Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/15

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27
REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD

If a congregating or picnicing grove is to be grown or kept, its trees are apt to be planted or allowed to remain so close together, or the branches are permitted to hang so low that turf cannot be successfully maintained owing to the dense shade and to the multiplicity of tree roots upon or near the surface of the ground.

If a wild wood is to be preserved or created the bushy undergrowth must be retained or planted else the wood can scarcely look natural, yet how almost invariably the beautiful wild undergrowth is destroyed at the earliest opportunity by those in charge of parks.

If there is to be a sheet of water in a park intended to be in a naturalistic style, no pains should be spared to make the water area natural looking in location, outline, shores and bordering plantations.

It is to be regretted that the necessity for general plans in parks is not appreciated by most people as is the necessity for a general plan for city hall or court house. Yet a park is apt to include more naturally incongruous purposes and objects than a city hall. It almost never happens that a whole park exists, like an artist's painting, solely to be looked at, yet by far the greater portion of every park exists primarily for landscape beauty. It large portions can be used for recreative purposes other than enjoyment through the eyes, the park will be worth more to the public, but it would be ruinous to let the public use all portions to the destruction of beauty. It is one of the purposes of a general plan to indicate certain portions of a park that can be used and as far as possible the way in which each such portion is intended to he used. It is necessary, however, to supplement the general plan by certain reasonable rules and regulations and for the superintendent to resort to various expedients to accomplish the ideas and purposes of the general plan and of the rules and regulations. If a park has been unproved according to a well considered general plan and if the park is misused to such a degree as to destroy much of the beauty for which the park was created, it is likely that the park commissioners and their employees have not had sufficient experience as to how the use of parks is properly guided and controlled, or else it is due to indifference or inefficiency or to a mistaken policy of spending too much of the available money for less important purposes.

16—Park Systems Should Be Governed by Qualified Officials.

The proper determination and improvement of a complete park system for a city is one of the most difficult and responsible duties that ever comes to a city government. Not only is the total expenditure necessarily a very great one but a large part of the expenditure is liable to be as absolutely wasted, if the true objects fail to be accomplished, as it the money was thrown in the fire.