Preserve Breck Woods

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Many people reminded us of this letter to the editor: Let’s talk about Breck Woods, published in the August 2018 issue of the Park Bugle.


Please find a way to maintain the green space.

— John Sonnack

I lived in St. Anthony Park for 5 years as a student at the U and Luther Sem. Then for nearly 2 years as a missionary on furlough from South Africa. During these past years I have made frequent visits to the area for a variety of reasons, most recently as a volunteer in the Archives at Luther Sem. I realize that Luther Sem. is dealing with some difficult financial challenges. But I would sincerely hope that a way could be found to have Breck Woods remain as they are. 

— Jim Knutson, Luther Seminary MDiv 1954, MTh 1962

Please keep Breck Woods in its current state. It is one of the last few remnants of natural woods in the urban area. It should be set aside for future generations. Perhaps the city or county could get involved.

— Gordon Raup

I hope Breck Woods will remain as it is - a mini nature preserve that invites a quiet walk and brief escape from the pace of urban life.

— Verena Larson

Please stop before you destroy something that can not be replaced!

— Leda Zach

It would be unthinkable if the "wildness" of Breck Woods would be hampered at the same time as city/river planners are finding ways to stop damming the Mississippi River below us in order to set it free again!

— Mary Mergenthal

I have lived in the Grove for 31 years and, as so much of our natural world retreats due to human involvement, I would appreciate the saving of Breck Woods for the future. The turkeys, owls, deer and many other critters and the wild flora there are assets in a world too quickly turning to human development and asphalt.

— Helen B. Foster

Preservation of this land is important to the whole neighborhood and must be maintained in its natural state for all of us.

— Richard and Finette Magnuson

Please, please find a way to preserve these woods. They're a super asset to our unique community. Once they're gone, they can't be replaced. What's the right thing to do for the community and its wildlife?

    This space needs to stay green. It’s invaluable and irreplaceable.

— Patricia Noble-Olson

I am a third generation St Anthony Park family. The green space and natural habitat the woods provide is a precious, unique part of the Park. It must be preserved for future generations.

— Heidi Jensen

This is a beautiful slice of history and nature in St. Paul that should be preserved.

— Betsy Currie

Let us please work together to preserve this nurturing, elegant, vital space for our future health and spirit. The preservation of Breck Woods would be a sparkle on the Seminary's legacy.

— Charlotte Osborn

This is really important. Is a plan being developed to protect the woods?

— Phil and Barbara Shively

It is imperative that our near and precious environment is saved for all species that live here. It is not alright to only consider habitat/development for humans alone. Please please please be exceedingly cautious and aware of our minimal green spaces.

— Mary Lou Mossberg

Breck Woods gives so much to the community (and to nature itself)--please save it!

— Anna Ahlgren

Please save Breck Woods!

— Jill Tangney

Please do not destroy this historic green Space.

— Sue and Bob Gerhz

Breck Woods is a little gem for Lauderdale. With a finite and limited amount of natural areas it would be shortsighted to see it used for high-density housing. It’s a great spot for walking, running, bird watching, and to escape the other areas of Lauderdale, St Paul and Falcon Heights without driving to a state park. Conservation of Breck Woods will have a multiplier effects on the community and wildlife of the neighborhood. Green areas and parks provide a valuable service beyond the trees for quality of life. I urge you to make a decision for people and nature to conserve the Woods.

— Alan Smith

We should not be reducing native areas that remain in the area. There are other, better locations for a change to high density development. Breck Woods is one of few remaining undisturbed areas and its terrain is ill-suited for development. However, Breck Woods is excellent for preserving existing fauna and flora.

— Nevin Young

Thanks for all you are doing to save the Breck Woods - my family and I really appreciate it. We are at 2297 Folwell Avenue. 

— Peter Demerath

It would devastating if these woods are destroyed and the site used for development. We need MORE not LESS nature near us. Please SAVE Breck Woods!

