The Barton County Commission Monday morning took action in the best interest of the county, despite an emotional appeal to the contrary. The commission should be commended.
The governing body opted not to act on a request from some residents in extreme southeastern Barton County to install gates on a stretch of a sand road in the area. Within shouting distance of the Arkansas River and the Rice County Line, the folks were concerned about drug activity, poaching and littering that takes place in the region.
It takes a half an hour for law enforcement to arrive, they said. By the time officers get to the scene, the activity has ceased.
Sadly, however, there are many remote areas of Barton County with equal response times. And, sadly, illegal activities occur in those parts of the county as well.
Where would the commission stop? It feared it would set a precedent by gating the roads.
Commissioners were stunned by the negative feedback they’d received over the issue from those opposing the action. Media coverage of the issue only amplified this reaction.
The county leaders questioned restricting access to an otherwise public roadway. What about farm implements? What about emergency vehicles? What about oil field and utility crews who work nearby?
Commissioners said this was one of the most difficult issues they’d faced. Kenny Schremmer, who said he was a good friend with Rollie Peter, one of the residents asking for the gate, summed it up when he said “there’s been a lot of thought put into this.”
But, despite personal relationships, this was the correct course of action.