MGT Jan 11, 2012, Meeting Summary

posted Jan 18, 2012, 12:22 AM by Dot Helm   [ updated Jan 18, 2012, 12:26 AM ]
Hope everyone is enjoying the snow!

Next meeting is Feb 15, 5:30pm, at the Matanuska Experiment Farm. We have invited a number of our stakeholders with interests adjacent to the Matanuska Greenbelt. As with any of our meetings, we welcome anyone interested in the trails. In the meeting reminder, I'll let you know who we anticipate coming, after they've had a chance to respond.

Some of the Jan meeting focused around a trails plan and various topics that spun off what's become known as the "Burn Barrel" meeting at Winter Trails Day. Two people from the Mat-Su Youth Facility let us know more about their program and all of the volunteer work they've been doing - including picking up trash around K-Mart Alley. A *huge* thanks for that. We hope to partner with th

Between Dec and Jan meetings, I did visit with 3 consultants - SDG, USKH, and HDR - about how do we do a trails plan and how much it might cost, so we would have some idea of how much money we might need, which would influence how we raise / find those funds. I explained we were a group of trail users and land managers working together without a formal structure and seem to be successful at that level so far. Suggestions ranged from no / minimal plan ($3-5k) to a big plan ($90-$100k). Based on discussions, it seemed like we could probably do something reasonable for $30k plus or minus $20k (how's that for narrowing things down ;) ).  If you've seen Willow's Summer Trails Plan that I linked to last time, it's about $30k with the Willow folks doing a lot of the homework to save costs.

Some of the costs will relate to how much homework we can do for them. We may have a unique combination of resources because of the land managers and volunteers involved with these trails - but very limited time. Hiring a consultant may be a more efficient way of doing it.

Just a very short quick list of types of things we might want to see in a trails plan include TMO's (trail management objectives, which guide maintenance), needs / desires of various user types (mode of travel, skills, fitness), new trails, and educational features (nature trails, self-guided tours, earthcaches - things that anyone could use and could become resources for home-schooled kids, rather than driving to Anchorage).

A couple other trails plans from outside were also presented and briefly discussed.

Glenn Hwy expansion from 2 to 4 lanes at south end of MGT could have some interesting impacts - potentially bad in some aspects, but potentially very good in others. A good benefit might be a bike path entering the park from that side of highway.  Obviously all these things are in the planning stages and things change, but this might be a project to keep an eye on.

I had also been looking for potential partners, preferably a 501c3, if needed. We would like to be more interactive with Gateway Community Council since they live in the area and have some of their goals related to trails. They are a non-profit, but not a 501c3. I've been attending some of their meetings. Alaska Trails, a 501c3, is willing to partner - potentially either for pass-through arrangements as they've been doing with STA in Anchorage OR they may have some skills that could be useful in our trails planning and we could write them into a proposal.

For our next meeting, we hope to have some of our stakeholders and can discuss some of their concerns and opportunities. Somewhere we need to start deciding on goals of the trails plan and how to make it a living, breathing document rather than a dust collector.

Hope to see you on the trails or at next meeting on Feb 15, 2012.

Dot Helm,
Jan 19, 2012, 12:04 AM