What do the experts say about the Line Creek Forest?
The Mid-America Regional Council has designated the Line Creek Forest as medium-to-high priority for forest conservation and restoration, according to their Natural Resource Inventory and ArcGIS mapping.
Missouri Department of Conservation has said, “because of its relatively healthy condition and its location, the area [the Line Creek Forest] is an important piece of property for conservation,” describing the area as a combination of bottomland forest and upland forests and woodlands, and saying, “several species of oaks and hickories, some quite old, can be found in the more upland parts of the corridor. Among other benefits, this contiguous green space offers valuable wildlife habitat, improved water quality, and outdoor recreation.”
When the city developed the Line Creek Trail, the forest surrounding the trail was evaluated as “… untouched wilderness areas with substantial natural and archaeological resources and wildlife habitat…” and “… some of the last remaining original woodland forest within Kansas City in Platte County,” according to KC Ordinance 090697.
Using its size, health and age for comparison, there are only two other similar green spaces in the KC Northland, and the Line Creek Forest is the last unprotected one (this is why we refer to it as the lastKCforest.com). In other words, there is no mulligan. If we eradicate the Line Creek Forest, there is not another comparable forested area to preserve in the future.
Supports Greater KC Initiatives
According to the Greater Kansas City Regional Forestry Initiative, less than 2 percent of our trees are 18” in diameter or more. In this forest are ancient oaks existing in a complex and symbiotic ecosystem.
Taxpayers have spent money supporting the local research of the Greater KC Regional Forestry Initiatives, where findings conclude, quote, “Local leaders, planners and residents (that’s us) can use the study results to develop a regional forestry framework improved long-term management plans and policies that will protect and preserve our trees for future generations"
The Greater KC Forestry Initiative dictates, “Increasing our tree cover by just 10% would: Remove 1 million more tons of air pollution/year; Remove 3.1 million tons more VOC* emissions/year; Sequester 9.4 million more tons of carbon/year.”
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.