My granddaughter and I have enjoyed sledding at Booth Park ever since it was renovated. The long, gently sloping hill is manageable for even the youngest sledders, and following a snowfall, dozens of children can be seen streaking across the park. Some sleds go reasonably straight if they're aimed correctly, but kids in a hurry don't always point their sled in the right direction. And some sleds, the discs for example, have a mind of their own.
On the left side of the hill is a row of jagged, deadly rocks. In previous years, the park employees placed haybales in front of the rocks. Haybales were also placed at the end of the hill to ensure that no one would go in the river. They were a good bit of insurance against what could be catastrophic injury. I recall that my granddaughter crashed into the haybales fronting the rocks several years ago. Her sled was slightly damaged, but she wasn't injured. If she had hit the rocks, it would have been much, much worse.
This year there are no haybales. Today, parents took turns standing in front of the rocks, hoping to divert any sleds that were off course. This proved necessary more than once.
How much do the haybales cost? Fifty dollars? Birmingham is risking lawsuits and lives by not placing them on the hill, both in front of the rocks and at the end of the course. It's an inexpensive bit of insurance that our children deserve.