With frigid temperatures having turned bodies of water throughout Delaware County into sheets of ice, individuals tempted by the cold weather to lace up their ice or hockey skates and test a nearby icy surface may want to rethink that idea, especially if it’s located on public property.
Within the City of Delaware there are several ponds scattered throughout the parks system that residents are advised to stay out of or off of no matter the season. These ponds are located at Blue Limestone Park, Smith Park, Cheshire Park, and Veterans Park.
“If parks staff or a police officer were to see someone skating on a city pond or playing close to a city pond, that person would be asked to get off of the ice or leave that area,” Community Affairs Coordinator Lee Yoakum said.
Individuals who fail to cooperate could be charged with misdemeanor trespassing, although the Delaware Police Department hasn’t issued such a charge in recent memory, according to Chief Bruce Pijanowski.
In addition to possibly facing a trespassing charge for taking to the ice in city-owned ponds, Yoakum said the ponds aren’t an ideal location for such recreational activity since the water is far from being completely frozen over despite the recent Arctic-like temperatures.
“In these ponds are bubblers that are kept working year-round,” he said. “Bubblers promote a healthier pond by regulating things like water temperature and oxygen, and they displace the water just enough to leave open water visible.”
As for skating on ponds located in housing developments across the city, Yoakum said any restrictions are left up to the property owners or homeowners associations since they lie on private property.
“Our best recommendation is that skaters travel a few miles up U.S. Route 23 to Delaware State Park, which offers a public ice skating option,” he said.
Powell’s take on ice skating
According to the Codified Ordinances of the City of Powell, using a city-owned pond for ice skating purposes is prohibited, unless otherwise noted.
Section 955.10 of the city’s codified ordinances states, “No person in a park shall engage in the activities of swimming, wading, boating and ice skating in areas or at times which have not been set aside for these purposes by appropriate signage.”
Any individual who pleads guilty to or is convicted of violating section 955.10 is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, according to city law.
Megan Canavan, director of communications, said two city parks — Meadowview Park and Village Green Park — contain ponds.
In the past two weeks, she added, the Powell Police Department has received three phone calls regarding people ice skating on ponds.
While Powell has its own law regarding ice skating on city-owned property, privately-owned ponds are fair game for ice skating purposes if allowed by the landowner.
“The police department can issue a criminal trespass warning for the property owner, if requested,” Canavan said.
Ice skating in protected natural areas
Preservation Parks of Delaware County offers visitors numerous ways to enjoy nature. However, skating on one of the various ponds scattered throughout its nine parks isn’t one of them.
“We don’t have any designated areas for ice skating,” said Sue Hagan, marketing and communications manager for Preservation Parks.
As listed in section 15.1 of the park district’s rules and regulations, “No person shall sled ride, ski or ice skate within the park except in posted areas designated for that use and only during permitted hours and subject to posted operational rules.”
Hagan added, “Access to any of the ponds, whether it be skating, boating, or walking on the ice, is prohibited. The ponds are off-trail anyway, and people are supposed to stay on the trails or in other designated public areas.”
Anyone caught out on the ice, she said, “would most likely be given a warning (verbal or written) or a citation if the situation warranted it.”
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.