Hi all, Lots of happenings in the past couple months and next month or so.
1. The last of the trailhead posters were installed (hallelujah!) at the MSC trailheads on Tuesday - at least the ones we're signing in the short term. Because of three construction projects there and uncertainty as to what was going to be impacted, we installed trailhead signs at Snodgrass Hall Trailhead and off Cottrell Campus Drive (this is being treated as a neighborhood trailhead with no offstreet parking). The Mat-Su College Trailhead (off the main parking lot) will just retain the metal sign for the time being until we know how the trail will be impacted.
We now have 88 posts, 239 directional signs, 12 gateway double posts and map signs, and 8 trailhead signs.
We also have a standard printed map / .pdf plus some online clickable versions, which work on smartphones. Trails and posts are both parts of our GIS database. All of the electronic mapping, gadgets, etc is very much in its infancy as we explore what users need and can use and what managers can use both on their desktops and to communicate with their field crews.
Huge thanks to our Buy a Post donors, MSB Bed-Tax Grant, Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation grant, land managers and their crews, and the volunteers that made this all possible over the last 3 years.
I'm anticipating at least a few more posts to be installed, mostly on MSB property and one in Kepler Park (state parks doing the installation) along the ROW.
2. State Parks hosted a National Trails Day celebration which involved trail repairs, new trail building, and burgers. (I'll see if I can get some pictures of all the projects or point you to the ASP website with them. I spaced this out until just now. Sorry.)
3. Valley Mtn Bikers & Hikers had a work day on the new Bearberry Bluff trail on June 23. Cool new trail. But please wait till it's done before using it.
4. The Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation is having a picnic at Crevasse-Moraine Trailhead on July 19 from 4:30-7:30pm to make people more aware of their mission and goals. CMT was chosen since it and the rest of the Matanuska Greenbelt is the recipient of one of their grants that has been completed. This would be a great opportunity to learn more about the Foundation and thank them. Hope to see you there.
5. Matanuska Experiment Farm is having Agriculture Appreciation Day on August 9, noon to 6pm. They will have something on the trails as well as many of the vendors they've had in the past. More information will be available in our calendar: http://www.matanuska-greenbelt.org/calendar
6. The Landfill has obtained some funding (July 1st) for laborers to work this summer cleaning around the perimeter of the landfill, powerline and trails adjacent to the landfill. Additionally, the landfill contractor has had a large crew cleaning the past few months at the landfill to collect trash before it blows off site. The Landfill manager has been very concerned about the amount of trash offsite and is making it a priority to remedy the situation. Thank you! (thought I had sent this msg out before but apparently overlooked it)
7. Plans. I'm not current on details of the MSB plans, but I believe they changed what was originally considered for the new CMT trailhead and putting the new parking lot at the high point of the road (sort of) so as not to remove as much material from the sledding hill as originally proposed. Alaska Rim is the contractor on that. That would enable a gentler trail - maybe 5% slope - from parking to the present start area.
A management plan is also in the works for CMT, and USKH was awarded that contract. I'm not sure if anything has started on that yet or not, but I do know USKH has been really busy on a couple other projects. They are familiar with what we've been doing overall in the Greenbelt.
Work has also started on the trails master plan for the Mat-Su Borough region for the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation. Agnew:Beck/USKH is working on that contract.
I will let you know when public involvement starts.
8. New maps. When the MSB's new imagery becomes available (fall or later, probably), we'll make new maps, which will mostly be a matter of just changing the imagery background on our map. Based on their delivery schedules (the main factor) and variations, the new maps will likely be a winter project. There's some minor tweaks in our existing trails, and new trails to be added, which aren't built yet. (EZ Flow was added online, but not in .pdf or in our actual GIS db; Bearberry Bluff is still under construction).
We also want to further investigate ways of making our maps available in a useful manner on smartphones, various iGadgets, maybe gps units (haven't even tried this yet other than as a picture), etc. but also continuing to provide paper and .pdf maps - which don't depend on batteries, satellites, or cell reception. :) Based on the way things seem to be headed in MSB and with the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation, they are looking at some of the same issues we've been dealing with but on a larger scale. So it makes sense to see where that goes.
9. Side notes. I've been in a number of different meetings over the last month or so. A couple recurring themes have come up. Maps and signs increase the respect that people have for an area. Yep, we've seen that happen. Paper maps are a good start, but need data behind the maps (ours does have the GIS data behind it and just need to add fields to accommodate more attributes). People are asking for things to put on their smartphones or other gadgets. Yep, working on that.
When sharing links about the Matanuska Greenbelt, it's probably best to use either our main one, our map one, or mobile one, NOT the individual map links. When I update the maps, I change the name of the file to include a version number or date, so it's always obvious what you've got without opening the file. "Sometime" I hope to add some "suggested hike" or whatever highlighting a particular loop with elevation profile. People will only know of their existence if they go to our website rather than accessing a map directly. However, those 3 urls are intended to stay constant.
http://www.matanuska-greenbelt.org/mobile-page (our QR codes will point to this simplified page)
Enjoy the trails! And please provide any feedback on signs or maps.