Monday, December 23, 2013

Stan Gaskill 1950-2013

Sad news for all who frequent the Smithville Lake trails. Late Friday Stan Gaskill passed away "at home peacefully among his loving family".  Stan was involved with the Smithville Lake trails from Day 1....well, that's not entirely accurate. Stan was involved with the Smithville Lake trails way before Day 1. Stan was involved in planning and researching these trails many, many months before the first tool struck the ground  and on a snowy night in December 2000 helped present the idea of "extreme" (their words, not Stan's) trails at Smithville Lake to the Clay County Parks Board.  

Once the park  said "go", Stan would spend time out wandering (not really, but it might have looked and seemed that way at times) through the woods where the trails now meander, trying to find that "just right" place for trails that few others had even imagined. And then he set about to make them happen... through trials of "how to" and "will this work", potential lose of trails due to changes in park use, changing managers, dodging ticks, poison ivy, copperheads and even tornadoes (one struck nearby the night before an IMBA Trail Care Crew visit). But, not to worry, Stan always kept the "bigger picture" in mind.  Just like the illness he fought for several years, he just took on trials with quiet strength and forged ahead. 

If you have been out on the trails in the last month, you (hopefully) have seen the new trail markers and kiosk announce the trail name "Stan's Southside". This, a tangible way for his fellow adventurers to acknowledge his dedication and efforts, marks the first trails built at Smithville. 

With Stan's passing the Smithville trails (really the people who enjoy them) have lost a wonderful and dedicated trail steward. I have lost a dear friend, neighbor and kindred spirit. Shalom Stan. 

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