E-News Archives

 

Below you will find archives of our E-Newsletters.  We will keep the archives for approximately 6 months in the past.

New Park Manager, Work Day, and Asphalt Repair

posted Sep 12, 2011, 10:06 AM by Beth Hamel

June 22, 2011
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New Park Manager

The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park is managed by the manager of the Mitchell State Park in Cadillac.  There is a newly placed person doing this job and his name is Chris Stark.  Welcome Chris; we are looking forward to working together!

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Asphalt Repair

Repairs were made yesterday to the asphalt that was damaged as a result of the 2010 Memorial Day Storm.

We are fortunate to have the fine work of the Kent County Road Commission on the trail as this work is done at a very reasonable rate along with a high level of expertise; with the excellent personel!  After watching these folks work I am happy to be retired and not doing that job on a hot day!

There are still areas that may need to be addressed at a later date as funds become available.  The main problem areas have been fixed for now.

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Workday this Saturday

Saturday June 25th 2011

8:00 am to 11:00 am

Work to be done:  Shoring up some trail shoulders and patching tar by the bridge North of Rockford overlook.  Some shoveling, retaining boards, trimming, erosion control, and tar patching.

No experience necessary.

Bring gloves, water, most tools will be provided.

Park at the 12 Mile lot

Questions?  Contact Tony Stachowiak

    Call at 616-690-3339

    E-Mail astachow@comcast.net

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Snowmobile Damage To Asphalt

The executive director of the Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA) Bill Manson, “Friends” board member Rex Houseman and I have made a couple of trips up north to look over the results of last winter’s snowmobile impact on the paved sections of the trail from Big Rapids north to Cadillac.

There are several severely damaged areas just south of Cadillac and a couple of areas at bridge approaches north of Big Rapids.  These areas will be repaired soon~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Website

If you have not checked it out please take a look at our re-designed website; it is up and running - check it out and give us feedback.  We need your input!

Website address - - - www.whitepinetrail.com

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Relay Run 

The upcoming relay run will benefit the “Friends” and we would appreciate your help if you are so inclined. 

      Volunteer are always needed!

Volunteers are the heart and sole (pun intended) of an event and can make or break it's success. Many long distance require teams to supply one or two volunteers. We are not going to do that, at least for the first year. But don't let that stop you from bringing some one that wants to help. We can put them to work and accommodate any scheduling issues they may have.

We have opportunities for volunteers on Friday at Riverside Park beginning early (yawn!) in the morning and at switch areas along the trail for Friday and Saturday, and at the finish line. We are working on an exact volunteer positions and will have a schedule out soon.

If you want to volunteer, please e-mail Sylvia.

Website for the run  http://www.fredmeijerwhitepinetrail200.com

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Thanks again for your support!  The "Friends" can not function without your support!

Meeting Tomorrow and More

posted Sep 12, 2011, 9:59 AM by Beth Hamel

June 7, 2011
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Regular Meeting

Tomorrow is our regular monthly meeting!  Location - Sand Lake Public Library. 

Time - 7:00 pm

I hope to see you there

Please note!  We do not have a regular monthly meeting in July!

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Website

If you have not checked it out please take a look at our re-designed website; it is up and running - check it out and give us feedback.  We need your input!

Website address - - - www.whitepinetrail.com

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Facebook Page

Our Facebook Page has been up and running for several months now!  If you do the Facebook thing please “like” our Facebook Page!  This is a great way to keep up to date on the trail and special conditions.  If you find a problem - please post it on Facebook - it lets us and others know that there is a problem so it can get addressed quickly and other trail users can choose to avoid the problem area if necessary.

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Water Damage Up North - - Update

In the north area in the newly paved area there has been a wash-out due to beavers and a culvert failure.

Some of the work has been done and the patching of the asphalt is comming.

 

Please be carefull in workareas!

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I received the following note today and thought it was worth sending out along with this e-news as it is the kind of thing that could happen on our trail!

 

Following is a summary of a recent accident. Midland City, County and Isabella County are aware and taking corrective actions. Steve’s Learning comments are well worth remembering.

