Bucks Pocket State Park has been the center of two tragic deaths over the last two years. A local business owner is doing his part to make sure it does not happen again.
The business owner, who wished to not be named, is building and donating two gates to be placed on the road to keep people from driving into a dangerous portion of the park when it receives heavy rain. The business owner in Section offered to furnish the material and build the gates if the county would put them up.
Park Ranger Jimmy Jones attended the Jackson County Commission meeting Monday afternoon to discuss some details with the commission. Jones said the gates would be started on Tuesday, and they should be done by the end of the week.
Once the gates are built; they would be installed by the road department. The locations for the gates have already been marked and measured by both Jackson and DeKalb counties. Jones had a memorandum of understanding from the state, and he needed a signature from Jackson County.
=The park ranger or supervisor at Bucks Pocket State Park would be responsible for determining when the gates would need to be closed, and they would be responsible for closing the gates.
The county sheriff would also have the authority to close the gates in the event of an emergency or act of public safety. The road would be closed, and the gate would be locked after closing the area to ensure there are no vehicles or any other type of traffic in the area.
On the Jackson County side, a gate will be placed at a turnaround on County Road 452. There will be another gate farther down County Road 452 in DeKalb County where the ATV trail is located at the park.
Commission Chairman Tim Guffey said these gates are something that is greatly needed.
“It’s something that needed to be done. It will keep folks from driving in there and losing their life like we’ve had the past. It’s a good thing, and it probably should have been done a long time ago,” said Guffey.
Jackson County EMA Director Paul Smith said the gates will prevent loss of life.
“It should keep folks from driving down into that portion of the pocket that’s just so dangerous when it rains a lot, and we’ve had a lot of rain the last two years,” said Smith. “You can warn people all you want to, sometimes it takes a physical barrier. I’m afraid that if people cross that barrier, they’ve made a bad decision and there’s nothing we can do after that point.”
Smith said it was great that a local citizen here in Jackson County wanted to donate their time, material and labor to build the gates.
“Hats off to him,” said Smith.