It is rare when a citizen in a city the size of Washington donates 67 acres for a nature reserve. In fact, many, many cities much larger than Washington have never received a gift such as this for a nature reserve. It is in the city limits.
The gift is from Mrs. Frank (Jackie) Miller and her family. The city council accepted the acreage in west Washington at its meeting this past Monday. The land must be used for a nature reserve. It will be called the Miller-Post Nature Reserve and the property will be used to preserve the land and water areas in their natural vegetative, scenic, open or woodland conditions and to “retain such areas as suitable habitat for fish, plants or wildlife,” according to the deed restrictions.
Mrs. Miller told the council that thoughts of using the land for a nature reserve go back to 50 years ago when her father, the late Dr. John P. Post, M.D., and later her husband, the late Dr. Frank Miller, an orthodontist, shared their ideas about keeping the land in its natural state as a refuge for wildlife. She rejected ideas for developing the land, which consists of acres of wooded sections, open areas, two ponds, some steep hills, a cabin and on the west it borders St. John’s Creek. On the east it is near Grand Avenue, on the north West Main Street and on the south it borders the Eckelkamp property, part of which is used for a golf driving range, operated by the city.
Of high interest to Mrs. Miller is for students, in particular, to use the nature reserve to learn about plants and animals on field trips and other visits. A contact was made with the Shaw Nature Reserve at Gray Summit for advice on restrictions and the goal is to have some classes taught by skilled people from the Shaw reserve. She also would like to see it as an attraction for the disadvantaged people who do not have the opportunity to visit state parks.
A special board will oversee the reserve. Its members will include people with expertise to advise and work with the city in maintaining the reserve.
It is anticipated that eventually some trails and access points will be developed. Since it will be retained in its natural state, no major expenditures are planned at this time. The reserve will provide an excellent opportunity for service clubs, and other organizations, to sponsor such things as trails. The cabin is in need of some repair, but it has potential as a classroom.
Several city officials, and others, including John Behrer, director of the Shaw Nature Reserve, have been meeting with Mrs. Miller since last fall to work out the transfer of the land to the city.
The impact of this gift to the city has long-range positive merits. The community will benefit from the gift. It was very generous on the part of the Miller family to make this donation. It certainly adds to the city’s amenities.