Warmer winter impacting local park

Lincoln Trail State Park had a damper put on their plans because the winter has been so warm.

Posted: Jan 8, 2020 6:26 PM

MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI) - While temperatures were colder on Wednesday, this winter as a whole has been above average.

So far above average in fact, that it's put a damper on some local plans.

"It's been very frustrating, and very challenging."

Tom Hintz has been at Lincoln Trail State Park for seven years now.

He says although many people may disagree with him, he wants the cold winter to come.

"So we need either completely dry conditions, which we haven't had in months, or we need frozen conditions, which we haven't had either."

Tom says this is because many of the things they usually get done in the winter, they haven't been able to do.

One of the biggest things, a plant that they call "dormant seeds".

"We're having a hard time doing our dormant seeding. We're planting prairie plants and pollinator-friendly plants along the entrance of the park soon, and they need about two and a half months of cold stratification in the soil."

And on top of that, they still have leaves scattered all over the park.

"By now, we should have had three or four prescription burns and those leaves would have all been burnt up. So we have a lot of the leaves all collected in our campground and wind rows, and we haven't been able to get rid of those either."

But Tom is still hopeful.

While they need the colder, drier weather to get some things done, the warmer weather means more traffic at the park.

"If it doesn't get cold, well, people will probably be out bike riding more, and running, and enjoying the park even more. But ecologically, we need those seasons."

But either way, the park will stay open, and they'll keep working with whatever mother nature throws at them.

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