Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Future of Wilderness Park is in our hands...

... so i got a call back from dave allder at parks & rec. we talked about "the problem," noting specifically the incident this past week between big dave and cornbread, as well as my past experiences running head-on into other cyclists in the park (which has claimed two helmets to-date). we agreed that there is an issue there that needs to be addressed.

i also told dave about a couple of different potential solutions we've discussed.

first, he was not initially too into the concept of building another trail at wilderness (even if we completely handled trail design and construction), citing wildlife encroachment and lack of budget immediately. over the course of our conversation, his tone changed somewhat.

he said that "the problem is that bikers are speed racing through the park." i agreed, but told him that, even if we limited the speed in the park to 10mph (and had the funds to police it), cyclists would still have no more than a split second to react to an oncoming cyclist in more than two dozen corners on the current trail. he said that, while he considers excessive speed as the issue, he has no plan to institute a speed limit, as he lacks funds to enforce it (thank God!).

he is absolutely against bicycles sharing the hiking trail as a solution. i told him that was a solution that we hadn't seriously considered either (even though it's been mentioned more than a few times).

relatedly, he asked me to pass along the word that the fitness loop (northern-most part of wilderness) is off-limits to bikes. he said there have been several hikers who have called into his office after a close call with a cyclist on the fitness loop.

many of you that ride with me often know i've been trying to stay off the fitness loop, but i think dave's plea confirms that we need to be responsible/respectful of the intended use of each trail, and not ride on non-bicycle designated trails.

in the end, dave said that what we need to do is to pull together a cover letter and proposal for potential solutions for he and terry ginrich to review. at that point, we would begin to officially address the problem of cyclists running head-on to eachother in the park.

i'm going to post this on my blog as a headline so that i can get some feedback as to how we go about this the right way... i feel like we're just getting started in a project that we're going to need to band together and fight for if we ever hope to see it come to reality.

your thoughts and suggestions would be much appreciated.

thanks,
mg

18 comments:

gravy said...

Next time you speak with Mr. Adler, you can let him know I've come across stragglers hiking, jogging and moseying along on the bike only paths. I just haven't ever been so uptight to complain about that though.

'look a golden winged ship is passing my way'

And it really didn't have to stop, it just kept on going...

And so castles made of sand slips into the sea, eventually

sda said...

when i was back there a month or so ago i took a spin through the park on the 'cross bike. down towards the southern end, a whole train of goddesses (really, they were so nubile and hot, sweating, huffing and puffing and all that .... oh my god) came running towards me - i've convinced myself it was a group of runners from unl and not some high school cross country team ... anyway, one of the goddesses quickly dropped from goddess status to ignorant tramp status when she told me that "bikes aren't allowed on this side" ... now i've been riding in wilderness park for oh, 18 years or so by my estimation, and i KNOW where i am s'posed to be and where i'm not s'posed to be. so i turned my bike around, caught up with her and laid into her. after telling her the history of how the "hiker side" and "bike side" came to be (THANKS MOD!!!) she relented. i didn't go as far as telling them that they weren't s'posed to be there (who am i to chase off hottie runners from the bike side?) but they definately understood the deal after that.

just goes to show that all users need to be educated on protocol in the park.

~daverill

mg said...

dave understands that it goes both ways, but you're right -- the squeaky wheel gets greased. those who complain get results... that's why i'm raising my voice to him now. we just have to do it in such a way that we don't do anything to damage our current access to the park.

i'm all for nubile hotties running on the trail, but sadly, if you really look at the trail (the wear patterns), it's pretty clear that cyclists poach the hiker side way more than hikers poach our trail...

3p0 said...
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3p0 said...
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sda said...

who are you kidding CVO, you know as well as i do that butt darts is one of your favorite games. heheh.

but by all means, please, rant away ...

~daverill

John Jr. said...

First off, I appreciate the efforts of MG and everyone else that is leading the charge with re: to Wilderness Park. Here is my $.02...

