The course layout forced the plan to have a high spot with a clearing long enough to enable the longest zipline to travel close to but not require cutting a single tree, because it was a forest and keeping it one was a great intention. There were important low elements that had to be cited to create the privacy yet follow a progressive flow as the participants gained skills and confidence in their team as the settings moved ever closer to the high elements. The plan came together when the forest gave us the place the swinging log would hang and where the spider web would wait to entangle one passing through it. This magical place filled two decades of my life with the excitement others felt at each accomplished feat.
It was the trail and the stories along the way we told. We based back to our culture and watched for the Little People and told of the Boy Scouts who gave us the alternate trail up the mountain to the highs.
We are in the rain-less era right now and Tar Creek's flow is diminished at present, but one million gallons of toxic water from the Boone Aquifer keeps coming.
Along the access points for Tar Creek in Miami, water is still in some places.
With some regret a complaint of a violation of the Clean Water Act has been submitted to the DEQ Hotline for the incredible child-created recreation area that has dammed Tar Creek.
What stories the Boys of Summer will have to tell when they remember these days with their bikes and their fishing poles and the power they felt when they moved those rocks and built a DAM to build their very own swimming hole and trapped water to make it deeper for their fishing hole. It wouldn't matter if it was a carp or a red ear sunfish caught there.
These Boys of Summer made me reflect on the summer we searched for the perfect place to build the Tribal Adventures Challenge Course. We walked the lands of Miami, the Peoria, the Wyandotte, the Eastern Shawnee and the Quapaw land, it was a dream, accessible only by water. We walked for months, looking at the possibilities, where the wild berries were best, which place had running water. And tall trees. But ultimately we went with the land offered that actually had bathrooms. It wasn't so much for us, we were tough, we were summer forest walkers after all. The bathrooms were for our unknowns, our guests, our new to us people. We wanted to make all types of visitors feel ok about themselves and us, so we took the offer from the Eastern Shawnees to use their land for the ROPES challenge course that we called Tribal Adventures, mostly because of all the tribal adventures we had had in our search for where it would call its home for the 2 decades it existed.
So how do I feel about the Boys of Summer and what they did? I am good with them, until they claimed the creek as their own recreation site without regard for the ecosystem they were messing with depriving downstream of what was naturally missed when water ceased to flow as it should and had and will and must flow through the centuries.
Seeing the special place Miami kids had created for themselves, a place to enjoy with friends. They had built a challenge course with the trees, the rocks, the water elements. The only problem was where this treasure was. And the water they were messing with is not safe for them. It is still loaded with heavy metals, as it has been for the last 42 years. This treasure has the additional burden of bacteria that can harm humans, could harm these creative guys.
EPA has the responsibility of cleaning up for good the creek these kids and the generations who follow should be able to enjoy without fear of toxic exposures. It is wrong to have a treasure like this running through backyards and be forbidden from using it for decades of lost summers.
These kids claimed it back. They just went too far to claim it all just for themselves. That is a violation of the Clean Water Act and their dams must be removed. But they remind us to apply the pressure on EPA to fix their playground stream. Get her done!
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim