Heroes of our Community: Sgt. Bob Meyers oversees recreation enforcement
Editor’s note: Heroes of our Community is a special feature highlighting a member of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
LAKE COUNTY — With miles upon miles of recreational trails, lakes, rivers and other outdoor lures, Sgt. Bob Meyers, recreation supervisor for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, has his work cut out for him. He meets the day-to-day and seasonal challenges with enthusiasm for the opportunities nature in Lake County has to offer.
As recreational supervisor, he is in charge of off-road vehicles, snowmobile and marine division and other operations. He handles grant writing to get funding for the trail systems, schedules deputies in the recreation division and makes sure repairs are made to machinery, among other duties.
Meyers has been with the department nearly 17 years, when he started out as a Pleasant Plains Township officer. This is his fifth year in charge of the recreation division. He also worked as a road patrol deputy and regular patrol deputy throughout the years.
He enjoys supervising the recreational division, because the trail opportunities in the county is what drew the Manistee native to the area when he was younger.
“I used to ride the trails here when I was young. It was a good draw then, and a good draw now,” he said. “I like getting out on the trails and water for first-hand knowledge of what is out there. I can speak up at meetings dealing with recreation because I am out there seeing what is going on first-hand. I feel that is important.”
Meyers has recently been praised by county officials for his quick and thorough work clearing trees on the major recreational trails caused by the Aug. 28 storm.
“The trails were pretty bad,” he said. “We spent eight hours the first day on trails with the Irons Area Tourist Association. About 30 to 50 trees blocked the trail in one section. The next day we spent six to seven hours assisting the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In two days, we got the trails cleared so people could ride them for the Labor Day weekend. We knew the holiday was approaching, so we got there and rolled up our sleeves. We knew people would try riding the trails whether they were cleared or not.”
Another highlight for Meyers was participating in the NOHVCC (National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council) Conference this year, a national group which was hosted in Webber Township Park for a couple of days. Meyers, along with sheriff Rich Martin, was invited to speak at the conference in Grand Rapids this past August.
Meyers said the trail system in the county, which draws thousands of people, is 100-percent grant funded.
“Funding is everything. Hopefully we provide an exceptional experience for all who come here,” he said. “We had around 5,000 contacts with people using the trails this summer, and you know there are many more we don’t cross paths with. We are busy. It is that big.”
With the county being so recreation-geared as a tourist community, Meyers has his hands in a lot of groups and committees seeking input on how to utilize these opportunities to the county’s advantage.
“You get a good feeling of what is going on and being planned in the county,” he said. “This position is not just about law enforcement or recreational, but it is about going forward as a community and being a buffer between residents and visitors to keep the peace.”