Correspondence With IDNR Re; Winter/Fat Biking At Rock Cut State Park

To DNR-

Question/comment: As fat biking / winter biking grows around the country I cannot help but see Illinois’ slow adoption to this change. If I may ask – what are the reasons why biking is not allowed on the trails at Rock cut during the winter months? It seems a sign at both entrances stating whether or not the trails are open due to soggy ground could control soil damage during spring. Please—many bikers have bikes with wide winter tires and would love a place to ride free of the worries on the road with crazy drivers.

 


Response to me-

Hello,

Your message was forwarded to me for a reply.

It has generally been our policy to close many to most of our trails over the fall and winter months for a few reasons—

–Heavier used trails need closures for the purposes of rehabilitation- and to prevent further damage when conditions aren’t ideal for trail use.

–More hunting seasons occur in the fall and winter months and we prefer to eliminate all possibilities for danger to trail users where trails overlap hunting areas and seasons.

–Public safety is always our main concern. The agency employs many seasonal workers during, what are considered high visitor seasons, to ensure better visitor experiences, but budget constraints prevent us from being at the level of service year round.

 We recognize and try to stay tuned to user trends, but generally if we are going to expand any use of our facilities, it involves more study to determine what the real demand for the resource is; potential conflicts and long term management effects of altering any current policies; and determine the cost effectiveness for the agency and for the user.

With gratitude,

Amy L. Madigan

IDNR


To DNR-

Amy,

Thank you for your response.  I know you are busy but please allow me to take 3 more minutes of your time.  All I am simply asking is for someone to present the topic at the next meeting or discussion board to whomever or wherever that may be.  I know these things take time, but these fat bike programs work in other states including the John Muir trails just 45 minutes north of Rock Cut.  They not only work, they generate income to help fuel the local economy.

Also,  When I head up to Kettle Moraine I pay a parking fee along with a trail pass.  I also usually refuel and grab a bite to eat.  This is money I would rather give Rock Cut and the state of IL.

My Responses in red-

–Heavier used trails need closures for the purposes of rehabilitation- and to prevent further damage when conditions aren’t ideal for trail use.

We could easily look to other states for ideas on weather and seasonal regulations

–More hunting seasons occur in the fall and winter months and we prefer to eliminate all possibilities for danger to trail users where trails overlap hunting areas and seasons.

Rock Cut has only one hunting period as far as I know which is Nov 10-12 and trails are already closed during that time so there shouldn’t be any dangers from hunters. 

–Public safety is always our main concern. The agency employs many seasonal workers during, what are considered high visitor seasons, to ensure better visitor experiences,

I understand we will always have budget issues residing in Illinois.  I have never seen a local ranger or DNR officer at Lions club or the John Muir trail head so I don’t think added winter staff would be necessary at Rock Cut.

Please, I beg you not to put this into your deleted folder.  Me and my fellow cyclists consider ourselves to be stewards of the trail system at Rock Cut.  I pick up trash when I can, I slow and stop to allow hikers to safely pass, and since we cover much more ground than hikers we tend to offer guidance more often than not when they are lost.  Please do what you can to push this up the ladder.  If you think a petition of signatures would help I would not be opposed to working on that.

Sincerely,


Fianl Response to me 2/20/2018-

Chris,

I thank you for your interest, and you are welcome to start a petition, and send it to me.

We appreciate that you (as many do) feel stewardship of Rock Cut trails, but it is a park with many uses and is managed for all current and potential users and all types of visitors and users who may use that park at any given time throughout the year. Our policies are designed to manage the Illinois resources to the best of our ability while accommodating safe recreational access.

Most of our trail user requests go through the IL Greenways & Council. It’s an advisory body that represents trails users of all types, and a great forum for discussion. I am the liaison to the council and will forward your input to them.

With gratitude,

Amy L. Madigan

IDNR

Greenways & Trails Outreach Coordinator

1 Natural Resources Way

Springfield, IL 62702

Amy.Madigan@illinois.gov

P –217.782.3715

F- 217.524.4177

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: