Dona, Bill, and I met at the Laclede Power Plant on Lewis Street this morning to walk a portion of the Trailnet Trail that takes you northward along the Mighty Mississippi River. A friend had biked the trail a few years back so I had an idea of what to expect along the 11 mile trail.
Although we only walked about 5 miles round trip, from a historical and economical perspective, the scenery is rather interesting. Grain silos, power plants, sewer outlets, automobile shredders, train yards. You can see the geographic advantage of establishing a city on the banks of a powerful river like the Mississippi. And harnessing the organic power of the Mississippi was obviously crucial to the economic success of the St. Louis region. But, from a environmentalist point of view, the scenery along the trail is quite different, disappointing. The river appears to have little local environmental value. It's polluted, straightened, monitored, walled in, even tamed. People aren't expected to appreciate it's intrinsic value. In fact, you're not even supposed to get close enough to imagine that it might have one (it's inaccessible by foot in most places).