Poto: Rolling Hills Park

For posting trail-specific conditions and problems

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby michael48197 » April 18th, 2011, 1:26 pm

With today's snowy weather and predictions of wet weather for the next 2-3 days at least, I would wait until Friday, perhaps Saturday. If it's sunnier, windier and drier than predicted, then Friday is probably OK. If any areas are muddy, please get off and walk. Contrary to your intuition, walking down the middle of the trail through the mud is preferred as walking/riding along the edge only widens the trail. I know that the short quick,twisty uphill at ~1.8 miles (after crossing the gravel road) tends to be quite slippery...please walk here instead of spinning out your rear tire which accelerates erosion. Similarly, the uphill on the section just before the bluff over the pond at ~1.4 miles can also be slippery...walking is better...staying off it in the wet is best. At this time of year, patience is critical for the trails. Getting on them too early can cause problems for the whole year. The basic rule is give the trails 24 hours to dry from the last soaking rain. In the summer, the foliage and heat dry out the ground pretty quick, but without the greenery to suck up the H2O, drying can be slow in the spring and fall.

Remember there's always the dirt roads in nearby Ypsi, Pittsfield and York Townships. I can ride ~18 miles from my house near Textile and Whitaker covering ~13 miles on dirt roads.
Michael Connolly
RHP Trail Coordinator
michael48197
 
Posts: 448
Joined: June 1st, 2004, 3:12 pm
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby dnale » April 19th, 2011, 7:44 pm

Wow you are right up the road from me, I'm off Whitaker between Merrit and Martz.
dnale
 
Posts: 220
Joined: April 19th, 2004, 7:58 am
Location: South Lyon

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby parttime » April 19th, 2011, 8:26 pm

mcrawfor wrote:Hey. Just joined and this is my first post. Hit the trail earlier today and everything looks great. How do I access from the Bemis road connection? I drove down Bemis, but it looked like the gates were all closed and there was not any parking available. Any direction you could give to this MTB newb would be great. Thanks.


If you're driving in, your best bet is parking at Rolling Hills or Hewen's Creek. Unfortunately there is no parking at the Bemis connector, which is right at the intersection of Bemis and Stony Creek roads. It is not signed nor is the trail worn at the edge of the road, but if you look about ten feet in from the road, you will see some orange flags marking the path back towards the park. The connector is there to limit the amount of riding on Stony Creek road, if you're riding into the park from Hewen's Creek or another location. Glad you enjoyed the trail!
parttime
 
Posts: 170
Joined: June 9th, 2008, 6:59 pm
Location: Ypsi

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park trail conditions

Postby podo » April 21st, 2011, 4:08 pm

Rode Rolling Hills last week and trail is clear and dry. Couple of soft spots, but not muddy.
podo
 
Posts: 4
Joined: November 22nd, 2007, 11:14 am

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby ADDam » April 23rd, 2011, 10:59 pm

Click for Bigger:

Ignore the mile ticks, they actually start at my house.
Image
Adam G
ADDam
 
Posts: 181
Joined: June 5th, 2008, 7:32 pm
Location: Ypsilanti

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby michael48197 » April 24th, 2011, 8:23 pm

Thanks for posting the currrent trail profile, Adam.

I've attached a more detailed one along with some of the many new updates coming at RHP this year. Here's the game plan for RHP in 2011:

