County residents need to be able to have access to their roads and field drives. 

Unfortunately, some tourists forget this when they come to Winneshiek County for recreation.

At Monday’s meeting, the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors was to have passed the first reading of a parking ordinance that would restrict parking in areas that have become a problem for locals. 

“Ninety-nine percent of people do understand it is private property. People need to just be respectful of it,” said Winneshiek County Engineer Lee Bjerke. 

Bjerke noted numerous complaints from county residents who live near canoe launch sites. 

“We have a few spots around the county where people are blocking the roads so tractors can’t get through. They even park in field drives, so farmers can’t get into their fields,” he said. 

“Some of these people have day jobs and also farm. They come hom to farm and they might have to sit for an hour and a half before someone moves a vehicle. It’s not fair to them. I get their frustration.” 

Bjerke said the passage of the ordinance will be followed by the installation of signage in many spots around the county where parked cars have become a problem. 

“We have talked to the county attorney, who encouraged the county to pass an ordinance so the Sheriff’s Office can enforce this,” said Bjerke. 

Bjerke said three big problem areas include the Dahly Bridge, Chimney Rock and Malanaphy Springs. 

“At Malanaphy Springs, it’s really becoming a problem. Vehicles stick out into the roadway. We’re not going to let them park on both sides of the road,” he said. 

Bjerke added the “no parking/tow away zone” signs will be posted anywhere a problem has been noted, included in residents’ private drives. 

“Sometimes people just park, hop on the water and leave.”

Workable

Bjerke noted with the new ordinance, the Sheriff’s Office will have the legal backing to tow the vehicle and recoup the cost of moving it. 

“We’re trying to make something that’s workable, yet reasonable,” said Bjerke. 

Sheriff Dan Marx added, “The Sheriff’s Office has been getting inundated with parking complaints, especially near bridges and river access areas. Our natural resources in Winneshiek County bring in people from all over the world. It is imperative that we keep our public access areas and roadways safe. To accomplish this, we need everyone to show mutual respect for one another. This includes respectign adjacent property owners, motorists, tourists, recreationalists and ensuring clear access for emergency response vehicles. We will be promoting this through community awareness and enforcement. Thank you in advance for doing your part to make things safe and inviting for everyone.”