MyWebTimes reports that the IDNR reopened the 5 mile section of the I&M Canal Trail between Ottawa and Utica yesterday while the courts figure out whether to let Buffalo Range Shooting Park open for the season.
Currently the courts have issued an injunction temporarily preventing the range from opening, and the IDNR has used the opportunity to invite trail users back.
Of course, the shooting range was closed all winter, and so was the trail.
IDNR director Marc Miller says that the trail could close again if safety concerns arise. That hardly restores the trail’s allure as a corridor for tourism—how do you plan a visit on a trail that can close with the first phone call reporting “I think I heard a gun shot?”
We’re glad the IDNR has opened the gates, but we’ll be following the court case. The IDNR has shown that it holds the prerogative to keep the trail open, not the courts or the Attorney General (which we thought might have been the case).
On behalf of trail users and all the I&M Canal communities, we hope they can find their way to a permanent restoration of the I&M Canal Trail before summer.