We’ve been making steady progress on a number of important issues and there have been some substantial updates to the website. This post will summarize these and let everyone know the key ways to help, which are:
- Be a responsible and courteous trail user.
- Tell people about the trails and make the time to take new people for their first experience.
- Make a donation to help fund the spring build. The donations page allows you to set up a recurring monthly donation if that’s easier for you.
- Watch for upcoming workdays on our social media accounts and attend.
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
- A number of issues have been handled, almost all of which are part of the process of breaking in new trails and were related to the 11-12 inch rain event earlier this fall. As general matter, we were very pleased with how the trails handled that extraordinary amount of rain.
- The leaves are falling and the cold and wet are coming. We’ll be doing a lot of work clearing drains and doing other winter maintenance beginning after Thanksgiving.
- Now that fall is here and the grasses and undergrowth are dying, we’re beginning to work on getting the “troads” currently on the kiosk map cleared and signed. We have someone identified to mow/clear and waiting on permission from DNR. The hope is that if we do that and then drive traffic onto them by signing them, we’ll get a nice compacted path that doesn’t need to be mowed in the future. You can already see this happening in number of places.
- We’ve addressed the lack of sufficient parking and now have about 100 spots. We don’t need that much parking currently, but it would not have made sense to add 20 spots at a time. It wouldn’t oversimply things all that much to say that the main goal over the next few years will be to start filling up the new parking area. We need to go from 20-30 cars at peak times to something like 60-70.
- The new parking area is pretty much complete. We were able to do build that lot for just over $30K (less than half the cost of grading contractor) because of the generosity of Jack Hughston and Hughston Homes.
- We are working on getting some trees planted in the island (that area just had a much of small pines and nothing worth saving). Once we do that, we’ll eventually work on picnic tables and some changing stalls.
- In a few weeks we’ll have a workday to build a short section of trail to connect the southwest corner of the lot to Primary Goods.
- We’ve also moved the wheel stops on the west side of the upper parking to make it a little bit wider as well as cleaned up the downed trees on the east side.
Hubs and Rest Stops
- While we had workers and equipment for the parking lot, we created some spots for bike racks and benches at Hub I (Primary Goods and Bimini). Fairly soon, we’ll begin working on racks and benches there as well as a few other spots (e.g. new section of Bimini by the water).
- We also need to get some mini-kiosk maps at some of the hubs.
- Please let us know if you are interested in helping with this (e.g., you’ve got some carpentry skills or a contact about getting some picnic tables donated or provided at cost).
- E-bikes: We’ve put off taking a position on e-bikes for a variety of reasons, but as the trails become more popular we’ve more and more e-bikes on the trails. The current rule is that e-bikes are allowed on a trial basis. Please see the E-bike link under “Trails.”
Construction and Fundraising
- The revised master plan and map have been posted under “The Plan”.
- We are hoping to construct the following beginning in March:
- Complete the inner blue loop: seg 10 and 11
- Outer teal loop: seg 22 (coupled with the green trails and the section of Lonely Hunter by the river/lake, this will create an outer loop that is somewhere between green and blue, or teal)
- Segments 10, 11, and 22 are the remaining segments that are most important for creating connectivity.
- Jump trail near parking: seg 24
- A few tweaks (e.g., widen the turn on new section of Bimini by the water)
- Cost: $300K
- Existing Funds and Pledges: $100K
- Matching Grant: $100K
- Every dollar you gives turns into two dollars
- Need to Raise $100K of new dollars
- Remaining Need: $55K as of December 10
New Hiking-Only Trail
- We are struggling a little with how to approach the new hiking-only trails in the Master Plan. The “troads” will offer excellent “walking” experiences as soon as we can get them cleared and signed, so we want the new hiking-only trails to be narrow, rugged, and very natural – in other words, hand-built.
- Hiring a contractor for hand-built trails is difficult and potentially inefficient since volunteers are more than capable of building these trails and most contractors build with machines. The best case scenario would be for one or two new volunteers to take ownership of this effort and lead it. Our current trail maintenance leaders are already spread too thin with maintenance to take on the construction of a significant amount of trail.
- We will continue to work on this and get it figured out.
Thanks for taking to the time to learn about what’s going on and please consider a donation to help us complete the spring 2022 build.