detrimental to forest ecological health.  Deer browsing on tree saplings stunt forest reproduction and growth.

If deer populations are not controlled in the Wissahickon Valley, forest and understory vegetation cannot regenerate and will not be sustainable.  Also, there is a limit to the number of deer the Wissahickon Valley can support. Without thinning of the deer popu- lation, food sources will eventually run out and deer will slowly starve to death.

Both the Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society agree that deer culling is vital to forest sustainability.  Unfortunately, thinning of the deer herd is the only effective management technique to preserve the forest of the Wissahickon for future generations.

Bill Richardson
Chestnut Hill

Thanks to 9th Ward voters

Thank you to all Ninth Ward voters. Although our Democratic statewide candidates did not win, here in the Ninth, our 70 percent turnout was double the citywide numbers.

Up here in the Northwest, we have shown time and time again that we understand the issues and the value of every last vote – we don’t sit out elections.  I also want to give a shout out to our excellent  ward committee.  When it comes to identifying and promoting the best candidates on offer, no group of volunteers is more dedicated to open, thoughtful and transparent processes.

John O’Connell
Democratic Leader 9th Ward.

Not into nicknames

The published responses to my letter regarding the Wissahickon Drive are very much appreciated. The historical background they contained is useful and they present me with an opportunity to further explain the point I am trying to make.

When the names of East River Drive, West River Drive, and the paved portion of Wissahickon Drive were renamed, respectively, Kelly Drive, Martin Luther King Drive and Lincoln Drive, the changes were legally authorized by a form a vote of the Fairmount Park Commissioners.

The Forbidden Drive nickname for the unpaved portion of Wissahickon Drive was apparently cooked up by a group of concerned citizens with an admirable goal — that they achieved and for which they deserve our gratitude ­— who lacked the authority to give names to public places.

A more recent example of this do-it-yourself mentality (and another of my pet peeves) is the attempted, and largely successful, eradication of the legal name of John F. Kennedy Plaza in Center City. I readily concede that the plaza’s nickname Love Park is cute, but treating it as if we the real name submerges the intended lasting tribute to our martyred president.

My point in both cases is that there are legal and proper ways to name public lands, which we should respect. Concocting nicknames and then issuing press releases portraying them as real is not the way to do it.

In retrospect, the purpose of identifying the unpaved portion of Wissahickon Drive as a non-highway might have been better served by formally renaming it “Wissahickon Trail.” Maybe it’s not too late.

Jack W. Boorse, P.E.
Center City

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