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Synopsis of Trail Use Survey

posted May 22, 2011, 7:34 PM by Beth Hamel
Complete results available at link below!

January 27, 2011 

There is a lot of information in this edition and as always we welcome your feedback. Just hit reply and send me whatever thoughts you have. 

Attention Snowmobilers
Please Do Not Spin Your Tracks In The Areas With Pavement If Your Machine Has Studs!

Also remember - - the trail is open to all approved users all year, please respect walkers, runners, bicyclists, and skiers that you encounter

Observation While Plowing

On Monday this week I spent about 5 hours plowing the trail from around the 5/3 Ball Park to Russell Road. There were quite a few people using the trail including runners, walkers, cyclist, skiers, and one guy I passed just north of 12 Mile Road walking with the WHITE CANE / RED END. I was running late so I could not stop to talk. I have since found out he is out there pretty much daily - - this is another example of why we do what we do – where else could a person with vision limitations have such a safe place to walk – all year.

More New Construction Coming

There is approximately $270,000 left over from the Cadillac to LeRoy paving project. The “Friends” board of directors has decided to use these funds to pave / improve approximately one and one-half miles more south of LeRoy which will clean up a bad situation in the “tunnel” just south of LeRoy. This will result in paving to 14 Mile Road which is the road where there is an exit / entrance off of US 131. Trail users will be able to follow existing paved roads from 14 Mile Road to the paved section of the trail in Reed City. This project is targeted to be finished by Memorial Day.

Washout Area between Belmont & Rockford

Last week there was a meeting regarding the immediate and long term work needed to be done on the area damaged during the storm of Memorial Day last year.

Several of the attendees from the meeting and myself went to the site on the trail after the meeting and discussed the needs onsite.

There were representatives from: Kent County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Technology Management & Budget, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, City of Rockford, Plainfield Township, C2AE Engineering, SME Engineers, and the “Friends”.

There was a major study done by the two engineering firms with the recommended results calling for major work in the area. Considering the financial atmosphere at the current time a decision was made to do culvert and ditch work as soon as possible to prevent water from running over the trail in large quantities creating more problems and possibly eroding the repair work that has been done so far.

Additional work in the area will be done as funding becomes available.

There will be some time in the spring when the trail will be closed in the area to install two new culverts. This will be done as early in the spring as possible and will not likely cause more than a couple of days of interruption in the use of the trail.

Please watch for more updates on the work to be done and avoid this area when it is closed due to the work being done on the trail.

Survey Results

The total in depth results of the survey I sent to you recently have been processed, categorizing the comments, sorted by category and then placed into “Google Docs” so you may view them if you would like.

You may like to comment on the results or you may need explanations regarding the results as presented. Please e-mail me with your requests / comments (again just hit reply to this e-mail).

All comments are shared with you as written in response to the survery, I have not made any corrections.

Here is a link to the results (you may need to create a Google account to open this information)

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AkOgRyvKZpxRdGoyNzhMT2hjSk1Zd2hEZGs0TTRCNmc&authkey=COyY584N&hl=en#gid=0

Below I have shared some significant comments that were received along with the survey. If you do not get a sufficient reply to a question you entered in the survey please contact us and we will reply directly!

Comments & Suggestions From Survey With My Reply

Comment - - Rules of the trail posted periodically.

Reply - - There are no specific rules for trail users that are different from normal State Park rules. There are however laws that do cover trail users and I will cover those that I know of in future e-news.

Comment - - We need to make sure that the State provides adequate funding to repair and resurface the trail and appurtenances when the time comes -- and those times will come. We should not have to depend on gifts and donations to accomplish these basic maintenance and rehabilitation requirements.

Reply - - The funding issue is certainly a complex problem considering the Michigan economy. Here is where you can all help! Contact your STATE LEVEL legislators and strongly request the funding needed for the trail completion, improvements and maintenance. Most people never contact their STATE LEVEL legislators and so they never really know what their constituency wants. Please contact your legislators – it really does help.

Comment - - More organized activities such as biking weekly rides. Possible organized social walks weekly in the summer.