1. SE Meadow-Outer Loop: add ~1 mile of trail around the perimeter (see the attached map) to join with the Bemis Road Connector. Final details could be approved this week and we may get started with some rototilling work as early as next weekend. Work will be completed this spring.
2. West Fence Line: extend the current trail ~200 yards to the NW corner of the current paved path. Doing so will help avoid the current confusion regarding the old finish on the grass greenway. Work will be completed by late spring.
3. Updated Finish: add a short ~200 yard East-West section parallel to the E-W section of the paved path through the treeline. Work should start by late spring/early summer pending removal of the old wire fencing.
4. NW Extension: after completion of the the trail layout this spring and getting RHP approval, add 1.5-1.8 miles of new single track through the NW meadows, into the woods in the far NW along Munger (lots so mounds akin to The Crater in this area) and around the old gravel pit. Work should start by mid to late summer and finish in the fall.
5. SE Meadow-Inner Loops: add 3-4 inner loops in the SE meadow to add ~1/2 mile more meandering trail. Work should start in the fall.
6. Skills and Trials Parks: RHP management is willing to work with the MMBA to make this happen. However, the MTB community interested in these features needs to step up to help. I have had many contacts showing interest in working on building a Skills Park, but no one has really jumped in to lead the work. The key MMBA personnel involved at RHP - myself and Norm Roller - don't know a lot about researching, designing and building such features. So, without additional community support, it's likely that work on the Skills and Trials Parks will be postponed to 2012 so we can focus on the trail extension work noted above. If you are interested in helping lead this project, let me know and we can discuss how/when/where to make it happen.

If all goes well, we should be able to add 3-3.5 miles of new trail this year to bring RHP to 6.2-6.7 miles. In combination with the 5.5 miles at nearby Hewens Creek Park, there should be 12-13 miles of single track in Ypsi Township by the end of the year. So, keep an eye on this board, the MMBA-Poto Yahoo group and the Volunteers Needed forum for notices on RHP trail work. Hope to see you out there this year.

Image
Michael Connolly
RHP Trail Coordinator
michael48197
 
Posts: 448
Joined: June 1st, 2004, 3:12 pm
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby deezler » April 25th, 2011, 10:01 am

Awesome, thanks for the update Michael.

Couple comments, feel free to ignore.

1. The SE meadow loop. How feasible is it to ride the edges of the meadow to bring some trees in play? I.E. winding in an out of the tree line at the south side along Bemis rd, or the small line that juts into the meadow from the north side ? Seems like that would be much more interesting than barren field. Plus making trail in shady areas allows faster conversion to hardpack trail vs. slogging through resilient grasses, no?

Speaking of the meadow, what is the park's plan for vegetation growth? Will they mow it once or twice a year, or allow smaller trees to start growing in (akin to the Hewen's creek situation) ? Personally, when I saw that RHP had acquired so much new land, I was very eager for them to allow much of it to return to native forest, within which many more miles of awesome trail (and not just for MTB) could be built. Frankly I was extremely disappointed to then see the Ann Arbor.com news article showing the RHP master plan that basically creates artificial man-made structures and landscapes over almost ALL of the newly acquired land. Does not seem responsible in terms of natural preservation to me whatsoever. ( A golf course? Seriously? )And how about that ghastly fence separating the meadow from the older RHP boundary? Surely that can be removed and allow further flexibility in trail creation on what would otherwise be never-used land. (for instance, around the current first "grassy knoll" area before the connector trail and bridge). Just thinking out loud here.

2. Have only ridden your trail once (loved it, BTW, great work). But when I came to the NW corner, there was a line across the paved trail indicating it was closed, so naturally we took the grass path back around the DGC to finish. So I was supposed to ride around this sign and take the paved loop back around anyway?

In any case, excited to see changes / expansion of the trail.
deezler
 
Posts: 282
Joined: April 9th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Location: Ypsilanti

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby michael48197 » April 25th, 2011, 1:31 pm

Thanks for your input, Deezler. My thoughts are on the SE meadow are:

