Norm Roller and I meet with Steve Wyatt - RHP Supervisor - today to discuss RHP expansion plans. Washtenaw County Parks (WCP) has nearly completed the design plans for the first phase of expansion of RHP to the north towards Merritt Road. WCP plans to expand the water park, add soccer and baseball fields, a maintenance area, a open-air ampitheater and, most importantly, re-orient the entrance road and create a large loop road. The road will turn north from its current position, cross the open meadow in the NW of the current park and then form a mile (?) long loop to the NW then N, E south of Merritt and S back towards the current entrance road E of the water park. Phase 2 of WCP plans are less clear, but there will still be park space available for development along Merritt...MTB and otherwise. Construction work could start as early as September.
Why does the MTB community care? Looks like we'll loose the last section of the current MTB trail to the new road...no great loss with all that washboard! However, we will be adding a lot of awesome new terrain N of the current trail on the W fence line and then W towards Munger ~ 1/4 mile and N again another ~1/4 mile or so. Although the expanded MTB trail is not yet laid out, there is an old gravel pit, acres of open meadow for high speed trail and the skills park and a surprising amount of wooded area to use. In fact, I was shocked and happy to find several treed sections full of old dirt mounds. When properly and sustainably developed, these sections will be like the current Crater at RHP, but 30 times bigger area!! It seems reasonably clear that we can add 2-3 miles of additional trail in the NW section out to Munger with both single track and the skills park. There should be new trail interesting to all ability levels - flat meadow/prairie, ungulating mounds for novices and the skills park for advanced riders.
We plan to begin laying out the new trail in the fall once the leaves start to fall, the location of the expanded park road is finalized and the current Hewens Creek expansion is completed. After getting an understanding of the drainage in the fall and spring and correcting the trail location as needed, we should be able to start cutting new trail by spring 2011.
One significant RHP MTB trail update planned in the next few months will be a temporary connector to Bemis Road. RHP actually includes the open field to the SE bordering Bemis and Stony Creek Roads. RHP management has given us permission to create a link from the current trail across/around these fields to Bemis Road near the Stony Creek intersection. This link will eliminate the need to ride along Stony Creek with its high speed traffic to reach RHP from Hewens Creek and vice versa. We hope to lay out the connector within a month and complete it by the end of the summer. In the long run, WCP wants to purchase land or get an easement for a direct connection to Hewens Creek straight across Stony Creek. That could be some time off, however, hence the temporary connector.
There will be a lot of work to expand RHP MTB trails especially with the skills park and engineering the trail through the mounded forest sections. Keep an eye on this forum for updates and timing of trail work. Please contact me directly if you are interested in helping with the skills park especially.
Last edited by michael48197
on July 2nd, 2010, 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
RHP Trail Coordinator