Two miles of the popular Line Creek Trail, a section that cost the taxpayers about a 2 million dollars to build, runs through the forest. The section of trail was built to community members access to the untouched forest, so why should we ruin it with development?
The trail is about 8 miles long in total, and the rest of the trail goes alongside a busy highway, through neighborhoods and other developed areas. People from all districts in KC use the trail, and it has become a destination for runners, bikers, walkers and more.
But the two miles in the forest are serene and unique, not simply because of the trees directly next to the trail, but because of how insulated it is. The vastness of the surrounding nature makes you feel like you’re not in a busy city, but somewhere completely different than you were 10 minutes before.
On any given day, you can find community members, pets, kids and families enjoying the trail. What CAN’T you find in the forest? Today, there are no roads or lights, not a lot of noise. Today kids and pets can run ahead of their parents on the trail without worrying about cars or traffic.
WHAT SURROUNDS THE FOREST?
The forest is located in a busy part of the Kansas City Northland, off Barry Road. Neighborhoods, and some larger properties on the east, surround the forest. Houses range from 50,000 dollars to 450,000 dollars or even higher, as well as duplexes and apartments. Diverse income ranges, diverse families, all who benefit from the nearby urban forest, which helps improve air quality, storm-water management, clean our waterways, help conserve energy and assist with carbon removal and storage.
Benefits of Green Space
The Line Creek Forest is not a park that requires constant upkeep. This forest is, for the most part, self-sustaining and healthy, and for the last 50 years has grown even more so. Even citizens who never step foot on the trail or in the forest reap the benefits of its existence: the forest provides cleaner air and micro-climate control, reduces noise and light pollution, provides a habitat for animals, such as Missouri’s songbirds, bats and owls, and provides water run-off management in an area notorious for flooding.
Additionally, there have been countless studies on the impact and benefits of urban green spaces, particularly forests, on human physical and mental health. Parks decrease health costs and support productivity, both through encouraging exercise and reducing air pollution.
Depending on their size (and our forest is relatively the size of Central Park), parks and natural green spaces can boost the economy and increase property values, draw visitors from near and far, bringing tourism revenue to local restaurants, hotels and stores.
And taxpayers typically pick up the cost for maintaining roads, replanting trees, restoring green space, managing flood issues, etcetera. So, while we appreciate the need for development, we are also very sensitive to the very real side effects felt by surrounding communities, both short- and long-term implications, especially as it relates to our dwindling green spaces in the Northland.