Area offers plenty of springtime outdoors fun

On a short drive from Rockford to Machesney Park this past weekend, I witnessed hundreds—maybe even thousands—of area people partaking in one form of sporting activity or another. It was awesome, as well as inspirational, to see so many people enjoying the recreational and sporting opportunities our area provides.

As I drove past the YMCA, it didn’t look as though there was an empty parking spot anywhere. I’m sure the building was full of families and individuals swimming, weightlifting, running, playing basketball, etc.

Less than a quarter mile up the road, the Sinnissippi Bike Path came in to view. Several hundred more people were out enjoying the beautiful weather and the scenic Rock River. Some were jogging, others were biking or rollerblading, a few people had fishing poles lined up along the shore, and most looked as if they were simply taking a leisurely stroll.

As I continued into Loves Park via Forest Hills Road, I drove past the Forest Hills Country Club. I couldn’t help but wish I were a member. I was envious. I would have loved to join those playing golf or hitting balls out on their practice range.

A little farther north, the Forest Hills Diamonds and bowling alley parking lots were full of empty cars and buses. The place was packed. I wondered, “Could they all be out on the softball diamonds, or were some inside bowling on such a glorious day?”

The next location I noticed was Rock Cut Grade School. Some people were shooting hoops on the playground, while others shagged golf balls in the school yard.

My drive stopped short of the Rockford Speedway. I know several hundred people were there Saturday night watching the area’s finest short track racing. A little farther to the east is the beautiful Rock Cut State Park. I’m confident it was busy as well, with its share of campers, hikers, fishermen and other outdoorsmen.

We live in a great area to enjoy our favorite sporting and recreational activities at this time of year. I hope you and your family make some time soon to take advantage of all our area has to offer. My apologies to those of you who are into mountain climbing!

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the April 25-May 1, 2007, issue

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