Atlantic Parks Dept. may use Trail Cams to catch 4-wheelers at Sunnyside Park

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Department may purchase or borrow a Trail cam to try and catch persons who are using 4-wheel off-road machines on the grassy areas at Sunnyside Park and tearing-up those surfaces. Speaking at Monday night’s meeting of the Parks and Rec Board, Director Roger Herring said that while the roads to the park are closed, the park itself is still open to various activities, but there are limitations.

He said there is no 4-wheeling on the grassy areas, but someone is doing that. It’s happening in the same spot but Herring says they don’t know right now what time of day the damage is occurring. By installing a trail cam in an undisclosed location nearby, it’s hoped they can catch those persons in the act and take legal action against them.

Herring says a “decent quality” trail camera would cost about $150 and be used anywhere there is a problem in the park system with vandalism, since it is portable. Some of the units have a “Black flash,” which is useful at night and doesn’t alert the perpetrator to the fact their picture is being taken. Those types of cameras usually cost about $200 more. Herring said also the Cass County Sheriff’s Office has offered the temporary use of its high tech trail cam, if necessary.

The Parks and Rec Board Monday tabled a decision on finalizing a Tobacco Free Ordinance for Sunnyside Park that they can forward to the City Council for its review and approval, because there was still some language that needed to be cleaned-up, and appeared to have been contradictory. The Board will reconvene prior to the January 22nd meeting of the City Council, when the Ordinance is set to be on the agenda, to make sure the final draft has gone through the legal approval process with the City Attorney.

And, Parks Director Roger Herring reported a successful Gizzard Shad kill occurred at the Schildberg Recreation Area’s Lake number One on Dec. 3rd. The DNR applied Rotenone to try and control the invasive fish species and help the more desirable species survive. Herring said the timing of the chemical application was “perfect,” because the weather was cooperating. He said within 24-hours there was a good fish kill of the gizzard shad and a few days later the lake iced-over, which means the dead fish will sink to the bottom and become food for other species and help keep the lake alive throughout the winter.

There was some “collateral” damage to other species of fish (Including the killing of game fish such as some of the small bluegill, one crappie, and one catfish), but Herring said that was to be expected. None of the bass in the lake were killed, though. He said because the fish kill was successful, it will be exciting to see how the desirable game fish population explodes over the next two- to-three years at Lake number One.