I'm new to this forum, and just joined ICORR so that I could formalize my work and advocacy for the Clear Creek trail system in Coralville, which I've ridden, maintained, run, XC skied, and hiked for over ten years.
I'm on the trails almost every day, either on my bike, or with my Golden Retriever, Chomsky, and have paid my dues with many hours of maintenance (sometimes with my lopper, others with hammers and nails to rebuild bridges in other areas not as actively maintained by ICORR.)
Several critical things:
1. A filp sign (open/closed) should be installed on all trailheads
2. A safety and trail etiquette sign too. (I've seen a number of people - including grown men with kids - riding the trails without helmets. I explained to them that Caroline Found wasn't wearing a helmet either.)
3. Info for ICORR, encouraging donations, etc.
4. Info about how to care for the trails - and more, how to care for the ecosystem - for walkers, hikers, skiers, etc., including removing garlic mustard, removing trash/recyclables, some pics of wildlife they can see (got to be a way to partner with Sierra Club, DNR, Johnson County, and others on this one). Small grant application? Kickstarter?
Once the above is done, and we recruit more members to do the work, we can make a formal proposal for the Coralville City Council to expand the trail system to include the epic (well, charmingly Iowa-epic at least) hills on the other side of Clear Creek, and do it in such a way that the birders won't be upset (if anyone uses the bird blind at all, which they hardly do, because access is difficult (see the paradox here?)), and better, so they will be encouraged because they can walk the trails we build and maintain to give them access to places they'd never venture.
I love birds too, even though I'm often moving pretty fast down those trails. I've seen (more like startled or flushed) an Indigo Bunting, a Great Blue Heron, and a Bald Eagle, all in the same day on those trails. I love, deeply love, those trails and that area, and want it all to be preserved and well cared for, all while giving others more access to the stunning beauty about which 95% of people in the area know little.
(When Halliburton or whomever asserted their their blanket, PERPETUAL easement rights about ten years ago to cut ugly 75-foot wide swaths through the forest for no reason other than the potential need for maintenance so that they could run a so-called "pig" (a probe they run inside the pipe to check for leaks, etc., but no digging required unless anything is detected), and neither the UI nor Coralville could do a thing, I felt like I'd been punched in the face. Nothing like a perpetual blanket easement on public land. Must you destroy 50 foot trees with 2 or 3 foot trunk diameters to protect the land? No way to leave at least a few grand old trees, or would it just cost a bit more to drive around them? I wish I had perpetual rights to control some land that requires protection. I wish I had the rights of a billion-dollar corporation. And I'm not anti-corporate here, as I co-founded and run a social entrepreneurship corporation (open innovation engineering company), as well as a non-profit. Anyway, mini-rant over. Just thought I'd give people a bit of history and perspective.)
And adding just a little bit of vertical to those trails will help me get a bit more of a workout in too. SO much potential in that area. Only if we do it right.
I'm all in.
Anyone with me?
I'll buy you some Great Lakes Brewing Company Dortmunder Gold or Elliott Ness or Burning River Ale or Edmund Fitzgerald or Commodore Perry if you help (and if I can get it).