Waterloo Working Group (WWG) Update
The Waterloo Working Group met for the first time on September 26, 2012. At this time, the Group defined three (3) Segments of Waterloo Recreation Area and one (1) Segment of Pinckney Recreation Area for a feasibility study to assess the potential for new bike/foot use nonmotorized trail in these Segments. The Segments were defined as Waterloo West (map area approx. West of Mount Hope Road/South of Big Portage Lake), Waterloo Middle (map area approx. East of Mount Hope to approx. Loveland Road), Waterloo East (Loveland Road to M-52) and Pinckney West (M-52 to the Potawatomi Trail). A Segment Sub-Group (SSG) was defined for each of these Segments and accompanying maps were identified (and posted to Dropbox). SSG “Organizers/Leaders” were chosen and there was a sign-up for each Segment for “Members/Volunteers”. Each SSG Organizer’s job will be to facilitate communication with the Volunteers for each section and organize data collected by Volunteers to identify potential new trail corridors within that segment. This identification process will consist of a Desk Review process, wherein potential corridors are identified on maps, and a Field Review process wherein these potential corridors are validated by physically walking the sections. Field Review will culminate in GPS mapping and supporting photographs to support each trail corridor idea. This information will be brought together after Field Review is completed with an SSG meeting to be called by the SSG Organizer sometime in December 2012. At this point, data will be collected and corridors will be identified on a map for presentation at a WWG meeting-of-the-whole in January 2013. Identified trail corridors and plans for each SSG will then be compiled and a Report will be put together for a comprehensive new trail plan which will be presented to MDNR Parks and Recreation by March 31, 2013.
UPDATE OCTOBER 9, 2012
At this point, SSG Organizers should have had some communication with their SSG volunteers about their game plan. Identification of potential trail corridors on maps (Desk Review) should be coming to a close. SSG Organizers and Volunteers should have solid ideas about potential corridors to be explored during Field Review. The leaves will be coming down soon and Field Review and there will be a limited time frame to take GPS units and cameras out to map and document terrain. With that said, here are some notes and additional guidance on the Field Review process, which is really the whole “meat” and purpose of the WWG.
Field Review Process
It is critical to this process to walk and GPS map corridors. This will allow us to separate fantasy from reality in putting the actual proposed trail route together. Memo to SSG Organizers – find Volunteers with GPS units or cell phones. Ideally, it is best to use a GPS unit that has a color screen with high sensitivity GPS and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery so you can see were you are at while you are out there mapping. Many mountain bikers already have Garmin units, although many don’t have a visual map with high level detail so you can see where you are as you are mapping, so use of these units is o.k. but not ideal. An o.k. choice is also to use a GPS enabled smart phone with an App like Strava if you don’t have a GPS unit. SSG ORGANIZERS: YOU CANNOT HAVE TOO MANY VOLUNTEER WALKERS WITH GPS UNITS!! Enlist as many folks as you can. Get them a GPS, tell them approximately where to walk, and let them have at it. When they finish, get their uploaded data and have a brief phone or email discussion with them about what they saw on their route. If you are reading this and are not already a Volunteer walker/mapper – please consider doing this and get in touch with a SSG Organizer for an area to walk/map.
Take several pictures of the trail corridors you are identifying. Pay special attention to take pictures of interesting control points (point where you want the trail to go for a variety of reasons ranging from scenic views to infrastructure, etc.), as well as, areas that may be a potential problem for trail routing (i.e. a low, wet area or a ridge that may require significant bench cutting).
When mapping, be aware that there are several hunting seasons going on right now, most notably, bow deer season. The only season that you really need mind is Regular Firearms deer season which runs from November 15th through 30th. If concerned about this, it is best to not do your mapping during dusk and dawn hours. Also, always remember to wear something with Hunter Orange, or, at least some form of Day-Glo coloring.
What are you talking about? Where can I find “x”?
Detailed Plan info, Maps, Resources and SSG Contact Info can be found at:
Please peruse the information on this Dropbox folder before contacting me or asking me additional questions. I don’t mind answering questions, but have limited time to address emails and phone calls, so I try to put all relevant info on Dropbox and try to type overly verbose documents like this to nip any questions in the bud.
Thoughts on Trail Opportunites As We Stand
In speaking with some WWG members, due to feasibility limitations created by ownership boundaries, management zones, topography and other issues – it appears that a concept may be coming together to propose a new “Chain Link” style trail layout, wherein each Segment (as defined above) could have a smaller loop of 5 to 7 miles. These loops would “touch at one point”, connecting them. Think of a series of figure 8’s connecting. While many are familiar with the concept of “nested loops” where there are a couple or several loops of varying distances and difficulties inside of each other, Chain Loops would be somewhat different. A user could bite off one, or multiple loops by chaining one, two, three or four of them together. While Chain Loop Trail wouldn’t provide the same level of optionality that a nested loop trail would provide, it is more versatile and easier to work with than one “big loop” and would allow the trail to get better use of space than a nested loop system.