Because horse riding had just been banned at the old Lake Defiance, now Moraine Hills, it occurred to me that it could go in a Gravel Gertie State Park.
Snow mobilers weren’t having trouble finding places to ride, but they could also be accomodated in a gravel pit.
Most parks didn’t want dogs around. Room could be found in a gravel pit.
There was lots of pressure for passive use of parkland.
But, who could complain with anything that you did with a gravel pit? When you fly over much of Algonquin Township, it probably looks like the moon, just with water.
Here’s some of what could be done. Dirt bikes could have a designated area. Horse riders and snow mobilers could, too. Some of the pits are so sheltered from the wind that people could go swimming in them during sunny November days. Some act like a solar oven, heating the surface of the water, while the wind is blowing wildly above. Obviously, ice skating, ice boating, sledding and, maybe a semblance of a beginners ski hill could be found.
In the summer, there could be trailer camps like the one just (or soon to be) closed on the Fox River by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Fishing would be allowed and any kind of boating you could imagine could be found a place. There’s already one subdivision about an old gravel pit in Island Lake built especially for those who want to water ski.
(One person familiar with Vulcan Lakes commented that, having seen the size of its waves get, he would not go out on it unless he were in a powerboat. Of course, the Crystal Lake City Council doesn’t want powerboats on Vulcan Lakes because of its purity.)
You get the idea. All the pleasures forbidden in most state parks around the area could be enjoyed in such a multi-thousand acre park made out of gravel pits.
It could even have a theme park aspect something like Disney World’s Indiana Jones show. Part could have gangsters stuffing a body in a car trunk and dumping it over the side of a hill into a gravel pit lake. (Of course, one would drain the car of its fluids first.)
People could even reach the park on weekends by train and shuttle buses from the Cary or now Pingree Road station.
Of course, the idea was too untraditional to catch the attention of those who think parkland is to be seen and little used, but I did get Dave Kenney, Director of the Department of Conservation up on (now mined) Three Oaks Road to see the potential.