Leave no trace applies to bluebonnet viewing too (Opinion)

Boerne Police Department posted photos of its officers in a field of bluebonnets, saying "we couldn't pass up putting the blue in bluebonnets."
Boerne Police Department posted photos of its officers in a field of bluebonnets, saying "we couldn't pass up putting the blue in bluebonnets." Boerne Police Department

Bluebonnet democracy

Regarding “ Bluebonnets are for all Texans. So why can't we access them? (Essay) ,” (April 9): I find it interesting that the viewing and enjoyment of wildflowers (one of Texas’ iconic experiences) has been turned into a property rights issue.

My wife and I drove to the Fayetteville and Brenham area a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed the numerous beautiful fields of wildflowers. I did observe a couple of “No Trespassing” signs but even where they were not present I did not choose to wander out into the expansive fields of spectacular color. Where fences were present, they seemed to be there primarily to keep livestock in and not to keep people out.

It was not a fear of trespassing that kept me from wandering into the fields. It was the awareness that as one walks through an expanse of flowers they leave a trail of smashed flowers with fragile, broken stems that will remain that way for the remainder of the spring season. Fields of wildflowers are not like a grassy athletic field across which one can walk and leave no trace. Every time one sits among the wildflowers for a selfie or allows their children to frolic among the blossoms, those blooms will no longer be there for others to enjoy.

It was a wonderful experience that the author and his family were able to enjoy. However, if every one of the many thousands of visitors who visit the expansive fields of flowers did the same thing, there would be expansive views of trampled flowers for the rest of us to enjoy. There are reasons that web sites describing the best places to view flowers discourage viewers from venturing into the fields. We do have and should respect property rights.  However, a prime reason for not venturing into the fields of beauty is so that they are there for others to enjoy as well. Leave no trace does not just apply to littering.

Jim Robertson, Houston

I was incredulous after reading the thoughts of Raj Mankad and the lack of understanding he has of private land ownership. He states "public access to the state's official wildflower should be a birthright for Texans." Is he thinking land seizure by the state or just good old-fashioned socialism?

The musings described, of winning the lottery, buying land and then making it open so the "flower-loving public could frolic" is such naive idealism. Imagine having hordes of people from the city trampling what flowers would survive after just a week of this onslaught. Cars parked haphazardly, destroying the field; crowds pushing and shoving for their chance for a picture. Trash left behind and then the eventual lawsuits that would come from someone falling, breaking a leg or their child having an allergic reaction to fire ant bites or the occasional encounter with a rattlesnake. It is what is called in legalese an "attractive nuisance."

Many years ago, fields in the Bellville and Brenham area were open for many to enjoy. I wonder what happened?

I bought some property with a beautiful little bluebonnet field on it. And yes, up went the fence, locked gate and a "No Trespassing" sign. I would need to win the lottery just to stay ahead of all the legal repercussions that would follow catering to the general public. No thanks!

Jeff Kesler, Sugar Land

First, not all Texans have access to bluebonnets. Those in Far West Texas and the Panhandle, where bluebonnets do not grow in any profusion, must travel hours to see fields of our state flower. What would the author suggest as a solution to this terrible injustice?

Second, why in an article that praises the beauty of bluebonnet fields, must the author introduce an element of racism, bigotry and prejudice? He automatically assumes that a white, rural man would be unaccepting of his “brown” face. Because he is rural, it seems, he must be a bigot. Because he is white, he must be a bigot. Surprise! He was open and friendly. The author owes an apology for his preconceived notions about those who do not live in our perfect world of city living.

Also, had the owner of the property been of a darker complexion, would the author have then assumed it was safe for him to approach and had his white wife stay safely in the car?

On a road trip from Houston to Marble Falls, I passed pastures full of these gorgeous flowers. Yes, the fields were often fenced off with barbed wire. Why? Because the owners of these properties raise cattle, horses, goats and grow crops. They work hard on their land. They are under no obligation to take down these fences and open their property to city folk during bluebonnet season.

Donna Villegas, Houston