Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pulling hair out?

I am going to slice my wrists if I see another picture of my forehead like this. I have also given specific instruction to my kid that if she ever takes a photo of the back of my head without me knowing it, she will go to "Meremac at best" for her college tour.

Thanks Mary and Rick for doing the story on Rich Love. We all have been touched by his generosity and commitment to active living. Our community chooses to embrace Mr. Becknell, the new guy, as we should. If not anything else, we were able to send a message to the Love's that their contributions to our community left us all the more en-"rich"-ed.

On other notes. The trails today were quite delicious as are the Sandwiches served at

Shuck and I got out for a ride and suffered through a little bit of the spongy resistance swell that comes from thaw, rain and then thaw.

So it is my understanding that Local Wrist Snapper, Matt "Casey Ryback" Grottoff is hosting a 93 mile hill ride starting from, where else...the Lone Wolf Coffee Company this Sunday at 9:00 AM. I am putting money on who finishes this ride. It is heinous to say the least. And I fully expect for half of them to bail and sip on mocha lattes always served fresh and hot by Tanya Stark, the manager there.

I will be greeting the riders with a guitar and 20 oz. Full Moon Roast, as part of a send off before traveling to Columbia to watch my daughter play ball sports all afternoon, boring...

By the way. We are so interested in threading some sweet singletrack at Babler, word to the Love man, yo...

From the West County Journal

Rick Graefe photo/ Chesterfield resident Ralph Pfremmer stands in front of a display of his racing tags and holds a petition asking the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to keep Rich Love as superintendent at Castlewood State Park.

By Mary Shapiro
Friday, February 13, 2009 10:55 AM CST

There’s no love for a move by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to send long-time Castlewood State Park Superintendent Richard Love to Babler State Park in Wildwood.

Love has been superintendent of Castlewood, on Kiefer Creek Road just south of Ballwin, for 18 years. As of this month, he becomes assistant superintendent at Babler State Park on Guy Park Drive.

Love did not respond to a telephone call for information.

He’s being replaced at Castlewood by Randy Becknell, who had been superintendent at Cuivre River State Park near Troy, Mo.

However, some regular patrons of Castlewood, including local mountain bicyclists and others Love has helped, are circulating petitions and writing letters to the state to try to prevent the transfer.

Ralph Pfremmer of Chesterfield offers a Thursday Night Short Track series through his Pfoodman holding company at Castlewood. His Lone Wolf Coffee Co., 15480 Clayton Road in Ballwin, is named after the Lone Wolf Trail at Castlewood.

His petition states “Taxpayers and users of Missouri state parks protest the transfer of Richard Love from Castlewood. He has worked hard, managed well and made Castlewood a destination park for the whole area. He’s always friendly, helpful and accommodating. It would be a terrible shame to see Castlewood revert back to the way it was before, and his services will be sorely missed.”

Pfremmer said his business counts on the active living community, and Love’s move affects more than just the park.

“If this is a political move or a favor for someone else, it sure would be a shame,” he said.”

Pfremmer said Love has “embraced mountain biking, an unconventional sport that has grown by leaps and bounds, and allowed us to race bikes at the park and have our volunteers build and maintain trails.”

“We definitely are worried about whether we will be able to use mountain bikes on trails our volunteers built and maintained in Castlewood,” he said.

To see Pfremmer’s blog on the topic, visit the website, go to the “meet the Pfoodman” section and click on his blog there.

Sue Holst, information officer with the Missouri Department of Natural Resource’s division of state parks, insisted Love’s move has nothing to do with politics.

“And there are no plans at all to reduce mountain bike trails at Castlewood,” she said.

Holst said Love’s official transfer was effective Jan. 12 but “there are transition issues as Mr. Love moves out and Mr. Becknell comes in.”

She said there’s “no opportunity to reverse this change.”

“We recognize mountain bike trails are very important in that area, and we realize a lot of people are upset, but we don’t feel there’s a reason for that,” Holst said. “Mountain bike trails won’t be impacted, nor the operation of Castlewood.”

She said Don Fink, superintendent of nearby Route 66 State Park, will still oversee Castlewood, as he’s done for several years.

Mark Laytham, owner of Ballwin Schwinn, 15340 Manchester Road in Ellisville, said he already has many signatures on the petition to keep Love at Castlewood. Numerous other bike shops have the petitions, he said.

Laytham said a recent Journal story on a teen’s rescue of a man and his dog in the Meramec River in Castlewood brought Love’s move to light.

“My conversation with Rich is that he didn’t want to leave Castlewood,” Laytham said. “He’s supported the cycling community, and the park has become a mountain bike mecca in the Midwest. We don’t know if the new superintendent will be receptive to what our community has done to improve the park by building new mountain bike trail networks and doing trail maintenance.

“Fifteen years ago, there were hardly any mountain bikers in Castlewood. I remember, as a teen in the ‘70s, going to Castlewood, and nobody was there but a bunch of hippies. Now, people are coming from many states away to ride bikes. We’ve been told things won’t change after Rich leaves, but we don’t know that.”

At the website, there have been comments about Love’s departure.

Christopher Shirley, principal of Oak Brook Elementary School, 510 Big Bend Road in Ballwin, said petitions are being circulated among faculty to try to prevent the Loves’ move from their home at the park.

“Both Richard and his wife, Susan, have been very involved in Oak Brook,” Shirley said. “They’ve helped us with the school carnival and also with our Naturezania Committee, which helps to take care of the grounds. They’re just the kind of people who, no matter what you need, they’ll be there for you. Their departure would be a loss not only to Oak Brook but to the whole community.”

In Babler, Love will be assistant to Superintendent Jeff Robinson, Holst said.

“For Rich, the move gives him more opportunities because Babler is much larger than Castlewood, with a campground, visitors center, outdoor education center and lots of events,” Holst said. “From time to time, changing personnel around is good for the superintendents and parks, giving some new perspective. Rich didn’t request this transfer, but I understand he has no problem with it.”

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