Beautiful Lake Holman at Little Buffalo State Park near
Newport. 88 acres of boating and fishing, held in place by a 50 feet high,
steeply sloped, hard to mow, earthen dam.
The dam is a grass cutting challenge for park maintenance
man Greg Wileman and the Spider, a radio-controlled slope mower on loan from
the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“We use the Spider Instead of trying to get in there
with a push mower or zero turn, which you would never mow with on these steep
banks,” said Wileman.
The 24 horse power grass eater is designed to cut where
no man wants to, nor should.
“If you were mowing these steep inclines with a push
mower, you could easily slip, fall underneath the mower. Lose a foot. A leg.
Whatever,” said Wileman as he maneuvered the unit up and down the steep
land side of the dam. “With this you can keep a safe distance from what
At a range of up to 200 yards, the remote control can
even raise and lower the four mulching blades while on the go.
In only his second day of operating the Spider, Wileman
“Any way you go, sideways, up, down, cross ways,
catacorner, it'll mow you four feet.”
“It's very hard to get stuck and almost impossible
to roll over with the low center of gravity and the wide wheel base.”
But you probably won't be seeing these in many private
“They're not a very cheap piece of equipment,”
noted Wileman. ” They run about 40 to 45-thousand dollars new.”
The good news is, Wileman pointed out, they're not that
tough to drive.
“If you're good with your thumbs and joy
stick,” he said, “anybody that plays video games could run one of
When finished at Little Buffalo State Park, the Spider
was off to the next of four state parks that share the mower.