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Watch out for trail vandals

September 01, 2010 - Most people use the Polly Ann Trail for productive activities such as walking, jogging, biking and horseback riding.

But it appears there are a deviant few who are using the 14.2 mile trail as an outlet for their desire to destroy and deface public property.

PAT Manager Troy Farwell wants to put a stop to it.

"People need to pay more attention to what's happening on the trail and in our greater community," he said. "If we can just pay more attention to suspicious behaviors, I think that would be really helpful."

Vandalism on the trail has been a growing problem within the last few months.

Recently, someone spray-painted a happy face on a large map of the trail, located west of the M-24 bridge, near Pleasant St. in Oxford Village.

Farwell indicated he will attempt to have the sign cleaned and restored, but if it can't be done, it will probably cost between $500 and $600 to replace it, "if not more."

Prior to that, directional signs located on 4x4 wooden posts east of the bridge and over by the Powell Lake Park trail system were broken off.

"I find them laying like 10-15 feet away, chucked in the bushes," Farwell said.

Each post contained four signs, each of which cost about $30. "It's like around $200 per post," Farwell said.

Back in the spring, he indicated the trail had a 6x6 post that served as one of the mile-markers ripped out and stolen from the paved section by Powell Lake.

"That's really a lot of work. I don't know who would want to do it," said Farwell, indicating it cost a little more than $100 to replace.

Rather than simply purchasing new directional signs for the posts, the trail's management council is considering replacing them altogether with a more vandalism-resistant design, which would cost more money.

The trail manager suspects it's local youth perpetrating the vandalism. He wishes they would "find something better to do."

"Ripping up signs does not make any sense," he said. "It's public money. Their parents are paying for this."

If you witness something suspicious or illegal on the trail, please call the appropriate local law enforcement agency.

In Oxford Village, the police can be reached at (248) 628-2525. In Oxford, Addison and Orion townships, the Oakland County Sheriff's Department can be contacted by calling (248) 858-4950.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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