The Path to Pristine: Forest Park Forever and My Long-Ago “Litter Letter.”

articles, Letters to Editors
Randy Rosenbaum and Walt Jaschek in the Forest Park Boathouse. With every visit, we marvel at this park’s transformation. And are grateful for it.

Happy Earth Day from Forest Park in St. Louis. Today the park is a jewel – Randy and I walked 8 miles of it Saturday – and it delighted in every way: flowers exploding, clear water flowing, not a single piece of litter in sight.

It’s hard to remember it wasn’t always that way.

When I was a young man of 25, the park was sadly neglected and terribly trashed. So much so, I wrote a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dripping in youthful dismay over its disarray. The letter was published on September 12, 1980, under the headline “Man’s Idiot Marks,” which was me quoting singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright. Here’s the letter.

I moved from St. Louis for a few years, and when I returned in the mid-80s, I learned that a nonprofit conservancy called Forest Park Forever had been formed to restore the park to its glory.

Looking back today at their incredible, transformative work, it’s safe to say they have. Much kudos to them now and, well… forever.

Forest Park, St. Louis. Art Hill looking toward the Art Museum, Earth Day, 2019.
The saints come marching in. Blooms reach to greet Louis IX of France, namesake of St. Louis.

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