Park Board to Ask for Delay of Additional Forest Study

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will be asked to delay the additional study of land in the Starke County Forest.

Flooding on a neighboring property prompted the County’s Drainage Board to determine beaver activity was the culprit. The beaver dam blocking the culvert was subsequently removed, draining a marsh that has been in the location for decades.

The Starke County Park Board helps provide direction when it comes to management of the Starke County Forest. Board Chair Skyler Ellinger says he believes the study being pushed through so the marsh doesn’t become more damaged.

“They can do their study, have their proposal, all done with it and can figure out what’s going on,” says Ellinger. “I went out to the marsh and it looks terrible.”

A request has been made to allow Territorial Engineering to gather topographical information, and make engineering recommendations on the land at a cost of $5,600. This would be the second study conducted after uncertainty in the initial data allegedly revealed no direct cause of the flooding.

A long-term solution to the drainage issue appears to be one of the few things both the Starke County Drainage Board and the Park Board agree on. It has been recommended to place a bypass ditch on the south side of the property. That recommendation was met with skepticism by Surveyor Dennis Estok who says that could create additional areas for the beavers to dam.

Park Board members, last night, said additional time is needed to determine what value a second study can provide. Member Rosemary Rose says she felt the request to approve the study was made too late.

“I’m not saying I’m negative against it. But I do want to know that I have the knowledge to know what I’m making a decision on,” says Rose.

Funds generated from the sale of timber will be used to pay for the study if approved.

Park Board members will ask the Starke County Commissioners to table the decision at their Tuesday meeting until the committee can develop a proper recommendation for the study. The Park Board plans to consider the study further at their meeting September 15th.