1. Dave Allder is our friend and we should to continue to show himk the respect that MG and others have extended.
2. If we need to stay out of the Fitness Loop...do it. Breaking this rule will make any efforts by MG and others moot.
3. We need to get THOR involved in this effort. Rusty can provide direction and counsel to supplement our local effort.
4. Let's schedule a fundraiser for Wilderness...get the PR machine rolling, draw attention to the concern we have for safety in the park...include a ride, trail clean-up and BBQ to follow. ALL of the local bike shops want to be involved with this...I can lend my "talents" to the event. I am willing to call Terry Genrich et al and discuss the idea. Our festivities could include unveiling some new signage (THOR funds?), casual ride through the park STRESSING the start and finish points along the trail as well as areas that are off-limits, etc. This type of event will require a COMMUNITY effort.

I am willing to help in any way I can...press releases, radio coverage, etc.

Keep me in the loop (no pun intended).

I've got to get going...I am meeting my date in the park at 4:30pm. SUUUUUUUUUUPER BUDDY!

3p0 said...

I need to remember lots of peeps read this,

and lots of peeps due to all these blogs know me,

I'd better remember to take the high road and be a public and cyclist leader.

instead of a pirate.

but I do love ranting.

Beerorkid said...

The lack of sinage is an issue. The silly posts with the stickers don't seem to be all that effective. Cool ones like the ones in platte (wooden) would be nice.

I hit the fit loop and know I am being a bad biker by doing so. That will end. I usually take the alternative danger bridge on the way back. The old trail. Is that hiker? See I have no clue, those signs don't help me much.

I think of all the times I rode with my shuffle blasting and wonder why I have been so lucky.

Maybe we can all pitch in and get some incredibells wholesale and give them out at the proposed fundraiser?

doing some kind of fundraiser would be an awesome idea.

The jamacia north trail might come up. It is supposed to run on the east side of the park. It will be nice, but I would rather ride back on the dirt.

ding, ding, ding

debaser said...

"I feel like we're just getting started in a project that we're going to need to band together and fight for if we ever hope to see it come to reality." - MG

SUPER important part of working with the government. Come in with a clear and concise plan as a large user group.

rockd said...

If I can be of any help in moveing this cause forward, let me know. I do have a working realtionship with Terry and Lynn at parks and rec and would be comfortable talking to them about this.

mg said...

i totally missed your comments cvo... bummer 'eh?

lefler, i like your ideas. that fundraiser is a great idea! i think that before we speak to terry or anyone else at parks & rec, we include the fundraiser as part of the proposal we submit to them. we need for this proposal to address as many of the potential roadblocks (that we can forsee) they may throw in our faces -- one biggie being funding (or lack thereof).

i think both rusty and jp can be very valuable assets to us here. one thing dave a. mentioned was possibly mapping out a suggested return route (a rough, of course) on an actual map. due to the concerns for wildlife encroachment, i think we need to stick close to the existing bike trail, but obviously on a seperate path. I need to get a map of the park, but perhaps JP and I could sit down and chart out something like that.

thanks again for all the thoughts.
mg

John Jr. said...

I would recommend getting on Google Earth and printing off the maps. It works very well...

gravy said...

Yeah, or look at Roca and Denton topos. Not sure if there have been any recent ones made though.

mM said...

Every time I try to make one of these a hyperlink it doesn't work, so you'll just have to type it yourself. It'll take you to the City's GIS page for Wilderness, and you can enter whatever mapping parameters you want.

http://ims.lincoln.ne.gov/isa/wp_env/

Endurosnob said...

Writing proposals and "closing deals" is what I do everyday. It's not really clear from reading through this who's handling the structure of the initial cover letter and proposal, but if you'd like a trained set of eyes on it, please let me know. I am always willing to work this if it's not already in someone's hands.

One of the key things to keep in mind is that having a great plan for the physical loop is really only half the battle. If we can determine, via networking, like Matt has done, the kinds of issues the end decision makers will find most important on this, the more you can build a proposal around those ideas, answer objections before they come up, and have a better this goes through.

I don't know how close government dealings mirror the corporate world, but that's the way I would approach it. Hope it helps.

RustyC said...

Hi guys, good to see everyone rallying around a cause again. Of course I am willing to lend a hand where I can. My advice is to approach a government entity as a "giver" and not a "taker". Figure out what we have to offer. Also consulting with IMBA and it's resources on the web would be time well spent. How many riders there are "dues paying" members of a trail club? Numbers speak loudly to a government agency.

Sasquatch said...

Hey guys. Enjoy the blog and Wilderness. I make maps. For a living. I can get aerial photos and probably most data you would need. I also have access to GPS. If I can be of help, let me know.
T