In a bizarre and infuriating story, the local government of a small city in Kansas was accused of sabotaging one resident’s attempts to create a wildlife refuge on his property.
The story, which first appeared in The Wichita Eagle and was later posted to the r/NoLawns subreddit, details how Stafford, Kansas, resident Daniel Wallach was attempting to turn his six-acre property into a “nature experience, experimental farm, and bed-and-breakfast for birdwatchers.”
This was a seemingly reasonable and achievable goal … until the city sent people to mow down all the plants on the property, leaving “a barren swath of stubble.”
Even worse, one of Wallach’s assistants was arrested and is now facing aggravated assault charges after chasing off one of the mowers, who did not announce who he was or that the city had hired him.
The stated reason that the city eventually gave for the mowing was that it was trying to control burr ragweed, a common weed that grows in patches on the property. But considering that the weed grows all over the place and the mowers destroyed everything on the property, The Wichita Eagle posited that other forces were at play.
For one, Stafford’s mayor also attempted to buy the property when Wallach purchased it in 2021. Wallach says that dealing with the local government has been a nightmare ever since.
In addition, there is an ongoing “water war” between the protected Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and local farmers. This, Wallach says, has led to an unfortunate anti-wildlife sentiment that extended to his project.
“It never ceases to amaze me how the environment got stuck as a political pawn,” Wallach told The Eagle. “Now more than ever, people who care about the environment are viewed as left-wing ideologues. And it’s just nonsense.”
The commenters on the Reddit post agreed with Wallach.
“The mayor of the town tried to buy the same land and now is throwing every piece of red tape he can think of to try to drive the man out of town. Stinks of blatant corruption. Like a bad 80’s movie,” wrote one commenter.
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