* NIMBY strikes again…
One of the first tasks awaiting Illinois’ new state park czar is finding common ground over a proposed new park for all-terrain vehicle riders.
Hunters, neighbors and local officials have raised red flags over a plan to transform an undeveloped part of a western Illinois state park into a haven for motorcycle and off-highway vehicle riders, arguing the facility would take a prime white-tail deer hunting spot out of circulation with noise and increased traffic.
Off-highway vehicle aficionados say the state needs to move forward on the park in order to justify a new fee the state is charging on their vehicles.
The state’s new ATV fee is between $10 and $15. The money is supposed to go to build an ATV course on a state park. And the Buckhorn unit of Siloam Springs State Park is a little-used area in need of some upgrades. The state bought the land with federal money in 2001 and hasn’t done much to upgrade the thing.
* Locals are peeved…
John Falrin, chairman of the Brown County Board of Supervisors, said public sentiment is against the park. In December, the board approved a resolution opposing the facility.
“I could never find anybody in this county that said they would use something like this,” Falrin said.
He also doubts the park would result in a big bump in tax revenue.
“What are they going to buy here? A little gasoline? A little beer? That’s not going to amount to much,” Falrin said.
Oh, I dunno, maybe the local antique shop and restaurant owners might see a substantial uptick, or a new ATV/RV sales and repair shop could open? Maybe even a new motel or bed and breakfast, for those not into camping?
Sheesh. The guy has zero imagination.
* Here’s how Brown County, population 6,937, touts itself on its website…
We are a small community with big city thinking!
Big city thinking, perhaps, but they sure don’t want any of those big city people coming in.
* Les Davenport at Heartland Outdoors penned a vicious screed against the ATV park before the announcement was made. But he actually wound up undermining his fellow opponents and partially made the case for it…
Decrepit, dangerous buildings are still standing in this public area. The Buckhorn, however, does provide thousands of resident-only deer hunters, small game hunters, fishermen, mushroom seekers and hikers a great place to enjoy the sights and whispers of nature. This may end soon if Director Marc Miller gets his way!
It is strongly rumored that Miller wants to turn this park into “The Midwest’s Biggest and Best ATV Park.” It’s said that he wishes to draw ATV enthusiasts from all across the Midwest. Most of us would rather see non-residents stay in their own state and tear up their own public land.
OK, first of all, those “decrepit, dangerous buildings” on the parkland will finally be fixed. And, secondly, locals don’t own that land, the state does. If they don’t want “non-residents” using “their” park, then they should buy their own park.
* Last summer, I was looking for a place to camp during Labor Day weekend. I stumbled across a Missouri state park which looked interesting…
The roar of engines breaks the stillness of the Old Lead Belt at St. Joe State Park, one of two off-road vehicle parks in the state system. The sand flats, hills, and 2,000 acres set aside for off-road vehicle use make the park the premiere off-road vehicle area. The park also features four lakes, with two swimming beaches, an equestrian trail, a hiking and bicycling trail, and picnic sites, as well as two campgrounds capable of accommodating campers with ORV or horse trailers.
I don’t have an ATV, but that seemed like a pretty cool thing to do. I may get one if this Illinois park opens. And tons of state parks throughout the country have set aside land for ATV parks.
* I get that some locals don’t want the noise or the bother of an ATV park in their area. But this thing has to go somewhere.