— Marcia and Berkan Endres

What is the market price and/or what is the Seminary asking for? Lauderdale is not going to buy it. Private citizens could, and then deed it to the town or the University (which would be my preference). If either were willing to accept it under easement, there might be land trusts that would help with the purchase. If I KNEW that either the town or the U would accept the land with a very restrictive easement, I would probably be able to help.

— Paul Crowell

These woods are so special and irreplaceable!!!

— Debby Smith

I strongly support the efforts to preserve Breck Woods in their current wild state. While I respect and understand the needs of the Luther Seminary in securing their financial future, I am confident that alternatives to the development of Breck Woods are possible. The value of these woods, not just to the human neighbors, but to all forms of life that inhabit them, cannot be understated.

— Peter Kennedy

I encourage you to petition the U of M to buy Luther Seminary's lower campus. It is in a wonderful location between the two U of M campuses. Breck Woods would make a nice addition to the Bell Museum as a Discovery nature trail for kids. Act fast and don't delay with a petition for the U. Have people who come to the Bell Museum sign a petition to build a nature trail. Good luck.

— Anonymous

Breck Woods is a highly unique essential environment for the local communities and the whole metro area. Its loss would severely and negatively impact all of Lauderdale.

— Michael Steffes

Urban woods centrally located are lasting treasures for future generations. The current leadership of Luther Seminary, both its administration and board of directors, needs a renewed and emboldened challenge to recite, in unison, the first article of the Apostles Creed before they sign any contract to sell that land. DisGrace is the antithesis of Grace. Make no mistake!

— Douglas & Jane Koons

“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.“ Let’s not make that mistake. We only have one chance here.

— Jim Kurle

What a blessing to be within walking distance of this remaining piece of true wilderness. What a tragedy it would be to invade and destroy it. Our neighborhood and our world will be diminished if we do.

— Robert and Mimi Titzler

Never in human history have we known more about the value of preserving landscapes, large and small, and preserving the environmental value of such landscapes. With this knowledge, if we cannot act to preserve such places, there is certainly little hope that future generations will have the will to protect them. As others have noted on this site, there are ways to support and implement actions to protect Breck Woods and places like this elsewhere.

— Dave Brostrom

Preserving green spaces in our densely urbanized city is critical!

— Brita Suppes

The use of Breck Woods as a teaching opportunity for the education of people of all ages should be explored. 

    Breck Woods must be maintained for its role as an ecosystem in the midst of a city. If destroyed, it cannot be replaced.

— Karen Hoyle

Having this woodland and marsh right in the middle of the city is essential. It’s the place to go to return to sanity in this crazy world.

— Julie Lipelt

Breck Woods is a beautiful, unexpected green place in our urban environment. It deserves protection.

— Judy Woodward

One of the ways our neighborhood is unique is in having Breck Woods in its midst. I understand Luther Seminary's need to sell its holdings but I would hope they could be sympathetic to the neighborhood's desire to retain this valuable green space. With goodwill, the Seminary could facilitate a resolution that would save Breck Woods as well as meet their financial needs.

— Carolyn Herman

I am a West Falcon Heights native. We are moving to St. Anthony Park next spring. Preserving natural forested land in urban areas is vital to human stewardship, slowing global warming, and the spiritual health of our community. Here in Breck Woods - Luther Seminary, municipalities and community organizations together have a special opportunity to leave a legacy - a walkable, soulful, green corridor.

— Mark C. Larson

As a resident of SAP since 1955 I would hate to see us lose the treasure we have in Breck Woods. It was there for my grandparents when they moved to SAP and I hope that it can be preserved for many future generations.

—Julie Anderson Glowka

Please make the sale of the lower seminary contingent on preserving Breck Woods.

— Susan Donaldson

Breck Woods is a sanctuary for birds and animals and a true respite for humans who need a break from city life. And it’s a hidden treasure. Please protect the wildlife and woods from demolition and development... Breck Woods is a valuable resource for the entire community. Please save and protect Breck Woods! 

— Andrea Sisel

We need this green space to thrive. Enough building is already providing extra money to the Seminary and providing housing. Stop and let us work together going forward. 

— Alice Shapiro

Breck Woods is a treasure: a little piece of wild in the city. Losing this land to development would be a tragedy. 

