Ad Spot

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2002

By Staff
Loss of Bonita riding trails would be huge
To the editor:
I must admit that I come to Meridian regularly, not for your great restaurants, cultural events or night life but to visit Bonita Lakes. Rod Hartzog, Meridian resident, is a friend or mine and fellow equestrian. Rod invited my husband and me to ride several years ago. I have had horses all my life and our reason for having them is for pleasure and trail riding.
We have ridden horses all across the states. It does not matter where we go to ride there is no place within any of our neighboring states or less than a 12 hour drive that we would rather go than the trails at Bonita Lakes. Since our first ride there we have invited numerous friends to join us there for a ride. They have also raved about what a unique place Bonita Lakes is and the pleasure it was to come to Meridian for a ride.
If I ever decided to move somewhere else in Mississippi, Meridian would be at the top of the list for this very reason. Bonita Lakes horseback riding with Rod Hartzog is what brought me to Meridian. I am a nurse and know a job would be available, but people go to a place to live because of things they do when not at work.
Bonita Lakes with its acres of trails is something that is so exceptional. It is what has put Meridian on the map in my mind. We find ourselves regularly telling people about this great jewel.
I hear the city is considering doing some development there that would take away the riding trails. Is there anything that can be done for this to be reconsidered? It would certainly be advantageous to those of us who love Meridian because of Bonita Lakes.
Ann Barnes
via e-mail
Golf course would ruin a valuable resource
To the editor:
I am writing in response to a rumor I heard this past weekend while mountain biking here in Baton Rouge. I was told that developers are planning a 36 hole golf course in the Bonita Lakes/Meridian area. This came as quite a surprise and disappointment.
Going mountain biking in the South may seem like an oxymoronic statement, as there are no mountains of which to speak. There are, however, virgin hardwood forests, pinelands and bottomlands which provide excellent riding opportunities for the growing community of mountain bikers in the South.
One of the most beautiful and ecologically valuable areas is now threatened by development. It is in the interest of all parties to further investigate what implications the development of a golf course will have on the region.
Golf courses are the notorious scourge of the
environment. They require the removal of huge expanses of trees and the disruption of the soil. They lead to increased pesticide and herbicide use, which produces chemically tainted runoff. Do the revenues generated by home sales and tourists dollars outweigh the destruction of one of the last tracts of virgin forest?
I understand that development is a necessary and beneficial part of our society. However, by developing in an area such as Bonita Lakes it is not only the mountain bikers that are losing a valuable resource. It is all of us.
Robert T. Kennedy Jr
Baton Rouge, La.
via e-mail
Please don't destroy my park'
To the editor:
Many times Meridian is compared to Tupelo, with Meridian usually on the negative side of the equation. I lived in Tupelo in the late 70's and early 80's. Tupelo was a progressive community, even back then. One of my favorite activities while living in Tupelo was taking my Labrador Retriever to one of the city parks for a run.
At that time Tupelo had a very nice park, similar to Bonita, but not nearly as nice or extensive as what we have in Bonita Lakes. Two years ago I traveled to Tupelo for a soccer tournament. Tupelo has placed their soccer complex in the park where I used to take my dog for his runs. I am as avid a soccer fan as anyone in Meridian, but I was dismayed to see what they had done to "my park." All of the running trails are gone. You cannot even run all the way around the lake anymore.
Had I continued to live in Tupelo I would have objected to placing the soccer fields in this park, even though I love soccer so.
Meridian is now considering destroying a portion of Bonita Lakes for a golf course. I must state that I am for progress in Meridian; in fact, I have supported every major project undertaken in Meridian in the 12 years I have lived here. I support the Cooper Land Development project. I do not support putting a new golf course at Bonita.
Meridian has something so special in Bonita Lakes. I have a new 7-month-old Labrador Retriever, and she loves to run the trails at Bonita. Two of my other favorite activities are biking the trails and running at Bonita. I also enjoy spending time in solitude surrounded by the beauty there.
Bonita Lakes is a huge treasure for Meridian. Please do not destroy "my park." Let's do one thing right that Tupelo did not.
David Denham
via e-mail