1. West Treeline: I've already planned to put a small section of the perimeter trail through the woods on the N-S segment in the NW corner of the meadow. In the long run, RHP management plans to remove the tall chain link fence separating the meadow from the woods, but that won't be soon. So, given that the trail already abutts the fence on the W side after the first grassy knoll, there's no point in trying to cut through the chain link fence in that area. However, there is a shorter wire fence that runs along the N-S segment of the meadow N of the grassy knoll towards the entrance road and parallel to the 'out' segment of the MTB trail. We have gotten approval to remove two sections of this wire fence to run the meadow trail into the edge of the woods ajoining the grassy knoll and uphill of the 'out' section and then back into the meadow near the 'S-Bend' on the 'out' segment. I hope that make sense...I didn't put this part in on the diagram above, however.
2. Northern Treeline and the "Finger" of Trees to the N: RHP management wants to maintain the treeline boundary between the entrance road and the meadow. There's not much woods with which to work and thinning the undergrowth for riding will almost completely open up the sight line from the entrance road to the meadow. Also, there's currently quite a bit of construction 'stuff' in this area and plans to expand the maintenance area which precludes our access.
3. Southern Treeline Boundary: As with the northern edge, RHP wants to maintain the Bemis Road boundary and thinning the treeline for riding will again up it up too much. In the SW corner of the meadow, the ground is low lying and near the creek so it's just too wet to use either on the southern Bemis boundary or the N-S section south of the current Bemis Connector.
4. Meadow Grasses: With the relatively low traffic at RHP, the meadow will never pack out for good riding as we have already seen with the Bemis Connector. Also, the old farming furrows are even worse than with the Connector in other parts of the meadow. The plan will be to use a large rototiller to churn up the grass and topsoil and then pack down manually or with a compactor for smoother riding.
5. Long Range Plans: RHP management has stressed to MMBA-Poto that the SE meadow trail may be temporary. We'll see if the meadow becomes a new visitor center or not. There have already been several plans for this area which have been scrapped for one reason or another. If we put a trail out there, I'm guessing users will like access to the open meadow and spring/summer flowers and want to keep it as such. Right now, it's mowed 2X per year, but I'd like to see that reduced to 1X in the fall. While we might want the meadow to regrow as with Hewens, I don't see that happening.
6. Trail Finish: Sorry about the confusion. The current 'official' finish is indicated in my diagram from April 24. I just haven't had time to make new laminated signs indicating the trail finishes on the paved path instead of the grass lane. Once the west fence line trail is extended north ~200 yards, this issue will go away. Even if one does go down the E-W grass lane, riders can turn right on to a short N-S grass lane parallel to a disc golf hole and end up on the entrance road just W of the trail head parking lot.

Hope these comments are helpful. Contact me privately with your contact info if you like so I can put you on my RHP mailing list.
Michael Connolly
RHP Trail Coordinator
michael48197
 
Posts: 448
Joined: June 1st, 2004, 3:12 pm
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby michael48197 » April 27th, 2011, 9:44 am

It finally looks like the weather will be pretty good this weekend. I am eager to get started on the many improvements planned for this year at RHP. However, we're still awaiting final approval from RHP management on the plan for the SE meadow extension which might come over the next few days. Since we need to rent and transport a large rototiller to RHP which isn't guarenteed since the rototiller rental is on a first-come, first-served basis, the SE meadow work may have to wait a week or two.

So, I'm planning our first work day for this Saturday 4/30 starting at 9 AM and meeting in the trail head parking lot. Given the points above, we will first focus on extending the west fence line area ~200 yards northward towards the NW corner of the paved path. Doing so will avoid the current confusion regarding the old finish on the grass lane which is now blocked by construction. Please come out to help if you are available. Look for my car with the MMBA sign in the parking lot. If no one is there, look for us out along the west fence line. With a good crew, we should be able to complete this section in one day.
Michael Connolly
RHP Trail Coordinator
michael48197
 
Posts: 448
Joined: June 1st, 2004, 3:12 pm
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby dnale » April 30th, 2011, 8:42 pm

I know I missed the work day out there today but I rode it yesterday. Trail was decent at least I thought. Took a few branches off the trail. Hopefully those winds will have everything down that possible to come down. Did see a mom and two kids out there. The one kid had a shovel and looks like he dug a couple holes in the trail. Don't know if those will affect the trail. I'm sure you guys saw them.
dnale
 
Posts: 220
Joined: April 19th, 2004, 7:58 am
Location: South Lyon

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby michael48197 » May 1st, 2011, 8:45 am

Didn't see the Mom and kids. Where did they dig up the trail? Pretty irresponsible for a parent to let their kids do that. I'll fix it if you remember where the hole is located.

