Renee Zita’s family goes back. Renaldis since 1930 have lived in, created and loved these parts. Take Mt. Baldhead, as her pictures show.
Rising through fall hues 302 steps from parking lot to summit, the natural asset is sensitive. In 2010, Oriental bittersweet vines engulfing hardwoods, mostly oaks and maples, Saugatuck city sanctioned a Land Conservancy of West Michigan spraying with the herbicide Imazapyr in early fall 2010 and ‘11.
Reports came in next spring, a warm one that didn’t help nearby fruit crops either, oaks and maples weren’t blooming properly. The brown die-off north of the steps was conspicuous across the Kalamazoo River from downtown. It’s a postcard view.
Remedial efforts since were to leave dead tree trunks — How do take them off the steep, sandy surface without causing more harm? — and planting pine saplings to sink new roots there to help hold the slope.
The brown patch from across the Kazoo has re-greened some; the city, led by volunteer hiker/historians, has showcased the Cold War era radar-dome over Baldy’s summit making public stories too Saugatuck to be true, documented.
Zita, who lives not far away on Park Street, reminds all who love Mt. Baldead they can take part in its future by active volunteering and/or pitching into the box shown here.