Part 2 in a four-part series

Since the Sodalis Nature Preserve officially opened to the public it has proven wildly popular with those intent on getting some exercise. But with more people venturing into the preserve, the possibility of mishaps has increased. Recognizing that fact the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department (HPRD) is taking steps to help rescue personnel and individuals who are injured and unable to walk out under their own power.

“We are working on putting (numbered) signs on the (mine) gates,” said Andy Dorian, director of the HPRD. “They'll be at the (mine) gate, but not every gate will have one. Some of the smaller ones that are embedded in rock probably won't have them, but the majority of them will. We have finished picking the gates that will get signs and Hometown Signs is working on making the signs.”

The locations of each numbered mine gate has been plotted on a map.

“It corresponds to a map we already have, and that first responders have and Marion County 911 will have,” said Dorian. “If you break your leg or something happens and you don't know where you're at, you can look up and see you're at gate 23. The Police Department will have a map and know exactly where gate 23 is and head right up there. It gives first responders or even parks people a better understanding of where you might be.

“We're working closely with the Police Department's CSOs (community service officers) on all this. They've been awesome to work with.”

Changes at the mine gates along Sodalis' paved trail will not be the only significant change that visitors will notice in the future.

“We're working on replacing all of the swinging gates. We're going to go to a bollard system,” said Dorian. “The gate system is OK, but when people start jimmying them they break. The plan is to go with a bollard system everywhere, Riverview as well.”

No timetable has been set for the bollards installation.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at