MGT Dec 6, 2012, Meeting Summary

posted Dec 10, 2012, 1:27 AM by Dot Helm   [ updated Dec 11, 2012, 4:52 AM ]

1.   Next meeting is tentatively set for Thurs, Jan 10, 2013, at the Matanuska Experiment Farm. (Alternate date is Jan 24. This is actually a switch from our meeting, but a conflict that I thought existed didn’t. I haven’t had confirmation from landowners yet.)


2. . Matanuska Greenbelt is on Facebook now!  https://www.facebook.com/MatanuskaGreenbelt

What we’re hoping to do is get more interaction with and among users with respect to what’s happening in the Greenbelt – trail conditions, events, etc.  Feel free to post or share pictures, esp. ones of people playing, working, learning as well as scenery.


3.     We discussed some observations from both the CMT Master Plan (USKH consultant for MSB) and Mat-Su Trails Master Plan (Agnew:Beck for MSTPF, Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation). The CMT meeting had 4 stations which people were supposed to visit for 15 min, then rotate

a.       Nature Trail System – people suggested the best place for this was at the south end where the geology was more visible. (Palmer SWCD had been working with Valley Pathways on some conservation applications and thought of a nature trail in the France Rd area. )

b.      Outdoor Fitness Central – While their writeup was more along the lines of general health and fitness, I got the impression that the presentation was more along the lines of competitive sports like Kincaid. People basically said they liked their trails the way they were.

c.       Northeast gateway of the MGT looked at another trailhead adjacent to Valley Pathways, but perhaps work on an alternate access route coming down further to the east (like Felton) to reduce traffic along France Rd.

d.      “Legacy Central Park” looked at protecting the area with an area-wide plan. This might be more formal collaboration and planning than we have now as well as land trades, vacating section line easements, etc. MSB and State Parks were represented at this station, and someone from Great Land Trust was there seeing what our priorities are.

(Note: I was at the d. station most of the time, only briefly got to Fitness center, and talked with a few users. So this summary is my best representation of what happened. A product from the consultants should come out later this winter, I think.)

While users were supposed to divide themselves up evenly among the four stations, the two dealing with the overall greenbelt (c and d) were the most popular. A few of us were stationed at the “Central Park” station, and I think most of the people that started there, stayed for two 15-min sessions (30 min) when they were encouraged by the consultant to go to next station.

With the MSTPF plan (different from CMT plan), some of the preliminary summaries of those community meetings are picking up on connectivity within the MGT as well as from the MGT to Palmer, to Palmer Hay Flats, to Wasilla, and to Moose Range / Hatcher Pass. There will be more meetings on the MSTPF plan.

 

4.     Buy-a-Something program. Since our Buy-a-Post program was so successful, why not extend that to benches or picnic tables or interpretive signs or …? One idea that seemed to catch on was to have a few “destination points” which *might* have a picnic table and/or bench, interpretive sign, and a view through the trees. As most of us know, except for the farm fields, trees tend to block views of the lakes and mountains with a few exceptions of peeking through the trees at just the right angle.

For this to be successful, we’d need cash donations (or materials), volunteers, and some plan for long-term maintenance (normal wear, vandalism reduction).

What was suggested since the MSB has some extra lumber from another project and the picnic table on Bearberry Bluff *almost* has a view, try enhancing that site during summer 2013 to decide what should be done and what materials. Estimate costs for other sites and scope out some sites in 2013, then develop a fund-raising / work plan to do one or two a year starting in 2014.

The donations could be broken down into small items (maybe a simple sign or a bolt), medium (bench or some wood), large (interp sign).

 

5. What would it take to make the State Rec Area a State Park and what benefits would that have? This was along the lines that none of the properties, esp. the trails, are protected except for that small ROW through the Kepler Park. We recognize the university has its mission with its lands, but also recognize that even the MSB and ASP lands can be vulnerable.

(This has been answered in that a SRA is usually more intensely developed than a "state park".)


6. Newsletter of dates of activities to hand out at events to let people know what’s going on. This might be just as easily done through FB and other electronic means = green solution.

 

Hope to see you on the trails and at the next meeting in Jan.

Dot