Jul 27, 2014
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Mt. Trashmore: Sled At Your Own Risk

At what point is a warning no longer enough to keep residents safe?

Mt. Trashmore: Sled At Your Own Risk Mt. Trashmore: Sled At Your Own Risk Mt. Trashmore: Sled At Your Own Risk Mt. Trashmore: Sled At Your Own Risk Mt. Trashmore: Sled At Your Own Risk Mt. Trashmore: Sled At Your Own Risk
Raise your hand if you've ignored the NO SLEDDING signs on the big hill at Mt. Trashmore.

Apparently many of us have done it and continue to do so. Come on! It's nearly impossible to ignore that massive hill, especially when the conditions are right and the crowds fill the parking lot at James Park. Whether you're 4 or 94 -- just one glance at that snowy mound and you can't help but dig out that Flying Saucer and a thick pair of socks. It's just good old, outdoor, free, American fun, right?

It's also prohibited by the City of Evanston.

A wise friend recently posted online how she and her middle school child feel about the situation:

"Evanston peeps. Mount Trashmore. Right and wrong. City of Evanston says sledding is prohibited on the large hill. [My middle schooler] points out that tons of people including parents sled down the big hill all the time, and that there are no barriers to prevent them. [My child seems] fine with not going down it--it's bumpy and rough--but says the prevalence of the law-breaking makes it hard to stay off if peer pressure is applied [and] actually encouraged me to lay down the law very heavily in front of [school] friends, as proof that [we] really [don't allow it...]. If the city is serious about this rule, I wish they'd do the same, and enforce it occasionally. And I wish adults would set an example by either not disregarding the signs that are there or by working to remove the ordinance if they feel it is not needed. Having rules that are made to be broken is not a good recipe for raising conscientious middle schoolers."

Well said.

After the last time I went sledding there with my kids -- maybe three years ago -- I vowed I'd never go back. I saw more "near misses" than I could bear, more head-on collisions and little kids getting mowed down by adults and teens going full-throttle (and sometimes backwards). I never saw a single helmet.

It's one thing to use the smaller hills at Mt. Trashmore, but the big hill is absolutely terrifying. And once the ice slicks over those moguls, it's just an unsupervised, concrete speedway inviting concussions and broken necks.

Okay, I'm feeling a little like my grandmother right now. She'd earned the nickname "Master of Disaster" in our family because she always pointed out the dangers and dramas in everyday existence. She seemed to thrive on it. I wouldn't say I'm THAT bad (yet), but when kids see how dangerous that big hill is, and how people so blatantly ignore the warnings, maybe it's time to revisit the City's enforcement of the hill?

If enough residents speak up, would the City intervene? Is this the least of our worries? Are the warning signs enough? Who would "police" the hill? Is there a way to modify the big hill to create a safer, less treacherous situation? Is there a potential for revenue if the concession stand opened on snowy weekends or if winter concerts were held?

What are your thoughts on Mt. Trashmore and the big sledding hill?

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