Person on normal road bike hit mound of asphalt and his handle bars turned 90 degrees. He went over his handle bars and his bike shot towards me. The bike hit me on left side face, arm, and hip. I was wearing a helmet. I went unconscious. The rest of the story comes from the tandem following us [Lynn and Kathy Tooman]. We ended up in the ditch. Me face down, Sue under bike. I broke left cheek bone, 2 fingers and thumb on left hand, left rib, a lot of bruises on left arm and hip. Called 911, first responders did a good job; ambulance ride to Midland ER. Face fractures too complicated for Midland; so transfer to Ann Arbor ER. Then to the ICU. In the 2 weeks since the accident, the face fractures swelling has gone down and doctor says I do not need surgery as my eye is in the right place [no double vision.] I had surgery on the left hand to fix little finger and thumb. The ring finger should heel in the right position. I have not been back to work yet.

The maintenance needed is to remove the bumps caused by the plants growing up through the pavement. [between mile 21 and 22 I think]

The learning for me is that the plant growing through the pavement is more of a hazard than I had thought. Both bikes naturally moved a little to the right when meeting an on coming rider. This put us more to the edge of the trail where the plants are a problem. My opinion is that this is a rare occurrence, but eliminating the danger is good so that no one has a similar accident.

Dave Waite

Vice President, Friends of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail

 

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Relay Run 

The upcoming relay run will benefit the “Friends” and we would appreciate your help if you are so inclined. 

      Volunteer are always needed!

Volunteers are the heart and sole (pun intended) of an event and can make or break it's success. Many long distance require teams to supply one or two volunteers. We are not going to do that, at least for the first year. But don't let that stop you from bringing some one that wants to help. We can put them to work and accommodate any scheduling issues they may have.

We have opportunities for volunteers on Friday at Riverside Park beginning early (yawn!) in the morning and at switch areas along the trail for Friday and Saturday, and at the finish line. We are working on an exact volunteer positions and will have a schedule out soon.

If you want to volunteer, please e-mail Sylvia.

Website for the run  http://www.fredmeijerwhitepinetrail200.com 

You may also call Doug Bostian at  616-890-5978

 

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Bridge Run

The “Friends” is one of the organizations that will receive some of the proceeds from the Bridge Run this year - Thanks!

If you should like to volunteer please contact volunteer@rungr.com.

The website is - - http://www.rungr.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=15

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Thanks again for your support!  The "Friends" can not function without your support!

Newly Re-designed Website and Much More

posted Sep 12, 2011, 9:54 AM by Beth Hamel   [ updated Sep 12, 2011, 10:21 AM ]

June 2, 2011

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Website

Our re-designed website is up and running - check it out and give us feedback.  We need your input!

www.whitepinetrail.com

 

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Water Damage Up North - - Update

In the north area in the newly paved area there has been a wash-out due to beavers and a culvert failure.

Plans are to fix this area as soon as the weather permits.

 

Please be carefull in workareas!

 

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Membership News 

Congratulations to all of you who are not “paid” members and receive this e-news!  You are now an “Associate” Member.  The difference is that “paid” members will be getting the printed newsletter and you “Associate” members will not get the printed newsletter.

 

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Cedar Springs Clean-up 

The annual spring clean-up done by the Cedar Springs 7th grade took place on Friday May 28.  The weather was great.  The school bused half the class to the Russell Road staging area and half to 18 mile road.  The young people the cleaned the trail into town and met at the park, then cleaned the park. 

Thanks again for all the work you folks did! 

 

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Fence Project  

We have finally finished the new section of split rail fence located just north of the 5th / 3rd Ball Park!  The original plan was to install this nearly 400 feet of fence on the “Comcast Cares” workday. 

Unfortunately there was a lot of rubble buried where we were planting the fence.  Drilling the holes with the post hole digger on the tractor normally goes really quick.  We found out there was broken asphalt, broken concrete, bricks, cement blocks, rocks, wire and cable!  I think we broke between 16 and 20 shear bolts in the post hole digger!

