May 6, 2010, summary

posted Oct 9, 2010, 7:56 PM by Dot Helm   [ updated Oct 9, 2010, 8:00 PM ]
We've been getting some really nice comments about the existing signs.
Thanks to all who donated and helped and all the commenters. This e-
mail is an assortment of things that have happened really fast in the
last couple weeks.

The May 6 meeting was mostly a discussion of things to come and

One issue was traffic flow in CMT and how to get people out to
Mooseberry Mesa and parts south in a reasonably efficient manner when
winter directional rules are in place if we lose access to south
parking lot as a result of landfill move. (this is now being worked

One geocacher was present and proposed setting up earthcache(s) in the
Greenbelt. EarthCaches can be single points
or a trail where you visit, document what you saw (photos,
measurements), and log it. Much more interesting than my description.
It would be a great educational feature to add to the Greenbelt that
is accessible to everyone, not just formal classes. I had attended one
of their training sessions sometime before this.

Gateway Community Council is working on a grant that could provide
funds for posts, signs, other MGT materials, and/or trailwork labor
(contract through agency). Their group has decided that they would
like to work with Mat-Su College (possibly after new director is in
place) and buy materials like posts and signs to spruce those trails
up. We really appreciate them stepping up with this.

Crevasse Moraine Trail Association is considering funding many of the
remaining posts / signs needed at CMT - at least as far as what we can
do without knowing landfill status. We're working on details of this.
Thank you, CMTA.

Some people have asked whether we are still collecting for the Buy a
Post pgm. Yes. We've had 4 people / organizations buy posts this
spring, that we still have to buy, install, and sign. I anticipate
5-10 posts beyond what the above group sources might fund, over 30
intersections if those don't materialize. So if you've been thinking
about buying a post and seeing your name out there on the trail,
please let us know.

Sign Status

State Parks signs and upper part of CMT signs (ones not affected by
ski or directional issues) were submitted to sign company on Tuesday
5/18. We were told they should be ready in about 1 week. They know
we'd like to get them up by Memorial Day weekend, if possible - or at
least before June 12 which is Mooseberry Stampede mtn bike race (75th
anniversary of Matanuska Colony) and 40th anniversary celebration for
state parks / unveiling of new name for MLSRA. But given my terrible
forecasting of done dates (circumstances beyond my control), I won't
guarantee it.;)

Two issues need to be resolved at CMT before signs can be completed:
traffic flow in winter and trailhead move. Ed Strabel and I started
work on traffic flow this week. A primary change is to allow a person
to use some loops in winter without having to go back through the
start area. If anybody would like to contribute to directions and
names, please contact me ( I'll have a draft
version that can be emailed for comment. I'm hoping we can finish this
"soon". When that's resolved then we can sign the lower 7 posts on the
main corridor (posts were installed last summer). We can install the 6
posts at east side and those 2 (L, X) at ends of that low trail to
west of main corridor. MSB crew will install those. Thank you. I think
this can be realistically done this summer.

Another thought that keeps coming up is what percent of the users are
skiers, and how important is it to have one-way trails in winter. Many
people I talk to say they ignore the signs anyway.

Let me know if you have thoughts on directions, where, and names for
trails. Right now, the names being proposed are Swamp Loop for that
bottom closed loop, Upper Loop for a similar loop on the upper level,
Expressway for the main corridor (exit route that's posted already and
awaits signs; make it 2 way), Landfill Loop for the one we're almost
ready to lose to landfill. The easternmost trail could be Outer Trail,
Eastern Trail, or Left Trail (just keep taking left branches as you
leave the trailhead). If we ever get trails on France Rd, none of
these would make sense.

The trailhead move issue is a bit stickier and got moved to the first
(bad news) email.

New Map Coming

Version 3 will be available by June 12, if not before - I hope. It
will have the State Parks name change. I'm also planning on trying to
incorporate the CMT direction change and names - if we can agree on
what they should be. People complain about existing ones, but I'm not
hearing many alternatives. It's time to do something and get new signs
and maps.

Frontiersman Spectrum Article
Joe Moore wrote this article on the Matanuska Greenbelt: Cooperation
benefits outdoor recreation
Ironically, this appears to have come out the same day that the
Assembly voted down the trailhead move money.

Help Wanted

If anyone has Adobe Illustrator or knows someone who has it, would you
be willing to help make the .pdf version of the signs that get
submitted to the manufacturer. Norm has it figured out, but he's done
all 94 of the present signs, and we could have as many as 100 more.
We're just trying to spread the work around a little. I'll still do
the rough drafts to be consistent with the existing signs and since
I've got the map with the mileages. Whoever generates the .pdf version
just needs to copy what I give them, change the fonts, and adjust
spacing. We won't go through a temporary laminated sign stage since I
think we've got the basics down and the permanent signs should be able
to be installed within a month or so. (but you know how my time
predictions are)

June 6 - VMBaH is having a trail work day starting at CMT at 10am.
This is mostly working on race course, mostly on Mooseberry Mesa and
some other CMT. Plus installing 9 signs, 6 on 2 posts nears Mooseberry

June 12 - VMBaH could use some help with people monitoring the course
(that is, cheer the racers along).
All racers and volunteers will get a copy of the latest version 3 of
the Matanuska Greenbelt map. This is a Palmer Colony Days event - 75th
anniversary of the Matanuska Colony.
State Parks is having a 40th anniversary celebration / unveiling of
new name Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area.

Future Ideas for the Matanuska Greenbelt that were brought up at last
meeting, but not really discussed. Could be springboard for next
year's projects. (some are obviously more likely to happen than

Trailhead signage
Kiosk signage
Better handle on usage - numbers of users by time slots, types of
users (ski, dog walk, hike, run, bike, ...) - for management purposes
and getting funding (counters, cameras, whatever)
Events - races like runs, bikes, duathlon, triathlon, orienteering -
and maybe some guidelines as to how much traffic trails can handle
(carrying capacity)
Collaborative maintenance
Corridor in CMT to get out of main trailhead after losing access to
southern trailhead
New trails, esp. single track at north end
Maybe make some trails firmer to support horses, but not impact other
CMT trailhead and plan in that area (I put this at the end only
because it didn't actually come up in the meeting, but in light of
recent events, it might need to be a more substantial issue)

If you have other ideas, please let us know.