I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because it’s been a long day. We headed out of St. Louis in the mid-afternoon, but before we did, we spent some time with Laura Cohen, who heads up the Confluence Greenway Project — an incredibly complex (we’re talking Venn diagram here) conglomeration of agencies, nonprofits, and other stakeholders working to connect green spaces along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Along with her colleague Kathy Weilbacher, we traveled to one of the places they’ve worked hard to protect and publicize, the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, and got a glimpse of some of their other projects as we went — including the 11-mile Riverfront Trail, which brings bicyclists from the base of the Gateway Arch past an energy plant and other hulking mounds of industry before emerging into a bucolic stretch that’s home to wild turkeys and other critters.
At one point, Laura pointed out an area where conservation advocates had lost out to a gas station that’s under construction. “You can’t win them all,” she said gamely, and suddenly I felt like I could see and feel all the energy and passion that go into these decisions, and all the exhaustion that must follow, even in triumph. I don’t think I could do it.
Or it could be that’s my own exhaustion talking. Got to rest up for a day full of Memphis!