It was a pretty good start with a good mix of participants - bikers, hikers, kayakers, balloonists, scuba divers, neighbors, ...
This was really an introductory meeting, with the park staff gauging interest in a friends group and sharing what others have done in this area. Attendees shared their interests and experiences. This is a very large park - 4000 acres - and very loved. The park is interested in having a united voice for users, an advocacy group who can apply for grants that the state cannot (playground equipment was cited as an example), and as a means to accomplish things that the staff is simply unable to during the brief summer months. Some ideas bounced around:
- ADA capable boat launches on river (there are currently 11 launch sites on river and lake)
- Placards and signage for historical interest (this was recruitment camp for national guard during spanish-american war) Large amount of historical material collected, no way to share it today.
- Creating a friends facebook and website presence for park-specific information
- New separate hiking/running trails (lots of shared traffic today)
Some of the participants raised concerns about fracking and the impact this may have on the area (the entire park was recently leased).
Next steps: get organized. Look at other friend organizations, decide on plan. Decided that we wanted one friends group rather than fracturing into several as happened at other parks. Get together for another meeting at a date TBD in a month or so.
DNR has a cookbook available at http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-15 ... --,00.html