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  • Ideas from the crazies

       July 27, 2010

    Yesterday I came upon the Driftless Rivers site, which highlights Bryan J. Stanley's book about trying to turn the Driftless Area of Wisconsin into a National Park. I was moderately intrigued by the idea as that part of the state really is beautiful. But on the other hand, the estimated cost was $900 million, the best parts of the area are already preserved as part of Wyalusing State Park and, while the land is lovely, it's no Yellowstone or Yosemite. But, the point is, I really did think about it. To the extent that I did a few more web searches on "Driftless Rivers" until I came to this article:

    In the spring issue of the College of Natural Resources news for UW-Stevens Point, the alumni update included a note about 1977 soils graduate Bryan J. Stanley.

    It announced the publication of "The Becoming of Driftless Rivers National Park," a "280-page hardcover book, which Stanley spent six years writing and researching."

    The book, described as a cultural and natural history of southwestern Wisconsin, could be ordered from Stanley at 301 Troy Drive, Madison.

    That is the site of the Mendota Mental Health Institute on the north side of Madison, where Stanley has resided since he murdered a priest and two others in an Onalaska Catholic church in February 1985.

    Off his medication, he claimed to be the prophet Elijah and a "soldier of God" on a mission to save the church and the world from sin and communism. Judged mentally ill, a chronic paranoid schizophrenic, Stanley was eventually tried for the killings and found innocent by reason of mental defect. He has been at Mendota ever since.

    I could practically hear the record screeching to a halt inside my head.

    On one hand, it's kind of encouraging that with the help of medication this guy could produce a book like this. On the other hand, it's kind of hard to take a proposal seriously from someone who's up at Mendota. I mean, that's where Ed Gein was!

    So, this whole incident made me think of a few questions:

    • Are there any areas of the United States that really should be made into National Parks?

    • Is a place "just" a state park to you? By that I mean do you think of state parks as less special and appealing than National Parks? Is the fact that something is a National Park by itself an incentive for you to visit?

    • Does the source of an idea influence your feelings about the idea beyond its own merits?
      Posted by kris at July 27, 2010 08:58 AM

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    #  July 27th, 2010 4:56 PM      cherlynda
    Well I think just because an idea comes from a mentally ill person does not mean the idea is necessarily bad.

    "Sickness will surely take the mind,
    Where minds can't usually go,
    come on the amazing journey
    and learn all you should know."

    I always thought this quote from Tommy was true.  



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