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Turtle Island Park

What distinguishes the Jicarilla Apache from the Seminole, the Tlingit from the Zuni, the Pit River from our local Abenaki is less a matter of substance, and more of style. Style derives from form, and form comes from elements and conditions that dictate the hows and whats of daily existence. 

Some tribes thrive by way of the waters, others thrash in the dust and become stalkers of the wind and brush. People hone their ways based on a vast palate of diverse currents. Some travel by great longboats hewn from massive redwood trees, others tame equine energies.

This being said, each far-flung tribe has more in common with each other than the conquerers, the interlopers, the deciders, the despoilers of their ways.  Together, the varied aboriginals are steeped in ancestral rhythms and natural cycles. A common parentage is understood by all.

Through the onslaughts of history, Natives have been made savvy to duplicity. With shifting meanings of scriptural law and the fickle blindfolded face of legal justice, there’s been plenty to reckon.  A speckled clarity emerges over time, not every descendant of Custer and Columbus is a homicidal crusader, a curse on their existence. Nonetheless, threats to primordial ways continue unabated, ‘progress’ proceeds effortlessly, like rain from heavy clouds.

What do these differing clans with diverging lifestyles from remote corners of the land think about their collective displacement, resettlement, and withering of tradition?  Again and again they’re urged to hang on to hope. Conditional consensus has a nasty aftertaste. Enforced freedom, what a contradictory concept.

Remember, style is the common glue, the unifying spirit, elusive as it may be. Despite the disparity of action, and adornment, and customs, style is easily recognizable regardless of where it shows its stuff. It’s a reflection of flow, being in control amidst swirling variables. It’s individuation in action.

Adolescents on razor scooters’, BMX bikers, hill-bombing longboarders, sticky-wheeled urban-cruisers, popsicle-stick kick-flippers, bench-grinders, newly minted groms, in-line dancers, middle-aged-wall-pumpers… all in search of open spaces, reprieve, a chance to survive, perhaps to even thrive again.

These discreet rolling thunders have more in common with each other than the opinioneers, the vaguely interested, the experts of civic process, the lawmakers.  It takes great equanimity to always be waiting. Always forced to yield to they who decide when and where style can show its face. 


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It is true that municipal processes and timelines don't line up well with good ideas. It's a slow turning ship surrounded by a community of faster moving speedboats, canoes, and dinghies.

Some of the wait in recent years could have been prevented if the project had been better respected and put into proper channels at an earlier date, but that's behind us now. What it is, it is.

But, as a vaguely interested opinioneer of public process, I also feel like I'm kept waiting. I expected the site selection committee to recommend A site, and to have the board yea or nay it back in June. Presenting multiple sites seemed to throw them for a loop, and caused it to almost become a second site selection process. But that is almost over.

A park site needs to be chosen, and soon. And we all need to help make it happen.


"These discreet rolling

"These discreet rolling thunders have more in common with each other than the opinioneers".

I don't think skaters of any type will become an endangered species and suffer the perils forced upon Native Americans at the upper hand of cruelty and disregard as wielded by the authoritarian intrusion of the "white man" to send them packing via assimilation or isolation, unless one "style" is surpassed by one more intriguing techno advancement or trend rendering it's cruder predecessor obsolete, thus currently less popular or fading sending manufacturers off and running to the next best craze that happens to evolve. Culture vs. the chronological order of modern Sport, why we have hockey helmets.

Common to many of man kinds diverse cultures, many Native American tribes were no less immune to the ravages/toll of territorial disputes consequently waging war amongst each other earlier on this continent in the absence of European Invaders " each possessing their own unique fighting" fashion/style/display/dress/spiritual significance and meaning even absorbing those left defeated from the opponent tribe captured. There were treaties of RESPECT and courage/bravery/pride ruled the day, nations built. Let's not even go into the blood letting tactics used My the Inca, Aztec and Mayan culture ceremonial or otherwise.

What I have a problem with is instigating the "us against them" mentality as set for an example for our youth and taken to a whole other dimension beyond basic rivalry of sport but often with adults lacking respect, resistant to the notion/inclusion of a whole community of interest approach, ironically ridiculing or biting the hand that can help/aid to make the project happen or not. No, it has to be the leaders of the skateboard community, as if an elite club of some sort, who know best speaking for our local youth, those who may want to take up skateboarding in the future who could care less about the squabbling or where someone's personal family preference is exactly located and for what hell-bent reasons. No I don't think the Skate Park Site Selection Committee w/ members of the public providing publically vetted criteria or the School Board for that matter who accepted their choices has been entirely respected, ie. Elm Street obviously not good enough for BASIC, ULMP too isolated. Compromise and Acceptance are the key words of the day for these future skaters sake



"The Indian...stands free and unconstrained in Nature, is her inhabitant and not her guest, and wears her easily and gracefully. But the civilized man has the habits of the house. His house is a prison." -H.D. Thoreau


Don't we all wish we had that

Don't we all wish we had that sort of freedom and respect for nature these days that maybe skaters feel outside in the moment unrestrained in a continuous ride to nowhere in particular, not weighed down by expensive equipment.

But then comes the skate park, the heavy duty equipment yet to materialize. Because of the controversy and current surge of disagreement we have now imposed upon them, the skate park has once again all the weight of their future "home " in the respect Thoreau implies and it will not be moving, have to be taken care of and maintained, maybe even supervised, that's the reality.

It sounds simple on the surface and certainly should not have convolutedly reached the complexity it has, but making the right choice for as many as possible in our community it involves is crucial for support. I'm not so sure BASIC hasn't lost sight of this fact when stepping in defiant for various reasons of certain choices thoroughly presented, not that these reasons aren't important to consider but are not conducive to riding the rolling wave of community support that had been built up after the SSSC process had taken place. Now they are left with a lot of little waves lapping at there feet without the climatic, sensational splash- down we expected as the select board ponders further.

Even amongst skaters, their choices may differ of what constitutes a skate park to their particular liking and style, to some an all inclusive park in 6500sq ft may mean less space and an imposition for their particular style at times. This is why there must be at the minimum five basic core needs of criteria met for success as I see it; space for expansion for various skating styles, park amenities like bathrooms, the least impact on neighbors and environment to avoid more controversy, safety features and this may mean some form of supervision and lastly, cost. None of the sites left to consider can provide all these, but some have the potential to be tooled and improvised with a little imagination to work better than others like ULMP and Elm in my opinion.


Dogtown's Top Dog

When a chief passes on, a warrior who achieved his high rank by way of audacity and radical style, it’s important to at least note the moment.

The impression Jay Adams made was not only that of a founder of the form, but a pure expression of it. Nothing strikes me as strongly about this death as the fact that skating is so much more than a pastime, or a way to idle hours, or get exercise. Those facets might be true too, but skating is also a vehicle that connects the marrow of a noble being, their very soul, with the outside world.

The reverberations travel in ways we can hardly comprehend


What is your opinion of the

What is your opinion of the downhill long boarder events at Killington a couple of weekends ago? Do you think dualing skate trails or any variation there of could work up at ULMP, not as intense of course, if they loop out or switchback to slow momentum a bit situated to either side of access road?


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