 

Thanks to the Comcast folks, and our volunteers, George Dorset, Len Kizer, Ted VanVels, Tony Stachowiak, Eric Jahnke, and Tyler Fairchild.  You guys did a great job - in spite of the conditions! 

 

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 Snakes 

We have had reports of rattle snakes on or near the trail in the area of the overlook north of Rockford!  Please remember that wildlife is not to be disturbed or interfered with on the park property and especially the rattle snakes.  If you see a snake just leave it alone.  Here is a picture of a rattle snake you could encounter on or near the trail. 

 

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Poem - - By Gail Brophy 

The White Pine Trail is a dream come true, As nature presents her beauty to you. 

For so many people it's just what we need, Want to walk? To run? Go biking? Yes, indeed! 

No traffic to bother, no cars whizzing by, Just nice, friendly people, with a smile and a "Hi!" 

Each season presents a feast for the eyes, Wild flowers, spring blossoms, even cactus - a surprise! 

It's nicely maintained by a volunteer crew, And to all of those workers, we say, "THANK YOU!" 

Thanks Gail

 

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Relay Run 

The upcoming relay run will benefit the “Friends” and we would appreciate your help if you are so inclined. 

      Volunteer are always needed!

Volunteers are the heart and sole (pun intended) of an event and can make or break it's success. Many long distance require teams to supply one or two volunteers. We are not going to do that, at least for the first year. But don't let that stop you from bringing some one that wants to help. We can put them to work and accommodate any scheduling issues they may have.

We have opportunities for volunteers on Friday at Riverside Park beginning early (yawn!) in the morning and at switch areas along the trail for Friday and Saturday, and at the finish line. We are working on an exact volunteer positions and will have a schedule out soon.

If you want to volunteer, please e-mail Sylvia.

Website for the run  http://www.fredmeijerwhitepinetrail200.com 

You may also call Doug Bostian at  616-890-5978

 

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Bridge Run

The “Friends” is one of the organizations that will receive some of the proceeds from the Bridge Run this year - Thanks!

If you should like to volunteer please contact volunteer@rungr.com.

The website is - - http://www.rungr.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=15

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Thanks again for your support!  The "Friends" can not function without your support!

New Drains, Ditch Work, and Garlic Mustard Event

posted May 22, 2011, 8:35 PM by Beth Hamel   [ updated May 25, 2011, 4:08 PM ]

Please Be Carefull and Aware In Work Areas

May 12, 2011

The New Drain Is In!

This past Monday there was major work done at the washout site between Belmont and Rockford.

The crew from Kent County Road Commission did a great job of installing the new drain that will hopefully prevent another washout such as we had last Memorial Day.

Prior to the digging up of the trail the crew made an alternate path so the trail remained open during this major work.

The crew also did some ditch re-establishment in the area. I am continuing to do ditch cleaning also so we will not have water running over the trail after rains.

There is an area of no pavement where the new drain was installed - please be careful when crossing this spot - it is marked with orange cones!

Repairs of paving in the area are in the works and should be done soon!

Thanks to all of you that passed through the work area and were so very tolerant of the bypass.

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Water Damage Up North - - Update

In the north area in the newly paved area there has been a wash-out due to beavers and a culvert failure.

Plans are to fix this next week along with some other issues in the area.

Please be carefull in workareas!

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This Saturday

May 14th, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.:

We’re “Pulling Together For Nature”

If you’re on the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail this Saturday, May 14, between 10 and 12:00, you’ll see groups of people scattered along the trail, stuffing green plants into bright blue bags. These folks are part of the “Pulling Together For Nature” event in West Michigan that is targeting the invasive weed, garlic mustard. Unfortunately; there is LOTS of garlic mustard along the trail, and there’s plenty for everyone to pull!

If you don’t know what garlic mustard is, or what it looks like, please, stop and find out. And, if you’d like to help out for a minute or an hour, we would love to have you join us! See you along the trail.

Join us as we "Pull Together" for the Garlic Mustard Challenge to remove this and other invasive plants along the White Pine Trail. We will have check-in stations at the sites listed below. Come to the station nearest you, collect some bags and join in the fun! Long pants, boots and gloves are recommended. We will count and register our bags with the Stewardship Network after the pull. Hope to see you there!

