As City resident, field ornithologist and retired environmental and land use planning lawyer with a demonstrated interest in the preservation and conservation of PHP, First Landing State Park (“FLSP”) and the Lynnhaven estuary, I would offer the following comments and suggestions concerning the PHP draft Master Plan as presented by the City at the July 2012 PHP Stakeholder meeting:
PHP has been disturbed.
Fundamentally, the value of PHP to the community, the Lynnhaven and the Chesapeake Bay rests upon one fact: it is among the last, remaining, large, undeveloped, open spaces along the Lynnhaven River and it is in public ownership. Indeed, but for FLSP and now PHP, the essentially urban, north end of the City would be a far less inviting area in which to live, work and visit. But PHP, while “undeveloped”, is by no means undisturbed or unaltered. The remaining maritime forest is second or third growth in which fire has been suppressed. Wetlands and transition uplands have been filled with dredge spoils; tidal flow to other wetlands is restricted by a network of berms. As a designated “Natural Resource Area Park”, there should not be in a rush to disturb, alter, fragment, build upon and otherwise develop PHP in the name of restoration, preservation, education and recreation. PHP has much value in its present state.