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Matanuska Greenbelt trailhead structures, safety tips Aug 20, 27, 2011

posted Aug 27, 2011, 12:50 PM by Dot Helm
1. Trailhead Bulletin Board Structures. MSB Trail Crew is working on the first two of the trailhead bulletin board structures. They were painting them today and hope to have them completed in the next couple weeks. These will go at CMT and the Farm. State Parks has already installed 2 (upper campground near Mat Lake and at Kepler Park) of the 4 they are providing.

We'll need some volunteer carpentry types for the other two structures. It may be easiest if you're available Mon-Fri when the MSB shop is open, maybe on a Sat. Let me know if you can help - and what type of availability works for you. There's some other possibilities we're considering. Right now we're mostly trying to find carpentry.

2. Gateway kiosk installation. We will need some help with installing some large pairs of posts (two 6x8in guardrail posts bolted together so we have a 12-in face). We have the posts and screws, but posts need to be chamfered before attaching them. then they need to be installed in half a dozen places in CMT and Greenbelt Central. This might involve digging holes, hauling posts to location, and installing. We're trying to get some mechanical assistance with this. This could be on a Saturday or might be week day.

3. Safety Tips. Over the last year or so, people have commented on maps, signs, whatever - largely positive, but a few misplaced people. ;)   The most common situation is someone wandering off the signed / mapped trails.

The trails and maps should be consistent (at least when everything is done). However, if you wander off the marked trails onto social trails, you are on your own. They are neither on the map nor signed. The powerline on the map is a landmark, not a trail. Where a major social trail intersects a main trail, we have sometimes put a post with signs pointing you beyond the trail (no arrows point down the trail that the land manager prefers you didn't use).

One exception is that there is no sign at the west end of Picnic Table Single Track since it's in the middle of a field that gets harvested by tractor, which doesn't like posts. It's easy enough to follow starting from Long Lake Connector at east end, but new people have trouble finding the intersection at the west end. We haven't found a solution yet.

Some thoughts when you've got visitors from out of state or even local people new to the trail system (or new to the renamed areas), be sure they know what trailhead they start from - even if you're planning on staying together. Even small groups get separated. Directional signs should point them back to there. Generally there are two trailhead directions on the signs - the closest and the next most logical (hey, I tried, but some of those signs were real struggles).

Some point to the edge of the next property - like Crevasse-Moraine Trails (rather than Crevasse-Moraine Trailhead) or the state park (even if they don't know the name). Some people are wondering how far it is to their play area of the day and have no desire to go to that trailhead. A common situation was people entering at Mat Lake and wondering where Mooseberry Mesa was (and really didn't care about CMT trailhead). So we included that on one of the signs in the state park.

Some of this will be easier when we get trailhead signs (will have trailhead name, "you are here" on there)  as well as the gateway kiosks (smaller maps, "you are here") at a few key intersections (about a dozen or so throughout the system). Those will also have the link to the website where they can get maps.

And for those that like to explore and get lost, hopefully there's still enough of those opportunities out there. :)

3. Safety around events. If someone is having an event, and there are people directing traffic in the parking area, please respect them and follow instructions. Most importantly, don't drive into an area which is closed to traffic at that time.

Suggestion to event organizers: label your course markers so people know they are for an event. Unlabelled flagging tends to get picked up as trash by other trail users. If you use staples on the posts, please remove the staples and those paper fragments. We've found it much faster and easier to just use push pins.

Just as an amusing observation, on Ag Appreciation Day, there were four sets of flaggings marking various courses - orange pin flags with "F" (Farm) on them, white pin flags for Colony, and pink survey tape for Wasilla, and some green pin flags for someone else. Three of us had almost the same course labelled at the same time, but slight variations and starting points. The trails really rocked that day, including having hay rides on some of those farm roads and Air Force Band at the Farm.