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Meet with the county

Improve signage at the entrance and along Chester and North.

Gravel (road stone) for the entrance.

It has been reported that some people are riding on the levy and/or the grass face of the levy. We want to make clear to all members that not only is the levy not part of the park, it's also a bad idea to stress the grass on the sloped sides of the levy since that's what keeps erosion under control. You can imagine how important that flood control levy is to anyone living in the Oakland neighborhood and how ANY activity that threatens it would be alarming to them. We are aware that there was/is a fence, of sorts, to keep people off the levy which is down in some places and we're working on a solution now. In the meantime if you see someone riding on the levy politely inform them of our concerns.


  On Feb. 18 Ian and I went to the Oakland Neighborhood Improvement Association meeting to introduce ourselves and our club to their members. We were well received and I think they were relieved to hear that our club will be working on some of the same issues regarding the trails as they have been. In talking to some of the NIA members it became clear that the biggest aggravation they have remains people riding their dirt bikes/ATVs on the city streets leading to the trail entrance. In fact, while one gentleman was recounting a story of a near-miss he had with someone on a dirt bike, he made a point that I hadn't thought about before:

  Kansas law requires that all drivers carry liability insurance, but NO insurance company writes a policy that would cover the driver when they're illegally riding a dirt bike/ATV on city streets. So if while doing so they have any accident with another vehicle, a pedestrian, a parked car or a fence, they are an uninsured motorist by definition. And no promises to be careful or pay for the damage they cause will suffice.

  We know how tempting it is to forgo loading a db/atv into a truck or trailer when someone only lives 4 or 5 blocks from the trail head. And we know we'll never completely stamp out this behaviour. But our club's allegiance has to be to the 99% of park users who don't live close enough for such shortcuts to even be an option. And to all the park users who want the trails to remain open for many years to come. At the very least we want everyone, both inside and outside the park, members and non-members alike, to know that such behaviour is risky in and of itself, and is a threat to the park. So if you see someone doing this, apply some peer pressure and speak up. I'm sure that some or most of the people who ride from their house have no idea what's at stake because no one has directly spoken to them about it.


(response from member)-"...both vehicular and MEDICAL may not pay for any damages or injuries! Insurance companies don't like to pay for "dumb behaviour" and specifically look for just such behaviour to deny benefits and cancel policies."


(member Aaron P writes) "In the open letter to new members, it states that there have been rumors circulating for years that the riding area may be closed by Parks and Rec. This is more than just a rumor. In 2003 or 2004, the ride area was actually closed to ATV's. A city ordinance was enacted, effectively closing the area to any motorized vehicles other than dirt bikes. The large boulders at the entrance to the park were pushed together so that only a dirt bike could get through. I worked with my council man at the time, Bill Haynes, and managed to get the ordinance repealed and get the park opened back up to ATV's. This ordinance was a direct result of riders "racing up and down Chester and North" This included Oakland residents that were riding their machines to the trails as well as other riders coming to ride. These are not rumors or idle threats. The area CAN and WILL be closed if we do not educate people and convince them to ride responsibly. Thanks. AP "


Monday the 15th Ian and I went to a meeting with the Shawnee Co. Parks & Rec. Present were Terry Bertels, Bill Riphahn, and John Knight, all of SNCO P&R, Kevin Cook, county commissioner and two land owners who's land adjoins the park. We found out that the park was created by city ordinance in 1972-1973 but that all this time the city never followed through with the installation of a fence, appropriate for the application, between the park and the private property. We were told how the property owners to the East have made many fruitless attempts in the past to keep people off their property by blocking trails that led into their property. And that out of desperation they've tried blocking just the trails that lead into their fields, where they're trying to make a living. I'm sure that 97% of the people who've ridden in their "trails" had no idea they were trespassing (myself included). I'm also sure that for the few who did know they were on private property, the act of blocking just the trails that went into their fields was misconstrued as implicit permission to ride the trails so long as they stayed out of their fields. The reality is that the property owners have been fighting this problem for years to no avail. We talked in the meeting about some of the other issues with the park like the lack of signage and alternatives for parking but the fence issue proved to be the one with the most urgency and gravity. The meeting adjourned with everyone agreeing that we need a fence and that we intend to make a fence happen. Having a fence installed along the property line will mean losing about one third of what we all thought was the park. Bear in mind that the county only recently took over parks and rec. from the city so if they can get this thing done soon it actually bodes well for the future of the park. To those riders who are having trouble wrapping their heads around this future fence, I have two points to make:

1. We're keeping the better two thirds. The private property has no features that the park proper doesn't have but the park has a lot more variety than the private property has.

2. If you had never been to Riverside Park before and I gave you directions to it, you would actually expect it to be fenced off from adjoining private property. The absence of a fence would seem odd.

We've met these land owners and we've talked to them. They're not crazy or selfish. The property owners deserve some relief and their property rights respected. If our clubs highest priority is keeping the park open to dirt bikes and ATVs then getting a good fence installed along the boundary becomes our top priority in the subset.

Below is a map showing the property line with the park on the left and the private property on the right.

(member writes) NEIGHBORHOOD COURTESY & KEEPING THE AREA CLEAN Riverside ATV Riders, this is just a friendly reminder that not very long ago the Riverside ATV Park recreation area was in serious jeopardy of being closed due to ATVs and/or Off-Road Motor bikes being driven through and around the Oakland neighborhood. A recurrence of that issue and a return of the persistent problem of trash and debris near and in the Riverside ATV Park is again fueling anger and discontent within the neighborhood. This has to stop ASAP to protect YOUR park. I know that probably no one who is a member of this group would be so insensitive as to ride through the neighborhood instead of trailering their ATV or Bike to the park as required by law, or by riding around the neighborhood on an off-road vehicle, or by throwing litter or dumping trash near or in the park. The problem is others ARE and it's up to all of you to help solve the problem. If you see any of these things occurring please stop it if you are able. No one is asking any of you to be the police. It may be simply a matter of education or that positive peer pressure is needed to stop the behavior. But whatever you can do - Please do. I would also encourage your group to again VOCALLY and PERSISTENTLY express your support for whatever improvements can be implemented around the entrance to the park so as to address the problem of pick-ups, SUVs, and trailers having to park on the road by necessity and to strongly encourage any other possible improvements that will discourage un-trailered access to the park. I can't stress to you all any more passionately how vitally important it is for all the residents of the neighborhood and the Oakland NIA to see your organization as a partner and a friend. I wish you all safe, happy, and respectful recreation!








Feb. 11 Ian and I met with S.C. Parks & Rec. again, this time mainly to discuss the bidding process for the fence along the property line. This is a great development in that it means we might be getting the fence put in some time latter this year.

  We want to thank everyone who sent emails to the county commisioners and P & R recently. In fact that was the first thing we were all talking about when the meeting got started. You had an impact.

Saturday, November 23, there will be a workday at School Creek ORV-Milford Lake. They need more people with ATVs to volunteer so that equipment can be shuttled around. Click on the link to find out more.