Rory Polhamus, a junior engineering major from Houston, recalls one gorgeous day in Lubbock when he tried to hang his hammock in Tech Terrace Park.
A recent transfer to Tech with no knowledge of local ordinances, he didn’t enjoy his Eagle Nest Outfitter’s hammock for long.
“One of the students came over and told me it was against the rules here and that people get tickets,” Polhamus said.
An ordinance outlawing the attachment of any rope, wire or contrivance to any shrub, bush or plant applies to all of Lubbock’s 81 parks. But the rule, which has been in place since 1959, did not intend to target hammock users, said Bridget Faulkenberry, director of Parks and Recreation for the city.
The ordinance is still seen as sensible and necessary.
“The last thing we want to do in our parks is to hurt trees with ropes or wires cutting them,” said Jeff Griffith, District 3 city council member.
Griffith had never heard of anyone receiving a citation for hanging a hammock until student Bailey Scarborough brought attention to the issue. She and her boyfriend were enjoying a day at the park when an officer came by and gave her boyfriend a citation. She took her complaints to the city council.
“It’s fine if you want to have city ordinances that protect trees, but there were no signs outlawing hammocks in the trees,” Scarborough told the council members.
Hammocks are more popular than ever, said Zach Meixner, manager at Mountain Hideaway, which offers several different types of hammocks. Some straps do not hurt trees, Meixner said, but it depends on how they are used.
To allow more people to enjoy their hammocks, Faulkenberry said the city installed two hammock poles and one slack-line poll in Tech Terrace Park, costing the taxpayers $462. At the time of the installation, the city also put up signs to inform park users of regulations, costing $156. The additions cost $618, excluding labor costs, only 1.66 percent of the maintenance cost of 2015.
Faulkenberry said they used poles from Lubbock Power and Light that the city already owned, cut them and used their tree digging equipment to install them.
“So it was very inexpensive, which was kind of the point,” she said.
The poles have been up since the spring of 2015, but the city has not added more, using the past year as a trial run.
Faulkenberry was excited to hear people were using the poles and hopes to get more added if they get regular use.
“I hope that people will get the word out that we have these hammock poles out and use them, and let us know what they think of them,” she said. “If we can improve them in any way, we’d like to know.”