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It appears that Niagara County has allowed farming to take place in Bond Lake County Park in Lewiston for many years. According to recent News reports, a judge has ruled that this is illegal and that the farming of cabbage and other crops must stop. It's about time.

As a charter member of the Niagara Frontier Wildlife Habitat Council, I've worked hard, with other members, to convince landowners not to mow their fields until after Aug. 31 so that birds that nest on the ground can have a chance to raise their broods. This year, we collected "no-mow" pledges for 438.9 acres. We're proud of that -- it's a pretty good-sized piece of grassland. But it's 13 acres here, two acres there, another eight somewhere else, and so on.

It is discouraging to learn that for the hundreds of acres that have been pledged to the "no-mow" policy, many acres are being lost in a county park because the land is being farmed. Something's very wrong when Niagara County fails to protect its parkland and private owners have to make up for lost wildlife habitat.

Can I walk through a cabbage field and experience nature? I guess if the sight of a stray earthworm that survived the pesticide counts, I have no gripe. Is this what my county taxes go toward? Exactly how many acres are being farmed anyway?

If the Niagara County Sportsmen's Association hadn't objected to this abuse of parkland, it still wouldn't be known about. We need farms and farming here in Western New York, but not at the expense of county park and wildlife areas and taxpayers.


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