Chesterton Tribune



County Park Board reminder: No ATVs snowmobiles allowed

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Residents who witness motorized vehicles such as ATVs or snow mobiles on park property should call 911, says Porter County Park Superintendent Walter Lenckos.

During his staff report at the Park Board’s meeting Thursday night, Lenckos took a moment to comment on the use of motorized vehicles in Porter County parks. “I would like to publicly remind folks that motorized vehicles, ATVs and snow mobiles are absolutely 100 percent prohibited from Porter County park trails,” he said, then urged residents to report right away any activity in a county park that doesn’t seem right.

“I would also remind the public that if they see someone operating a snow mobile in a park the best course of action is to call 911 to let the Sheriff know.”

David Ransem, president of the Illiana Garden Railway Society (IGRS), suggested that the board consider using barricades with locks, like those used by many smaller municipal park departments. Lenckos responded that using barricades is possible, but since the parks are not completely enclosed, they wouldn’t effectively deter people from entering on prohibited vehicles. The board also urged representatives of IGRS and the Northwest Indiana Historical Power Association (NIPHA) to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary when they use the parks.

Member David Canright suggested that signs at the parks should reflect the rules and encourage residents to call 911 to report motorized vehicles. Lenckos agreed this was a good idea.

The board did not take formal action on it at this time.

Attorney Report

Meanwhile, Board Attorney David Hollenbeck noted that the farmers currently farming on county park property will have first right to farm it again this year, and that the board will not go out for competitive bids. Hollenbeck said that at least one farmer wants to continue, to his knowledge, and he will contact the rest.

If any of the farmers do not wish to continue, the board will make a public call for people who wish to farm the land.

Lenckos asked how the price per acre is determined for farmers who retain the land they farmed in 2017. Hollenbeck responded that the price is not fixed at the same rate, and that the board can fine-tune the rate based on market changes.

He also said that the current arrangement has been working well. “We’re happy with the farmers we have. We’ve gotten a good price from them and they’re doing a good job.”

Board Elections

Tom Schnabel opted not to reapply for his seat on the board. Canright proposed that the Board elections be formally postponed until the County Commissioners have selected his replacement. President Rich Hudson agreed.


Illiana Garden Railway Society (IGRS) President David Ransem reported that the organization is still waiting on 501c3 non-profit status. He also took a moment to thank Lenckos for attending the IGRS Christmas party.

“He gave a great talk to everybody, so that everybody’s more informed about what we’re doing,” he said.

Traffic Data

Lenckos shared traffic data collected by a sensor at the gatehouse of Sunset Hill Farm Park. According to the sensor, about 34,000 vehicles entered the park in November presumably to view the popular Christmas light show.

Lenckos is still waiting on the numbers for December.


Posted 1/5/2018





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