SRRTF Director Joan Bouck
Project Places Priority on Non-Motorized Trail Experience for All User Groups
Shortly after its completion in early 2018, local equestrian and SRRTF Board member Joan Bouck noticed that the north end of the Rector Connector Trail near Bell Rock was not suited for equestrian use, even though the trail was open to equestrians, due to the trail's design over rock ledges. Joan also noticed a trend in that some multi-use trail segments, including old ones that are revamped and new construction, fail to achieve a multi-use design. While a very small percentage of the total available trail mileage, this trend was having an outsized impact on the quality of Joan's experience and she was sure she was not alone in this belief.
Joan shared her concerns and before you know it, the SRRTF created a committee for "small project" projects. This committee's purpose is to identify, assess and support small projects to ensure that our local non-motorized trails are suitable and enjoyable to the widest scope of user-types and skill levels. The most obvious small projects examples are: rock armoring that is too tight and thus becomes powdery and slippery…causing users to avoid it and create an alternate line; brushing that prohibits horse passage; and segments of trail that are too steep and are inconsistent with the rest of the trail, causing equestrians/bikers to have to dismount.
"Trail design and construction methods here in Red Rock have evolved and improved SIGNIFICANTLY in the past decade" said SRRTF Director Jen Burns. "The District used to just make trails point A to B, not really even thinking about the user!!
Now a real effort is made to have well designed trails. However, we need to keep pushing the evolution, and not backtrack either. There are quite a few challenges and opportunities I think, to improve the situation" Burns added.
When notified of this effort, RRRD Ranger Nicole Branton stated "taking this proactive approach to addressing how we might have inadvertently built to exclude some users is just another example of the kind of leadership that the SRRTF takes in our community. Not only will it help us be even better (and more inclusive) in the future, but it shows real compassion and professionalism."
The Small Project Committee is tasked with developing a process to create the best and broadest user experience on our non-motorized trails. The process will be limited to small projects on trail segments that fail to achieve a multiuse design. The process shall address:
Currently, this committee consists of SRRTF Directors Joan Bouck, Stephanie Giesbrecht and Jen Burns as well as local trail designer Phil Kincheloe. Since SRRTF committee membership is open to the public other committee members are Marty Glinsky, Pam Milavec, Don Kling and Linda Schermer to make a broad representation of trail users. The SRRTF sought passionate local hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts who would like to make the difference with our local trails to join this committee in its important work.
- The types of small projects the process will serve taking into account the RRRD process of review, to include determination of cultural clearances and necessity of additional planning or assessment, if any.
- How user experience small project needs are identified – preferably crowd sourced – from existing local resources/capabilities.
- How small project needs are accessed on paper and field evaluations are conducted.
- How small project solutions are agreed to, documented and prioritized for the identified need.
- How small project solutions are recommended to the RRRD for work schedule inclusion.