Check in Stations:

· Belmont Rd. - Parking lot by the WPT

· House Street and WPT – parking on road by the trail.

· Rockford Farm Market Parking lot

(behind Chase Bank and Young Insurance)

· 12 Mile Rd. – parking lot at intersection of 12 Mile and WPT.

For more information e-mail

Gretchen Zuiderveen - - prairieplanter@gmail.com

Mindy Miner - - 3mminer@gmail.com

Trail Work This Week, Garlic Mustard & Meeting

posted May 22, 2011, 7:47 PM by Beth Hamel

Please Be Carefull and Aware In Work Areas
May 7, 2011
This is a quick short important notice!

On my way home from my place on Lake Superior yesterday I spoke with the engineer from the Kent County Road Commission that oversees the work that is being done on the trail.

Installation of a new culvert and some asphalt repairs will be taking place on Monday and possibly Tuesday (weather permitting).

At this time, the trail will remain open with possible short delays due to equipment working on site.

Please; Please be careful in the areas where equipment is working. Operators will be doing their job and will make every possible effort to keep the trail open.

It is a good idea to make eye contact with an operator prior to getting near the equipment.

I will be on the trail Sunday morning doing some preparation work! Please be patient as we are doing this work to make the trail better for all users.

Time constraints sometimes require us to be extremely tolerant!

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Water Damage Up North

In the north area in the newly paved area there has been a wash-out due to beavers and a culvert failure. This area will be repaired very soon.

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Next Saturday

May 14th: We’re “Pulling Together For Nature”

If you’re on the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail this Saturday, May 14, between 10 and 12:00, you’ll see groups of people scattered along the trail, stuffing green plants into bright blue bags. These folks are part of the “Pulling Together For Nature” event in West Michigan that is targeting the invasive weed, garlic mustard. Unfortunately; there is LOTS of garlic mustard along the trail, and there’s plenty for everyone to pull!

If you don’t know what garlic mustard is, or what it looks like, please, stop and find out. And, if you’d like to help out for a minute or an hour, we would love to have you join us! See you along the trail.

If you want to join us we will be starting at the parking lot in Belmont at 10:00 am and there will be addition groups further north.

For more information e-mail - - prairieplanter@gmail.com

From Gretchen Zuiderveen

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We have a regular monthly meeting this week Wednesday, 7:00 pm at the Rockford Community Cabin, which is located at 220 N. Monroe. I hope you can be there!

Comcast Mobilizes Volunteer Workforce!

posted May 22, 2011, 7:45 PM by Beth Hamel

Comcast Cares Event-A Great Day For Our Trail!
 
April 25, 2011
 

After several days of cold rain, the sky cleared, the sun came out and we had perfect weather for a very successful Comcast Cares event last week on the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. For the 3rd year in a row the great people at Comcast provided an army of skilled volunteers to do projects that clean and beautify the trail.

Known as “Comcast Cares Day” the event resulted in nearly 140 people showing up ready to work. The majority of volunteers were made up of Comcast employees but also included Boy Scouts from Pack 3283 and some of our own “Friends” membership.

On Thursday April 21st, the preparation for the event started at the staging area in the rear of Plainfield Township Hall. Roseanne Stewart from Comcast oversaw the process of setting up all the food, t-shirts, water, gloves, snacks, drinks and dozens of pizzas that were provided for all the volunteers.

At 4:00 p.m. the volunteers started showing up and listened to short speeches by Representative Pete McGregor (pictured below), Senator Mark Jansen, Township Clerk Scott Harvey, Township Trustee Chuck Weldon and Chris McGraw from Comcast. After some brief instructions and comments from me it was off to work.

The volunteer work force fanned out along the trail from North Park Street in Grand Rapids all the way up to Rockford. They built a split rail fence by 5/3 ball park, picked up trash, cleared / inspected storm drains, installed rubble control devices at the wash-out site to prevent the drain from being plugged, trimmed brush, removed old / unsightly silt control barriers, cut up and removed downed trees, and left the trail in that section SPOTLESS!

