Weldon Gerdes>UIS Collection C-G>UIS Collection C-G, Segment 11


duration 13:46
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Found arrowheads and an ax in mint condition on the bluffs and banks on the river. Has lived on the farm 25 years but lived on the river his whole life. Son recalls that his grandfather's farm used to be an Indian village, and a friend of his wrote a report about them.
Army Corps of Engineers and some other organizations started the Green Belt project to buy first flood plain on the Sangamon River to grow back to native plants. Program was expensive and would extend from Decatur to near Beardstown. Sangamon River Improvement Association was formed of about 100 dissenting landowners and tenants to fight the project and succeeded. Project would have bought 400-500 of his 1,100 acres at less than market value. Land would have been made into bike trails, hunting, camping, and fishing areas. Does not think Army Corps of Engineers should be involved in Green Belt projects, Lake Shelbyville, and Lake Carlisle. Project was not reasonable, started in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Thinks hearings were against farmers. Project decided there was not enough funding.
Land would produce willows and soft maples if allowed to grow, no hard trees, because it is bottomland. Bottomland once had timber but was cleared for farming. Fancy Prairie area had dark soil and prairie grasses. Sees some violets in the spring. Audubon Society has Allerton Park between Decatur and Champaign which is all virgin timber and is good for their studies. Sees blue jays and red birds outside his house. Does not notice the beavers but knows they are nearby.