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Improvements planned for Harrison trail

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

A walk down the Harrison County Rail Trail between North View and Spelter can be a way to enjoy nature.

But the seven-mile trek along the West Fork River also is not as scenic as it could be. The trail in that area is home to about a dozen illegal dumps.

That will change this summer, said Paul Hamrick, Harrison's litter control chairman.

On Tuesday, county commissioners approved a summer project to clean and repair the trail. Later in the day, inmates from the Pruntytown Correctional Center started cleaning the first of the dumps, Hamrick said.

"It will probably take them a month or so," Hamrick said.

"As we get into it, we may need to put boats in the water to do some stream work."

While the inmates are cleaning the dumps, workers from the Harrison County Parks and Recreation Department will make repairs to the trail, Hamrick said.

When the project is complete, more people should be attracted to the trail, he said.

"It's a great place to take a walk, and it's only minutes from downtown," he said.

The cleanup is a joint project of the county Solid Waste Authority and the state Division of Environmental Protection, he said.

Litter is not the only thing keeping some visitors off the trail, Hamrick said. Dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles have forced some people to stop walking the route.

Commissioners Tuesday agreed to ask the sheriff's department to start regularly patrolling the area, President Roger Diaz said.

"The sheriff's office will start enforcing the law out there," he said. "When they catch people on four-wheelers and motorcycles on the trail, they will issue them citations."

Only bicycles and walkers are allowed on the rail trial.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, commissioners gave preliminary approval to a bid for installation of a Global Positioning Satellite time synchronization system for the Bureau of Emergency Ser-vices.

The $116,300 project will synchronize all clocks at the bureau and in county police and rescue vehicles, said Fred Smart, bureau director.

"This will enhance the system," Smart told commissioners.

Now, headquarters, police cars, rescue vehicles and the bureau's tape recording system each have their own clocks, Smart said. Time on each clock can vary.

The new system will keep them synchronized by periodically checking time with the orbiting satellites, he said.

The biggest reason for the system is court cases, Smart said. Attorneys often use response times as part of their cases, he said.

Smart expects the new system will be in place within a month.

In other action, commissioners:

n Agreed to apply for a $100,000 state recycling grant. Commissioner Beth Taylor said if the county gets the money, it should be earmarked for enforcement of the existing recycling ordinance.

n Approved a plan to certify a county shelter employee to euthanize animals. Area veterinarians currently perform the procedure at a cost of $500 to $1,500, Diaz said.

n Approved a letter to the state Division of Natural Resources requesting a second conservation officer for the county. Harrison now has one officer. A vacancy left several months ago has not been filled.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.

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