Letter: Don’t mess with Mother Nature
This letter to the editor was composed, but not sent, in July after reading the Board of Supervisors’ decision not to proceed with the study and permitting process of dredging Put-In Creek (before the Army Corps of Engineers announced its own study). It is submitted here to remind folks of the history that would be undiscovered and the benefits unrealized if Put-In Creek is left to the encroachment of the environment.
I read with interest and sadness the decision not to pursue the Put-In Creek project. Thinking of what we will never see or know about our history is heartbreaking.
What if there was no Colonial Williamsburg? What if Rockefeller was prevented in the excavation of historic buildings? What if significant pipes, shards of pottery, bottles, and belt buckles still lay buried under dirt and growth?
Where would we be if the Revolutionary War period was left only to the assumption of what might have happened? What if the beach at Yorktown was never developed into Riverwalk?
Our history is waiting to be revealed. The Archeological Society of Virginia, Middle Peninsula Chapter, has already identified 40 prehistoric Virginia Indian sites in Mathews in the last two years. High on their list of projects is to survey and archeologically investigate some of the 32 shipyard sites from the "Golden Age" of shipbuilding in Mathews that date from the Revolution to the War of 1812.
Instead, Put-In Creek will be allowed to keep its story silent. The commerce that transpired early in Mathews and the lives led will be left unknown. The treasures of the past will lie buried. The everyday tools and the craftsmen who created the grand ladies of the sea will have no voice.
Mathews lost much of its heritage when records were burned. Other traces of what once was have disappeared from the landscape or decayed in the undergrowth.
Now, instead, Mathews will keep the wetlands, the marsh and animals that moved into the area when the concern for a waterway diminished. So it appears that Mother Nature has won.
So as vines encroach on your home, hurricane winds fell the trees, invasive plants fill your neighborhood, give up and let the earth take over civilization. (Even now there is a TV show with that premise.) Don’t Mess with Mother Nature! Conservationists promote "Leave No Trace," but I don’t believe historians would agree with this twist of philosophy. When it comes to economics vs. environment, it seems the green grass wins over the green dollars.
I am a proponent of conservation and the environment. I believe in the protection of wildlife. I believe we are all caretakers of God’s creation, but I also believe preserving the heritage of our past is a noteworthy endeavor.
Congratulations for the realization that what we have is worth the effort and cost of discovery. Our future is built on the past and we have a unique opportunity to share our heritage and create a living history that can be educational, experiential, and environmentally friendly.