Reply - - Some years ago we did have some organized rides; we discontinued these rides as there was little or no participation. Time have changed and there are lots more people using the trail now, it may be time to try again as we have had a number of suggestions via this survey. If anybody would be willing to facilitate rides / walks - etc. please contact us and we can work together to make this happen!

Comment - - I would like to see additional restrooms or portable toilets

Comment - - More water

Reply - - These issues are the most commented on, and it is a subject of ongoing interest. Whenever we talk to the communities along the trail that are planning additional trail access amenities we relate to them the need for facilities including fresh water. We suggest heated facilities that can be open year around as the trail never closes and the need is there 24/7. Unfortunately the permanent facilities are very expensive so it is not easy for these communities to fund these amenities. We will continue to do what we can which may mean additional port-a-jons.

Comment - - One thing that might be helpful is to pre-publish are calendar or schedule of events. If there are visible cleanup dates then maybe people can pre-plan to be available to help

Comment - - I know this may sound silly but here it is. I think an accurate map of the trail would be rally helpful. All the portions of the trail that are paved should be one color. All the portions of the trail that are not paved should be another color. The map should include major roads like expressways, US Routes and Michigan Routes for reference. It should include all towns and cities on or near the trail . It should include rivers and lakes on or near the trail. When a piece of the trail is paved the map should be updated. The map should have symbols for restrooms , parking, picnic tables/benches and other trail features. A useful map would help people plan their route.

Reply - - We are in the process of updating our website! As everything we do is done by volunteers; this sometimes take a little longer than if the work was being done by a paid staff, unfortunately we do not have a paid staff. We will be adding several pages with listing of the things trail users need, volunteer opportunities, a calendar for events, workdays, and other trail related information. We would very much appreaciate any additional requests / suggestions on the updating of the web site.

Comment - - less Amish using horse and buggy.

Reply - - This is a problem that the local law enforcement officials need to deal with. If you see this problem please call the police and request them to enforce the laws. The Amish have been asked to stop but they continue to break the law.

Comment - - we need 4 programs a year on history, nature, political, trail manners type of subjects

Reply - - We will try to have more programs / presentations, please give us input for specific things, and if you know of someone including yourself that would like to put on something at a meeting please contact us.

E-Newsletter (responses)

Comment - - stories from trail users…

Reply - - We are always happy to get stories / experiences from you - the trail users. Please e-mail your data to us and we will publish it provided there are not controversial items.

Comment - - more timely updates on construction projects along the trail.community news from the towns and villages along the trail.
Reply - - We try to be as timely as possible with the construction projects, unfortunately sometimes we do not get all the information as to things going on in time to publish. We are trying to get the communities from along the trail to feed us data as it is a little hard for use to contact these various communities due to some of them being “part-time” - our new calendar that will be on the web-site should help with community events.


Comment - - A reminder to snowmobilers that the trail is closed at ten. Last year there were snowmobilers racing back and forth till 3am. Thier machines were not quiet. Maybe some more history about the trail. Could give some info about the plants found along the trail.

Reply - - There appears to be a misunderstanding! – The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park does not close at any time to use by approved users unless there is a special circumstance!

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New Magazine Features the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail

The West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition is teaming up with a local company to publish a new magazine about the trails movement and our growing network of multi-use trails. The new West Michigan Trails Magazine has three basic objectives: (1) to inform the public about and build support for the development and growth of our trail system, (2) to promote West Michigan trails as a tourist attraction, and (3) to provide trail users with the most accurate and comprehensive maps and information for all West Michigan Trails.

Obviously, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park is one of the primary trails featured in this full-color, 84-page publication with 10 pages devoted exclusively to our Trail. They are simultaneously publishing a new companion web site with all the trail information and maps. It is currently under development and nearly half of the content is completed. They recently "soft-launched" the web site, which you can view at: www.westmichigantrails.com/

West Michigan Trails Magazine is completely funded through advertising and will be free to the public. They need advertisers so they can actually get this thing printed. Here's where we need your help. If you have a business or know of any business that would like to help promote the White Pine Trail, or benefit from tourism, please give them a call or send them an email. The magazine is being published locally in Rockford by Rockford Advertising. For information, call Rob Pulver at (616) 866-2817 or send him an email at: rpulver@rockfordadvertising.com.
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