Burr Oak Lodge Open House Draws Hundreds

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People are excited about the reopening of the Burr Oak Lodge in Morgan County.

Several hundred people filtered through the lodge during the two-hour open house Thursday night put on by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Glouster resident Jody Moore says some of the proposed development will help make the lodge a success.

"I think some of the activities they're talking about like a bike trail and the zip line, those sound like really fun things to me," she said. "I mean, I don't want to ride the zip line, but I think it's fun for everybody else. I might try it if they had one out here."

At the meeting, folks milled around and visited stations set up for possible activities to bring to Burr Oak.

There were tables for mountain bike trails, paintball, zip lining, disc golf and motorized trails.

The most divisive activity proposed? Nearly 14 miles of ATV trails.

Opponents argued four wheelers create too much noise, while supporters said they're fun and there aren't enough trails in the Buckeye state.

ODNR proposed the ATV trails as a potential activity, and officials have drawn up a map of where they'd go. But no construction's been done.

People could leave comments on large pieces of paper that everyone could see, and they could also fill out comment cards.

James Cotter grew up in Glouster, and he took issue with the format of the meeting.

He says he would have preferred a presentation and an open mic.

"I think a lot of people (are) disappointed at that," Cotter said. "Writing on a piece of paper and turning them into someone to digest that later on at another meeting seems rather fruitless."

Glen Cobb is the Chief of Parks for ODNR.

He says the agency chose the best format for the meeting.

"We've used this elsewhere in Ohio state parks," Cobb said, "and it gives… the greatest number of people the greatest opportunity to speak their mind, and it also gives them an opportunity to document their concerns as well."

ODNR is now tasked with transcribing and analyzing all the comments, then making a recommendation.

The lodge is expected to reopen by Oct. 1.

Officials hope activities can be in place by the spring.