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Leaders Park Trail Bridge Vandalized

June 29, 2012, 9:59 PM by David Brown

Leaders Park Trail Bridge Vandalized
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Leaders Park in Sioux Falls could use more people in charge to catch some vandals. A bridge on one of its trails has been consistently vandalized for the past few months and the volunteers who built the trail hope the path can stay clear.

"The bridge is a very integral part of the trail," Falls Area Singletrack president Chris Pierson said.

The Elaine Bridge in Leaders Park has seen better days since it was constructed last October. But now, it's stripped of more than just a few planks.

"Some of the hand rail has been ripped off," Pierson said. "Most recently, on Wednesday night, some people were discovered down here with hand tools, socket sets, which we assumed to mean they were going to try to sabotage or dismantle the bridge."

The vandalism is especially dangerous for walkers and bikers, because without guard rails, it's about a 15 foot drop into the creek below.

"It's more rails disappearing," Pierson said. "It's getting to be where the fall would be quite substantial."

Outdoor enthusiasts who utilize the trail have noticed the deterioration over the past couple of months. Volunteers have plans to make the bridge more stable, but still need to raise thousands of dollars.

"We anticipate using steel, replacing all the wood rail with steel, having in very securely bolted in place and maybe welded in place so it makes it harder for vandals to cause damage," Pierson said.

But even with those reinforcements, volunteers hope the future of the trail is solid, while leaving the old path behind.

"This is all volunteer labor," Pierson said. "This is something we wanted to do to give back to the community and it really saddens us when we have something going on like this."

Pierson says his organization, Falls Area Singletrack, has notified law enforcement of the damage. The group is considering offering a reward for those who catch the alleged vandals.

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