With the number of volunteers that Comcast provided, we were able to get more done in a 4 hour time span than we typically get done in a years’ worth of our smaller volunteer work days. Everyone that uses the trail will benefit from their efforts.

I want to give a GREAT BIG THANKS from the “Friends” to all the volunteers that showed up to help and especially to Comcast for making the day possible. I would also like to thank Michigan Senator Mark Jansen and Michigan Representative Peter MacGregor for stopping by to thank, visit with, and encourage all the volunteers. It was truly a highly successful event!

I want to close by showing you a short YouTube video of the event and at the same time introduce a new technology that I hope to be using more for our organization. That little picture at the right that looks like an empty crossword puzzle is a QR code. QR stands for Quick Response. It connects the offline world with the online world using the ubiquitous smart phones. All you need to do is point a smart phone, that has a QR reader app loaded on it, at the QR code and it will take you instantly to the YouTube video. The QR app can be downloaded in seconds (for free) from any app store on your phone. Let me know how it works for you. I see many possibilities for our organization using it out on the trail where many times people have their phone easily accessible. Without a computer, or needing to write down a lengthy web address, they can instantly access information about our organization and our activities without unsightly signs. If you don’t have a smart phone you can watch the video by clicking here.

If you have any comments, stories or notes of appreciation regarding the event, please hit reply and send them to me. I will make sure they get passed along to our benefactors at Comcast!

By the way the trail is being swept to remove any gravel or sand that accumulated over the winter! The contractor has started at the south end and is working his way north. Please remember that the north end had snow on it last week! The trail will be clean soon.

I look forward to seeing you out on our newly beautified trail! Thanks again Comcast!

Comcast Cares Day Thursday, April 21, 2011

posted May 22, 2011, 7:43 PM by Beth Hamel

Comcast Cares Day Thursday, April 21, 2011
 
April 12, 2011 
 
Before I get into the news I want to remind you that the regular monthly meeting of the Friends of the White Pine Trail will be this Wednesday (April 13th) at the Cedar Springs City offices at 7:00 pm. I hope to see you there!

Spring appears to have arrived! Sunday the temperature certainly made it feel like summer! You can expect to see greatly increased activity on the trail as the thermometer rises!

We have been getting a lot of comments on the condition of the trail after the winter - especially on the newly paved section between Cadillac and LeRoy. Several people have looked over that section and let me know there’s a lot of gravel that has been deposited on the trail from the winter snowmobile grooming operation. The trail will be swept very soon! Please be patient as only a few days ago there was still ice and snow on the trail in that section.

The trail from the 5/3rd ballpark to Russell Rd has been cleaned of winter debris. I did a light cleaning of the trail from Russell Rd to Sand Lake using our tractor with the power broom. I had received lots of complaints of debris on the trail in that area so I wanted to give it some immediate attention. The snowmobile folks are having that area cleaned by contractors so it should be completely cleared very soon!

Sunday morning, while I was on the tractor sweeping the trail near Sand Lake, a woman stopped me and wanted to know who the boss was. I told her that I was the chairman of the Friends of the White Pine trail organization. She then proceeded to chew me out for being on the trail - imagine that! The woman told me I should not be doing work on Sunday morning when so many people are on the trail. I told her that I had started at 6 am, likely while most people are still asleep. She told me that I should do it some other time. I explained to her that I was a volunteer and that I volunteer my time on my schedule. I also explained to her that she must be one those people that think the trail gets magically maintained possibly by good gremlins that come out at 12:01 a.m. and do all the work by 12:02 a.m. She gave me a halfhearted apology and left - I suspect she will be badmouthing me for some time.

The truth is it takes a lot of volunteer time to do the maintenance on our great trail. I would hope that all of our volunteers get a healthy serving of the greatest wages a volunteer can receive – appreciation! If you see someone working on the trail please simply say “Thank you for your help”! They work when they can, and do the best that they can, because of their love of the trail.

Speaking of volunteers the Comcast people along with our members will be on the trail next week doing some major work. We will get a lot of work done with their fantastic help! Expect to see lots of people working on the trail the afternoon of April 21st. The Comcast people are always amazed at how appreciative trail users are during the work days. Please go out of your way to give a big “THANK YOU COMCAST” if you pass them on the trail. They will be working from North Park Street in Comstock Park up to the Rockford area. Thanks Comcast!

