May 27, 2022
Columns

By plowing local trails, Oswegoland Park District performing a real public service amid pandemic

A couple walks along the plowed Fox River Trail at Violet Patch Park off Route 25 in Oswego. (John Etheredge - jetheredge@shawmedia.com)

Note: This column was originally published as part of our weekly online Kendall County local government newsletter. To subscribe for free and receive the newsletter in your email every Thursday, visit our website at KendallCountyNow.com.

They may not have considered it because they have been doing it for years, but the folks at the Oswegoland Park District are doing a real service for local residents during our second winter of COVID-19 and our first with the virus’ variant, Omicron.

The “it” I’m referring is the snow plowing of the park district’s local network of trails.

Though we’ve had only limited snowfall this winter as I write this, park district crews have been out after the post-Christmas snows, pushing the white stuff off the Fox River, Waubonsie and others trails to help keep them open for use by runners, walkers and even a few of those die-hard cyclists.

With the pandemic continuing and the virus now highly transmissible, there are likely a lot of park district residents who are thinking twice this month about stopping by the gym or fitness center to workout. But if they care and dare to, those exercisers can bundle up and head outdoors to a nearby trail to get their run, walk or even ride on while also enjoying a breath of cold, yet clear and presumably COVID-free January air.

The other morning I did exactly that, venturing out for a run with my son on the Fox River Trail between Violet Patch Park and Montgomery’s Mill Street. The temperature in my car read 9 degrees as I pulled into a parking space at Violet Patch Park off Route 25, but there was no wind and we were blessed with bright sunshine and a brilliant blue January morning sky. Along the way, we were able to take in some beautiful scenic views of the river and the wildlife along its shores. We did not spot any Bald Eagles, but have been fortunate to observe many along the river in mid-to-late winter in prior years. Maybe next time...

I’m sure it costs the park district a fair amount of money in labor, equipment and fuel to plow its trails every winter. That’s why not all area park districts bother to clear their trails. But by plowing its trails, the Oswegoland Park District is allowing continued public access to an important recreational facility amid an historic public health crisis. From my point of view, that’s no small thing and it’s certainly in keeping with the park district’s vision statement as listed in the agency’s strategic plan: “Creating opportunity for a healthy community.”

See you on the trails, but don’t forget the thermal Under Armour and gloves.

*John Etheredge is the editor of the Record Newspapers and KendallCountyNow.com.

John Etheredge

John Etheredge

Editor of the Record Newspapers and KendallCountyNow.com, John's career as a journalist in Kendall County began in 1981. Over the years his news beats have included county government, municipal government, school boards, police and more. He also writes editorials on local issues and the weekly Kendall County Government Newsletter.