Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The real beauty of the flood walls

Ever since 1975 when I moved to the Mankato area, the community's relationship with the Minnesota River has been cut off by the flood walls which at the time were still under construction.

Over the years, longtime residents have shared appealing photographs of Mankato/North Mankato during the pre-flood wall days when the riverbanks of the Minnesota River were shrouded with woods as it flowed between the towns.

Back in those days, residents had a closer connection with the river _ both good and bad. Of course, there were the floods, most notably in 1951 and 1965 when Mankato and North Mankato valiantly battled the flooding Minnesota to varying degrees of success.

But on the more positive side, during the river's more gentle moments, residents found the tree-shrouded banks a source of recreation.

The existing flood walls have largely severed that connection and undeniably are aesthetically unappealing.

We spent a lot of time trying to find some drama during this year's flooding but the protection afforded by the flood walls really made the rising water in Mankato proper something of a non-event.

Likewise, in the 35 years I have been at the Free Press, the Minnesota River has been kept at bay several times, especially in 1993 and 1997.

Photographs of a human chain of residents urgently passing sandbags to protect West High School or floating boats along Range Street in North Mankato certainly would have provided some drama but it would have been at such a high cost.

Now that the river is receding and this year's threat of flooding diminishes with minimal damage, ugly as they are, the real beauty of the flood walls once again came through.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for presenting the two "sides" of the Wall. K. Lund