MGT Dec 14, 2011, Meeting Summary

posted Dec 19, 2011, 10:38 PM by Dot Helm   [ updated Dec 19, 2011, 10:57 PM ]
Next meeting:  Wed Jan 11, 5:30pm Matanuska Experiment Farm.

Trails Plan. Primary focus was on a trails plan and how to go about doing this. Why do we need one: increased usage in the area now that people can find their way around the system (most of the time) and need to deal with changes adjacent to the trails. We need to deal with present trail maintenance as well as future developments. Rather than passively go with whatever happens, let's see if we can help steer things for the benefit of the trails.

We all know a trails plan when we see one and have been involved in lots, but none of those present has ever been involved in the contracting end or had a clue as to cost.

Sooo, our homework for next time (Jan 11) is to start getting a handle on how much the various components of a trails plan might cost by asking some local consultants. It's believed that the public involvement part *might* be in the $5-$10k range, while a full plan (with us doing lots of preliminary work) might be near $30k, so contracting a cadillac version could be beyond $50k.

IOW, we need to figure out what we want / need, what we can do, and what we need to hire a consultant for. Then figure out how to raise funds, where to write proposals, whatever. We may need to partner with other groups, including a 501c3. (STA did this very successfully for a number of years.)

Since our meeting, I've had several email exchanges about Willow's Summer Trail Plan including their RFP. Their Summer Trail Plan is about 2/3 of the way down this page:

If you are easily overwhelmed by long documents, skip these next links and go down to Trail Training ;)  but some folks will be interested in other approaches.

A few other trails plans are here:  (spaghetti-loop trails with many trailheads, like us)
(this last is a template from NH)

Obviously these are very different based on the units being planned for AND the amount of available funds.

For completeness, here's the MSB Trail plan (more of an inventory):

The new Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation is also working on public outreach and a trails management plan which can lay a general structure for some details of trails management, like TMO's (Trail Management Objectives) and Trail Assessments.

MGTA will be looking at something specific for our trails - something not covered by any of the general approaches, but we will build on part of those.

You might also look at
for ideas on how a non-501c3 group can do things by partnering with others. I think they are working on getting their 501c3 now.

Trail Training. We mentioned the potential for the Alaska Trails Academy this spring for training volunteers in a 2-day session and seasonal employees in a 5-day session. Probably in early May, possibly in the greater Palmer area. This is all just proposed, but could provide a solution to getting volunteers trained for trail maintenance and building. We will let you know what develops.

If you want to know first hand about developments, I encourage you to join
which has been instrumental in some of the earlier trail training sessions and statewide conferences, including the highly successful Trail Rondy this past spring. Their monthly email newsletter / action updates are a wealth of information on trails from local to statewide level and some national.

National Winter Trails Day: Sat. Jan 7 at Hatcher Pass mi 10.6 sledding hill, 10:30-3pm, organized by MSB. REI brings out skis and snowshoes for people to try for free. Volunteers will offer instruction. Lots of fun, good way to meet other trail users.
(you'll probably need to plug in "AK" for state to get to details)

Part 2 of our meeting was the Palmer public meeting for Parks, Trails and Recreational Fields. While much of the presentation was about parks, their desire to improve connectivity with surrounding areas - especially Crevasse-Moraine - was reiterated. We're really hoping that this can help with the France Rd issue as the landfill expands. The files for their plans are here:{C6B996CF-431A-42E4-AA29-F555E37954F5}

Have a Happy Holiday, enjoy the trails, and see you at our next meeting on Jan 11.