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Tire tracks present yearly problem for Veteran's Memorial Lake Park

By IVY KELLER • Jan 4, 2017 at 3:01 PM

Tire tracks and bare patches of muddy ground: anyone visiting Veterans Memorial Lake Park is likely familiar with the sight. Although vehicles are not technically allowed on the grass, that doesn’t stop some drivers. After a rainstorm or snow melt, driving on the wet ground can cause damage.

“This time of year, we do have a problem,” said Joe Lindenberger, superintendent of Norwalk’s park and rec department. 

Lindenberger said the Norwalk police do a good job of keeping an eye on the park, but people still continue to cause damage.

The damage done by off-road drivers is a serious drain on resources, said Lindenberger, who praised the general service department for its work on repairs. Tire tracks and torn-up ground also tend to detract from the natural beauty of the area, he said.

Some people may not realize the grass is off-limits, guessed the superintendent.

“Some people just don’t realize that, they see a big open area (and) they think it’s OK,” he said. “I don’t know why.”

While the park and rec department has installed rocks and other obstacles in some areas to keep vehicles out, it’s not possible to put barriers everywhere.

As with installing barriers, fixing ruined ground takes time and resources. 

Lindenberger warned drivers they would be charged and could be forced to pay restitution for new seed and soil and labor if they’re caught damaging the park’s grounds.

People come to the park to play games such as disc golf and enjoy the natural scenery. These same people often keep an eye out for anyone causing damage, noted the superintendent. 

“They don’t want to see a bunch of donuts, ripped up grass,” Lindenberger said — adding that it drives people “nuts.”

Although it is able to replant seed and make repairs, the department would prefer people avoid driving over the ground in the first place.

“Getting reimbursed isn’t what we want,” Lindenberger said. “Even if they have to pay for it, don’t damage somebody else’s property.”

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