Friday, November 18, 2011

Trail Access for Stoner Hill Elementary This Month's Advocacy Event

In attendance: Ken Hawkins, John Gililand, Joel Hooper, Jon Soul, Maurice Loridans, Kathryn Brandl, Loren Demerath, Elizabeth Roselli, Cynthia Keith

Being the second Monday of the month, this was the month's themed meeting. This month's focus: nature trails.

Saturday was the official opening of the Coates Bluff trail for the season. The trail had been freshly cleared of the summer's growth, signs were posted along the trail about various features and trail development notes, and promotional fliers led to a good turnout throughout the morning.

The group discussed how it could host trail tour day in the future with an eye towards a bigger crowd; we could issue press releases in advance, which we didn't do this time. It could be part of a “Best Walks in Shreveport” series.

Jon noted that he was shown the practice of roving interpretation by Rachel from the Caddo Parrish park system.

One of the goal's of the meeting was to decide the advocacy event that would follow in two weeks.

The group talked about possibly making a trail along the “Red River Link” drawn on google maps; it’s a utility easement for (Enterprise Products) EPCO; it was mentioned they may see it as a public relations positive to help make a trail along it. It was noted we could have a conversation with about that possibility. Susan happens to have their contact information having had to deal with them on an issue in the past. (And Loren happily noted that's the kind of resource sharing that makes groups like ABS productive! Here's to connectivity!)

The feature of the trail that would be a most welcome addition involves access to the Stoner Hill Lab Elementary School. The group decided that in two weeks, on Sunday afternoon at 1:00, we will meet at the Montessori School back parking lot and then work to create a trail loop from Stoner Hill Elementary's back gate. It will involve some cleanup and clearing, and all are welcome of any ability.

A secondary task that we might take up if there are enough people is to clear a path on the east side of the bayou to become a bike path heading north. Once that section reaches the “Red River Link” at the level of the back gate to Valencia Park, the trail would turn east towards the river and run along the property line between Riverscape and Coleman's property. It was noted that the easement would mean that the path could likely remain on a meridian even if a road were eventually built along the property line; though it was also hoped one wouldn't be, since it would hurt the natural forest and wildlife habitat which the area currently features.

Jon, Maurice, and Lorne agreed to go out on Friday afternoon and scout the route for the bike path. (Which they did--the forest was beautiful and the terrain for the trail looks promising.)

Next Monday, being the 3rd of the month, will be the monthly ABS board meeting, though non-board members are more than welcome to attend with ideas for ABS, as always!

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