The Geauga County Maple Leaf Facebook page asks readers what we think about allowing snowmobilers at Observatory Park. Please take a moment to let them know what you think.
I took the opportunity to write a comment about how requests for new uses in the parks should be considered — using common sense criteria to ensure that the decision-making process is unbiased and in keeping with the mission to preserve, conserve and protect natural resources. Here is my comment:
I have nothing against snowmobiling or any other activity in the parks IF the Park District adopts some fair, common sense standards to evaluate every activity requested by anyone to determine in an unbiased way whether the requested activity fits the Park District’s mission.
(1) There should be an expert evaluation by the Park District’s biologist to determine whether the use, in this case snowmobiles in Observatory Park, is compatible with the mission to preserve, conserve and protect our natural resources. (2) They should look carefully at all the financial consequences of the use, including such things as the need for additional ranger hours, maintenance, signs, increased liability. (3) They should determine whether the use is needed or whether it’s a duplication of services available elsewhere.(4) Finally, the process for deciding whether or not to permit the activity in the parks should be transparent so we can all see that the Park District properly studied the issue before making its decision.
NONE of these things were done in relation to the snowmobiling at Observatory Park. The Park District biologist did not study how the use would affect the park. No assessment was done of the financial consequences, and I have many concerns about insurance liability issues, as well as ranger time, which is already stretched thin. There are lots of places for snowmobilers in Geauga County, including Punderson. And the decision-making process was far as could be from transparent. John Oros announced his unilateral decision to allow snowmobiles at the end of a Board meeting, allowing for no public discussion and no say by the Commissioners.
This was a power grab by Mr. Oros (and any unnamed person who may be pulling his strings). By the way, John Oros told me last summer that he agreed with the common sense standards that I’ve outlined in this comment. But then he also told me that he has to think about his family. You all can read between the lines and decide for yourselves that that means.
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