HILDEBRANDT: The Ohio Historical Society's new groove

Say it ain't so! The Ohio Historical Society doesn't want the Kelleys Island Glacial Grooves anymore. Well, that's not
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Say it ain't so!

The Ohio Historical Society doesn't want the Kelleys Island Glacial Grooves anymore.

Well, that's not entirely true. The society just doesn't want to be responsible for them.

It seems the society feels it should concentrate its efforts on archeological and historical sites and not things like a big rock that has scratches in it that were made by a moving glacier 30,000 years ago.

Of course it's a little hard to tell where history begins and geology ends in this particular instance since 30,000 years sounds an awful lot like history to me.

But the potential abandonment of the Glacial Grooves is part of some kind of Ohio government downsizing program.

The society is responsible for overseeing 60 sites owned by the state of Ohio. Under a bill adopted this year, the Ohio Legislative Service Commission is supposed to check out 40 of the 60 sites and see if there's a way to entice some other pigeons to take care of these places.

The site study, as it is called, is only a blip on the screen of a bill that took the Ohio Legislative Service Commission 500 pages just to analyze, one of the commission librarians said.

The study is supposed to be done by December 31. To complete the study the OLSC is out in the field checking out the sites trying to come up with a plan for the state to offer incentives to take control of the sites.

"No holes barred" is what the historical society claims in the "Q and A" paper about the site study. They'd even consider allowing municipal corporations, counties, townships, local historical societies and regional authorities to take control.

It all sounds pretty dumb.

Here you've got some guy from the Legislative Service Commission playing Ohio tourist checking out these places to see if the state can build some kind of mousetrap baited with tax credits or capital dollars or an endowment-matching program so someone else can take on the responsibility of taking care of the state's property.

Who comes up with these ideas anyway?

First of all, if it took 500 pages to analyze a bill, isn't there something a little meatier this guy could be sinking his teeth into? Secondly, if the idea behind the study is to save state government money, but the state is looking to pay back the groups who take charge of the sites, that kind of sounds like "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

And then you've got the Glacial Grooves themselves to consider. The Ohio Historical Society doesn't even get up into this neck of the woods too often. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources takes care of the grooves for them. An OHS spokesman said someone from the society gets up here "maybe once a year." And that makes it sound like they relinquished control of Glacial Grooves long before they came up with the idea to relinquish control.

So maybe there's more to this whole thing than meets the eye. It could be one of those "conspiracy" theories. After all, the Democrats control Ohio government. And, nationally, Al Gore is one of those big Democrats. So maybe the Democratic-controlled state government is looking to ditch the Glacial Grooves because of the whole global warming thing. With the Nobel Peace Prize and all that, they wouldn't want to discredit all his work, now, would they?

Hey that's an idea. Maybe the Ohio Republicans can take over control of them. They could sell T-shirts that say "Get in the Groove Gore."

There's a lot of potential here.

There are a lot of revelers who visit Kelleys Island every summer to lose themselves at the bars. They could create a not for profit organization whose purpose would be to maintain the grooves.

They could sell T-shirts that proclaim "Feeling Groovy."

Forget this idea of local government taking over an historic site. That's just putting the taxpayers' burden on a different set of shoulders. If the state wants to save money, why not do it with good old American know how? Why not let some private Ohio company take control of the Glacial Grooves and make money in the process by selling "Made in China" souvenirs?