Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pressure Released

I was more than a bit concerned about the future of Munson Hills and the “enhancements” planned for it future. Some relief found me when I discovered Trail Dynamics and Valerie Naylor were handling the assessment. Saturdays ride, meeting and party confirmed my expectations. They do not plan to alter the original path of the trail except in a few instances. The character of the trail will live on.

Although I do not agree with the need to redo the signage, both the intersections signs and the interpretive signs at the access point to the St. Marks Trail will be replaced, I can live with it. The signs are part of the trails history, maybe they could be incorporated into some aspect of the new signage. At the very least I hope to salvage them, maybe give one to Mike McCue, Joel Byrd and JB for creating the trail in the first place or auction them off as memorials to the trail and use the money for other trail work.

As we road the trail on Saturday Valerie addressed many of my concerns before I raised them. How much relocating would they recommend, what material would be used to reinforce the tread, would technical features be added, would the trail remain open, what consideration would be taken to protect the ecosystem while the work is done. It was a relief to know they had considered these issues in advance, their experience shows.

The only significant reroute discussed concerns the north end of the Tall Pines short cut. A spot long know to be trouble. It could be reinforced and left in place but would likely need an aggressive maintenance schedule, additionally the alternate route is likely to more closely resemble the swooping turns that characterize the rest of the trail. I hope other reroutes do not come up as the process moves forward. Crushed concrete or lime rock will reinforce the trail tread, most people will not be able to tell the difference between the two. No artificial technical features are planned, an occasional fallen tree is the only technical feature Munson Hills needs. Portions of the trail will be closed during different stages but the trail will never be completely off limits. This last part, damage created from working on the trail, is still a little concerning to me. I do believe they will try to protect the areas around the trail as they do work. I know it will look worst right after the work and get better over time. They plan for an 18 inch tread but will use four foot wide equipment to do the work. The wrong operator on that equipment will make scares lasting 3 or 4 years, maybe more. The plants in the ecosystem do great after a burn but do not handle soil disturbance very well. One too many trips up and down the trail carrying material could have a long lasting negative effect.

I have confidence in Valerie Naylor and Jim Schmid to protect the character of Munson Hills. My personal stress level associated with this is way down. They are doing what I have tried to do and hoped would happen for years. Their work will have a long term positive impact on the trail. Thank them when you can and thanks to everyone who came out to support and protect Munson Hills.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Great Expectations

An important step in my journey takes place tomorrow.

Thanks for being there.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Loser At Work

Someone has pulled flags placed on the trail to identify areas in need of work.

How can you dislike something you don't know anything about?

Leave the flags alone!

Not such a good idea.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Flowers of Munson Hills

Here are the next set of flowers. Some of these my not be blooming right now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Look Closer

Here are a set of photos taken within 10 feet of the trail. Can you help identify any of them? Is that a Prickly Pear Cactus? If so they don't get very big at Munson.