Winter may determine parks’ status

A storm shelter at Rapp Park, approved in October 2018 by the Page County Conservation Board, is not finished. Board members declined to explain the status or the future of the shelter during their monthly meeting Oct. 9. The board approved a $17,960 bid for the shelter.

The severity of the upcoming winter may determine if and when Page County Conservation closes portions of the parks during the season.

At the conservation board meeting Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the conservation office near Clarinda, Conservation Executive Director John Schwab told the board he would like to close portions of the parks during winter to save on expense of snow removal and preserve park road conditions.

It’s not a complete closure of the parks.

“At Rapp, there would still be access from A Avenue for those who ice fish,” he said.

Other board members said they know of people who use the parks and trails during the winter months for cross-country skiing and hiking. Some people have been known to walk through the park to force deer to move for deer hunters.

“There’s no reason for the campgrounds or for many people to be in the park,” Schwab said.

Schwab suggested closing the north campground at Pierce Creek during the winter months.

Snow removal from the parks’ gravel roads can also remove the gravel making the road in worse condition after winter.

Board member William Robertson asked if the parks should be closed if it is a mild winter, as the parks still may be used.

Board member Holly Martin suggested having Schwab close the portions of the parks should a severe snowstorm hit the region. There was no formal action taken on Schwab’s suggestion.

In other conservation news…

Board members declined to comment on the status of the storm shelter at Rapp Park. A year ago, the board approved a $17,960 from DR Construction of Bedford to build the shelter. The shelter is still not complete.

Page County Conservation researched a storm shelter after a severe storm in June 2017 upset campers at a Taylor County park.

Schwab expects the pond at Pioneer Park to be drained before the end of the year. Conservation officials have noticed years of silt build up in the pond has affected the pond’s health. Plans are to remove the silt to create a deeper pond and better habitat for fish.

Work was also recently done to improve the boat ramp at Rapp Park. Beery Excavation removed silt build up near the boat ramp for $500.

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