The Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy is planning new trails and other improvements for the park.

To the editor:

The recent Buckhead Reporter article on the “Champion Tree Walk” in Atlanta Memorial Park (the area along Peachtree Creek to the West of Northside Drive) [“Rain doesn’t deter those seeking ‘champion’ trees,” Buckhead Reporter, Oct. 2-Oct. 15] doesn’t tell the whole story.

While the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy’s plans seem appealing on the surface, care should be taken to ensure that this park, which is a great asset to Buckhead and the city, remains in its natural state.

The conservancy, with the apparent support of the Atlanta Parks Department, has determined that “improvements” need to be made to the park, including: new trails and modification (including possible paving) of existing natural trails around and through the park; removal of “invasive species,” and trees which are not perfectly healthy or are in the way of existing or planned trails; clearing of vegetation along the banks of Peachtree Creek (thus increasing the risk of erosion); and removal of low tree limbs to “improve sight lines.”

All of these are destructive, and fly in the face of efforts by people in surrounding neighborhoods to maintain the natural environment of the park as envisioned by the city when it was created in the 1930s.

We are indeed fortunate to have such a wonderful natural area inside the city for everyone to enjoy, and it should be protected, not developed or “enhanced.”

Accordingly, I have asked the city Parks Department to designate Atlanta Memorial Park as “protected green space,” which would mean maintenance only. The park floods regularly (it is entirely within the 100-year flood plain) and should be left alone.

We need to band together to make certain this park, which is a haven for birds and other wildlife, survives in its natural state not only for ourselves but for those who come after us.

John Whitney