There is lots of talk about money and a request for a very modest increase in our Portage parks' income is on the ballot.
We have a park system ready to be fleshed out. Soon we will be connected to Akron, then Cleveland and east and south to Washington, D.C. Other areas outside of Portage County are now complete. Our family members have already ridden bikes to Washington, and many times in the national park.
The real action is in Portage County to get more trails open and added to this excellent outdoor facility open to everyone.
Who uses these parks and trails? All types of people of all ages.
1. The bike folks -- generally long-distance, on weekends, shorter on workdays. It's amazing how many we get from Akron and Cleveland. People are discovering Portage County.
2. The runners and joggers -- all ages, all sizes, all friendly. Even the Kent State cross country teams use our trails for practice. Even in our lousy winter weather there were footprints, bike tracks, ski tracks. They never stopped in all the snow.
3. The walkers and hikers -- groups, families, teenagers, old timers, every type that likes the outdoors, the lovers of flora and fauna. How often do you look up at the sky? Not via a windshield or window, but straight up, where the action happens. Not jet exhaust, but birds -- the red-tail hawks are common, buzzards (those flying garbage cans that help keep our environment cleaner), American eagles (from Lake Rockwell), cormorants and osprey going after fish in our wetlands, the Canada geese flying the v-formation. We have a cornucopia of nature to enjoy if we just stop, look and listen.
4. Security has improved and we have less vandalism. Almost everyone has a cell phone and other people enjoying the trail are usually within sight. Our sheriff patrols and does a good job of enforcement. No four-wheelers or motors are allowed, but motorcycles are welcome to park while their owners enjoy our trails,
5. People using park trails generally take time to shop in Ravenna and in Kent. Portage parks are good for business and benefit locally every Portage resident.
Use our parks and be surprised at the natural beauty of our area. And please ensure the park system with your vote on May 6.
Charlie and Marilyn Beckwith, Franklin Township