— Emma Lee

We do not live there but have dear friends who have been in the neighborhood for years and we are very familiar with it. I urge you to keep the integrity of the environment. It matters. 

— M. Garland

Breck Woods is a treasure that is shared by children, parents and grandparents. Please keep it for future generations to cherish as well. 

— Colin Hirdman

I agree - we should do everything we can to protect Breck Woods to prevent this natural oasis from being heavily developed. I am running for city council in Lauderdale, I will be at the event tonight - and if elected, I'd be an advocate for the petition you described above. Keep the faith and keep up the good fight! 

— Zak Knudson

The property called the Breck Woods is a small, but very unique parcel of land that is one of the last remnants within the Twin Cities Metro Area of the original Mississippi River valley that has not been substantially altered by carving up, by excavation, by being filled in, or otherwise dramatically changed. It is truly a special and unique place! But, once a piece of land is significantly changed, it can never be replaced within our lifetime, or even several lifetimes. I agree with so many others above, who have spoken so eloquently about the additional extraordinary values that this parcel of land contains, and the wonderful personal memories that many of us carry who have lived in this neighborhood. I have lived here over 20 years. I hope that Luther Seminary would provide the local residents, who have been good neighbors to the Seminary for over a hundred years, to wait and not sell off this small part of what they own to developers in the near future. I would hope that the Seminary would allow the time needed to find a purchaser for Breck Woods, whether that it would be purchased separately by a single environmentally-motivated partner, or a consortium, or a level of government, to protect what is essentially the last remaining parcel like this. 

— Betty Wheeler

Oak trees have almost all succumbed to disease, yet the woods remain a special place. One might become somewhat fatalistic about the future fate of humanity in its urban hives and electronically-monitored economic serfdom. There may be a dismal dystopia ahead, but then again, perhaps a more widespread sensitive consciousness may arise, and things will work out as we dream they might. Breck Woods to me has always had a sort of Dr. Seuss feeling of unexpected rhymes and whimsy . . . a sort of McElligot's Pool part of the local planet. 

— Oliver Steinberg

I work in St. Anthony Park and highly value this green space. As a bird watcher and conservationist I believe it is imperative to preserve the few remaining contiguous green spaces in our urban environment. Our human quality of life, and that of birds, bees and more depend on it. We have plenty of other spaces to be developed in the urban environment. Let's preserve what green space is left. 

— Dr. Glenn Hirsch

This is a wonderful green space in an established which should be preserved for all. 

— Arden Haug

My children, sisters, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents have all benefited from these beautiful woods. For all the reasons in this petition and more, please save Breck Woods!

— Marit Knutson

Developing this vital green space would be a travesty. The many people and animals that thrive on this undeveloped area should be proof enough to lay off both commercial and residential development. This area is a rare urban jewel of natural environment. I urge leaders in the strongest possible terms not to develop this area. The value of this undeveloped urban environment cannot be overstated. Once lost, it is gone forever. Don't do it...ever. It is much more valuable to our community as it is and could be forever. It deserves our protection in perpetuity. Think of your kids' kids. Think of the bio-habitat. Think wisely and conserve this special place in our community. 

— Christopher Title

Please don't "pave paradise to put up another parking lot!" How about putting "conserve" back into "conservative," eh, Christians & Lutherans? 

— Martin Schoen

This is valuable green space for the neighborhood. Please preserve it! 

— Deanna Seppanen

I grew up two blocks from there since 1976. We always enjoyed being outside and the natural elements of Breck Woods. Please make our Woods a park, not another statistic. 

— Paula Johnson Kennedy

A walk in a natural woods can salve the human soul like nothing else. Please keep this sanctuary.

— Wally Northrup

We have such a treasure, hidden in the hood for ages. 

— Tom Tangney

Leave it alone. Let it be. 

