Hikers kicked off trails at Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park - KOTA Territory News

Hikers kicked off trails at Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park

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Rapid City -

Things heated up at Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't because of the weather.

Tempers flared when Steve Flanery, vice president of the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park Foundation, ordered hikers off the trails.

Signs posted indicating that the trials are closed due to the muddy conditions were mostly ignored by hikers who continued going up the hill.

When Flanery rode down off the bike path and noticed people on the hill, he began yelling at them to come down.

One woman and her daughter were visible upset with being yelled at. Flanery later apologized.

Two men, who called the police, were also upset. They just wanted to know why they were told to leave the trails.

The police arrived later, and after some discussion, the situation was resolved.

Flanery said thousands of dollars worth of damage was done to the trails over President's Day weekend.

"The signs say if the trails are muddy, please leave the park. Because of the nature of these trails and how they are used, we close the park when it gets really muddy," Flanery said. "As soon as it dries out, we have a park Marshall and he'll move the signs and it will be open for everyone to enjoy."

He says tearing up the trail is not good for the park or the environment.

"It's all about safety. It's about the environment, taking care of the environment. The gift that is given to the community. This is costing tax payers of this community nothing. And it's free for everyone and we want people to use it and enjoy it. So when we close it, we want them to respect the fact that the trails and too muddy to use," Flanery said.

Flanery says more than $5 million is invested in the park. He wants to make sure no further damage is done so people can enjoy the park all year round.

"The park is a privately funded park. All the money that's invested in this park is money that we have in our trust. No public money, no tax dollars, no donations."

Kody Mendel, of Rapid City, and his family were not happy about the closure. They just wanted to enjoy a nice day on the trails.

"We came out here because of the nice weather. We wanted to take a little hike and we got here and realized that the park is closed and we can't go up the hill to hike," Mendel said.

With another storm heading our way, hikers can expect this park to remain closed for a few more days.

 

 

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