There was a pretty good turnout for the trail day yesterday. The crew of six was able to complete the section on the west fence line and extend the trail about 200 yards N to the NW corner of the paved path. The trail surface is very soft, loamy and SLOW, but if riders remember, the whole trail was that way at RHP when we started. It will pack down quite quickly I'm sure. I probably need to run a mower over this sectoin in a few places to really cut down the grasses and few remaining small bits of growth. I'll try to do so by next weekend...if the rain let's up.

I did finally get agreement with RHP management on the plan for the SE meadow. I reflagged the trail on the E side to stay away from the homes along Stony Creek Road. If you feel like punishing yourself over the bumps and furrows of the SE meadow, feel free to ride the perimeter "trail" by following the flags. Again, if the weather holds next weekend, I'd like to get started on rototilling and compacting the grassy meadow surface to make for a smooth, fast ride. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we can complete this perimeter trail and add another fast mile to the trail.

Keep an eye to this forum and the Poto group page for notification of future trail days.
Michael Connolly
RHP Trail Coordinator
michael48197
 
Posts: 448
Joined: June 1st, 2004, 3:12 pm
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby dnale » May 4th, 2011, 8:21 pm

Rode it tonight. I like the "extension" you guys did last weekend. It will only getter better. Glad to see it wasn't just me going slow but that that part of the trail is slow. I finally felt like I was carrying some speed this ride as compared to my previous two rides.
dnale
 
Posts: 220
Joined: April 19th, 2004, 7:58 am
Location: South Lyon

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby michael48197 » May 7th, 2011, 4:12 pm

The SE meadow perimeter "trail" is now officially open for riding. I mowed the 1 mile loop this morning. If the weather had been predicted to be as nice as it was this AM, I would have planned another trail day to actually till the soil and smooth out the surface. As it is, I only mowed it since I thought it was going to rain today. So, feel free to ride the loop if you like. Be forwarded that it's very slow and bumpy for now, but it does add some distance. If the weather is good next weekend, maybe I'll plan a work day to start working the trail surface into something more rideable. In the fall, I plan to add 4 "inner" loops as well.
Michael Connolly
RHP Trail Coordinator
michael48197
 
Posts: 448
Joined: June 1st, 2004, 3:12 pm
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby dnale » May 22nd, 2011, 11:06 am

Rode it again this morning. The connector trail is looking good. The grasses have really grown but it's a decent single track back to the regular trail. I didn't take the rest of the perimeter trail but it looks like it hasn't had much use. The rest of the trail looked good. Couple of kinda wet spots but not bad. I found a tick on me when I got back to the car. I'm guessing I probably picked it up in the tall grasses of the connector trail. So make sure you are checking yourselves post ride and taking some precautions pre-ride.
dnale
 
Posts: 220
Joined: April 19th, 2004, 7:58 am
Location: South Lyon

Re: Poto: Rolling Hills Park

Postby michael48197 » May 24th, 2011, 5:26 am

I'm planning to mow the SE meadow perimeter trail again this weekend. It's nice to have the extra mileage, but trails in open fields can be a lot of maintenance. Once we get a chance to rototill the surface, the grass won't be such an issue. RHP management plan to mow the SE 2x per year in mid-June and late summer/early fall.

My work schedule and personal life have been extremely busy of late. So, I regret it has taken so long to get the meadow trail rototilled. Hopefully, we can get to it in the next 2-3 weeks.
Michael Connolly
RHP Trail Coordinator
michael48197
 
Posts: 448
Joined: June 1st, 2004, 3:12 pm
Location: Ypsilanti, MI

PreviousNext

Return to Trail Conditions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Feedfetcher and 7 guests