— Robert B. Smith

By destroying these woods, you’ll leave scant space for deer, coyotes, opossums, Fox, turkeys, woodchucks, etc. Animals play an important part in the health of these woods. It’s a haven for all wildlife. You’ll do lasting damage to a space in our little area. Please find an abandoned Walmart! There’s one off of Silver Lake Road. Leave these woods alone for the hundreds of people who find solace walking and observing nature and wildlife. There’s NO good reason to destroy much loved space! 

— Ruth Olson

I grew up elsewhere, but was lucky to have abandoned farmland across the street and enjoyed playing beneath tall old trees, "swimming" through tall prairie grasses, listening to pheasants and smelling the sweet aroma of prairie flowers in summer mornings. Then it all vanished for a school and extensive parking lots. When I moved to Lauderdale it was too late to for me to walk through Breck Woods, but I knew it was there and enjoy the birds and deer and turkeys and ducks that fly overhead with a whistling sound. I hope we can save Breck Woods. Maybe the Minnesota branch of the Nature Conservancy could help save it. 

— Karen Johnson

A considerate build is a must in this historic neighborhood. Natural space must be preserved in this historic forest.

— Lea Herrington

What has become of our ''good neighbor"? Please be a steward of the land, doing the RIGHT thing. Another wild place gone?

— Ron and Colleen Tabaikas

Please conserve this special, wild space in our neighborhood.

— Mindy Nakamoto

Breck Woods is an oasis of calm and beauty that we cannot afford to lose in an urban area that's infrastructure is constantly growing and eating up wild places. Humans need places like Breck Woods for refreshing the spirit, oxygenating and cleaning the air and reminding us of just how beautiful Earth's natural creations are. Places like this are essential to have within walking distance of where people live so that one doesn't need to depend on a car to reap the benefits of a walk in the woods. Fellow creatures who may live and raise families there depend on Breck Woods remaining undeveloped for their very existence. Save Breck Woods as a wild place for the benefit of all! 

— Linda Sventek

Hello, I live in St Anthony Park I would like to help raise funds for Breck Woods at my Holiday Open House/Art Sale next weekend. Is there a donations site set up? If not can we start one? I also have an idea for an art fundraiser.

— Doug Beasley

Preserving this neighborhood natural area should be a priority. 

— Gordon Murdock

I add my plea to retain this tranquil, hidden trail for our community. 

— Farhad Anklesaria

The natural world is stressed and dying. Insects of all kinds are disappearing from many of the world's countries. This means that birds, fish, mammals, and amphibians that eat insects have little or nothing to eat, flowering plants--foods--are not pollinated, and the dung and carrion that insects eat and turn into manure are not recycled. The reasons include climate change, pesticides, and loss of ecosystems--almost all resulting from what humans are doing to the world. An article in the New York Times magazine on December 2, 2018, offers a well written summary of the losses and what they mean to the world. It's a good read and well documented. Breck Woods is a small, but lovely bit of nature, and we need to save as many ecosystems and wild places that we can. 

— Barbara Scott Murdock

The highest use for this land is for it to remain as it is. Converting it will degrade the land itself as well as all neighboring property. 

— Steven Yetter

This area is a small slice of heaven. Let’s do everything we can to preserve it and save the animals’ habitat. Building here is unacceptable. 

— “J”

A rare thing to have a little bit of wild right in the middle of apartment, roads, and parking lots. Thank you for fighting to keep it.

— Mary and Jonathan Preus

Having just moved to the area, we were very surprised to learn about this development. 

    Certainly, not all development is bad. It may even be easy to say that development, density, and affordable housing are generally good, but this process must be informed and managed by the existing community. With this in mind, I want to say thank you for all of your efforts in organizing the existing community.

    At the meeting last week, there was talk of having community members work as representatives during the development process. I would like to be one such representative and am wondering if you know how one gets to be considered for that role.

— Owen Flygare

If it is destroyed it will never exist again. The ramifications of this loss are too enormous to list.

— Jan Sigmund

This green area provides many opportunities for flora and fauna and lots of residents who appreciate them. There should be other choices to financial needs other than removing this valued area from our neighborhood.

Rita Hanle

I add my plea to keep this green space which has been a gorgeous asset in the neighborhood.

Veena Deo