By Don Small, Liberal
I am very appalled at the shape of Arkalon Park. Over the past three years straight, I have seen it go down hill in a big way.
The trails in the park are so over grown from years of no maintenance that three (yes three) of them are close to being lost all together. All of this due to lack of maintenance.
Last year, I was out there almost every day of the summer/fall and not once did I see a trail being maintained, but I did see three city trucks with trailers and equipment and about four guys sitting around drinking soda from the pop machine.
Last year, there was also a 5-year-old kid that got lost out there, and the search took about three hours. They found him on an over grown trail. If that trail would have been maintained properly, the search wouldn't have taken so long or the kid could have put it together to keep walking on the trail, which I’m sure he did then he walked into an overgrown portion, got scared and stayed in place.
I was given a warning for having a small cooking fire “inside a fire ring” even though it has been raining and “was raining” when it was given to me. The officer stated a city ordinance. Hmmm, Liberal passing yet another ordinance and not properly warning the public – nothing new there.
There wasn’t even any signs posted and besides, Meade (State Park) has their fire danger at “low,” and I have checked on NOAA and there are no burn bans and no warnings/advisories.
Needless to say – if I cant have a small fire inside a metal fire ring while it is raining and there are no warnings/advisories, well, I’ll just spend my money at Meade or just go to Clark, but I really shouldn’t be forced to.
Lastly, why oh why is this place closed in the winter? I can understand closing the ponds because they are now owned by the state but closing off the entire park is a bit much in my opinion.
Before I moved back to this area, I lived right next to some of the greatest outdoors activities that a person could do. You could hike, cross country, ski and trail run every season of the year and many people would “love” to be able to do that out here.
Arkalon is perfect for it in the winter because of its sizeable trail system, but it’s closed, and I really cant understand why. Its the closest thing to Liberal for this type of stuff but as soon as winter hits, well, your cross country couch surfing in your living room out here. I don't like it.
Is there any possible way we can have it open for a couple winters and try it out – at the very least?