Starke County Forester Voices Concerns with Proposed Name for County Forest Access Road

The Starke County Forest’s access trail will soon be upgraded to a gravel road, but what it should be called is up for debate. The Starke County Park Board recently got $15,000 from the Hardesty Memorial Endowment Fund to build the road, along with a 10-to-12-car parking lot.

The work will be done by the Starke County Highway Department, and the new road will be added into the county’s road inventory. Since it will need a name, county officials have suggested calling it Hardesty Lane, rather than using the county’s road numbering system.

But during Tuesday’s park board meeting, Bruce Wakeland, who donated the forest to the county and continues to manage it, voiced his opposition to that idea. For one thing, he was afraid that potential visitors might be confused if they’re directed to Hardesty Lane, rather than the forest’s Division Road address. Wakeland added that he wasn’t thrilled with someone else’s name being placed on the property, when his isn’t.

County Attorney Marty Lucas told board members that the naming process is on hold, until a solution is reached. “I think one of us needs to meet with that fund to see what their thinking on it is, and I will say, it wasn’t their idea in the first place, so I think we can solve that,” he said. “[Highway Superintendent] Rik Ritzler says the number system, nobody understands it anyway. I do, so I know somebody does, I guess, that the numbering system is logical. He didn’t think that’s a big issue because he figures people don’t know how to read it, anyway.”

As for the actual project, Lucas said construction still hadn’t begun as of Tuesday, but crews have been taking measurements.