Tucked away in eastern Bartholomew County, near Hartsville, is a park that’s known for its beautiful waterfall and limestone bed, rugged trails, many plants and wildflowers, and woodland animals.
The gem known as Anderson Falls has been designated a state nature preserve since 2004, and is a popular attraction for nature lovers and environmentalists.
Unfortunately, the remote park also attracts an element bent on trashing the county treasure, and it has become known for vandalism, drug activity, piles of garbage and graffiti. That’s unfortunate and disheartening.
Attempts to police the area have been unsuccessful. The Bartholomew County Parks Department, which oversees the park, can’t afford a parks patrol on its $198,000 budget. Patrols by Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies have only a short-term impact.
Thankfully, key stakeholders and park supporters are trying to do something about the problems. For about a year-and-a-half they have been using a Purdue University program focused on enhancing public spaces to develop solutions.
Recommendations of their action plan will be shared publicly before the Bartholomew County Parks Board at 3 p.m. Dec. 7 in the chambers of the Bartholomew County Commissioners, located in the county’s Government Office Building at Third and Franklin streets.
This is a meeting that anyone who has an interest in Anderson Falls, the county’s public parks or nature should consider attending. Anderson Falls deserves better than to be abused.
That can be done through community involvement. The first step is listening to the initial proposals and following up with questions and meaningful dialogue aimed at finding the best solutions.
Anderson Falls has priceless beauty and natural value, and they’re worth preserving.