In the LeRoy area expect to see equipment on the trail south of town very soon. Contractors will be adding approximately one more mile of paving which will clean up and improve the surface through the LeRoy tunnel. Please respect any trail closures during the construction!

The next phase of work to repair and stabilize the damage from last Memorial Day’s wash-out between Belmont and Rockford should be happening soon. This will cause some disruption in the trail for a few days - PLEASE, PLEASE respect the workers and any trail closures during the work!

I have included an interesting article below from one of our members!

I hope to see you on the trail!

Comcast Cares Day This April!

posted May 22, 2011, 7:41 PM by Beth Hamel

Massive Clean Up of Southern End of Trail
 
March 7, 2011 

I received an e-mail last week from Maria Holmes informing me that the great people at Comcast are going to partner with us again for a massive trail work day. This is the third time that Comcast has chosen to partner with the Friends of the White Pine Trail for one of their community outreach efforts. The true beneficiary of their massive volunteer work force and financial donations is the trail and all the people and communities that it represents. When Comcast shows up BIG things happen!

The Comcast event this year will take place on Thursday April 21st beginning at 4:00 pm. The goal for this year is to do a massive spring clearing of the trail from North Park street in Comstock Park all the way up to Rockford. With the help of the Comcast Crew, and hopefully a large group of our members, plus volunteers from the community, we will clear brush, remove trees, pick up debris and beautify the trail for the upcoming season of heavy trail usage! I am working on getting permission from The DNR to also do some construction projects that will add resources for trail users.

One of the notable comments that have been made by the Comcast volunteers is the fact that they receive such great appreciation from the trail users while they are working on the trail. If you cannot join us as a volunteer make sure you show your appreciation of the volunteers. On that day they will be out in force and would greatly appreciate your “THANK YOU COMCAST” as you pass them on the trail. Let them know you appreciate their efforts as they improve the trail that we all love and use!

I am also very happy to inform you that the Godwin High School Honor Society will be showing up for the 10th year in a row to help clean up the trail. These awesome kids show up ready to do work and make the trail beautiful for all of us. Again, whenever you see someone working on the trail, make sure you voice your appreciation. Chances are very good that they are a volunteer and the wages of all volunteers is the appreciation that they receive for their efforts.

The Godwin High School event will take place Tuesday April 26th. For both events I could use some volunteers to help organize and direct activities or just help with the projects at hand. Just hit reply to this e-mail if you’re interested in helping and I’ll get you the details.

And finally we have our next Friends of the White Pine Trial meeting this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m at the Plainfield Township offices in downtown Belmont. I hope to see you there! Hit reply if you have any questions or comments that you want addressed during the meeting and I will do what I can to bring them up.

The busy time for the trail and the Friends organization is upon us. I look forward to seeing you out on the trail!

Synopsis of Trail Use Survey

posted May 22, 2011, 7:34 PM by Beth Hamel

Complete results available at link below!

January 27, 2011 

There is a lot of information in this edition and as always we welcome your feedback. Just hit reply and send me whatever thoughts you have. 

Attention Snowmobilers
Please Do Not Spin Your Tracks In The Areas With Pavement If Your Machine Has Studs!

Also remember - - the trail is open to all approved users all year, please respect walkers, runners, bicyclists, and skiers that you encounter

Observation While Plowing

On Monday this week I spent about 5 hours plowing the trail from around the 5/3 Ball Park to Russell Road. There were quite a few people using the trail including runners, walkers, cyclist, skiers, and one guy I passed just north of 12 Mile Road walking with the WHITE CANE / RED END. I was running late so I could not stop to talk. I have since found out he is out there pretty much daily - - this is another example of why we do what we do – where else could a person with vision limitations have such a safe place to walk – all year.

More New Construction Coming

There is approximately $270,000 left over from the Cadillac to LeRoy paving project. The “Friends” board of directors has decided to use these funds to pave / improve approximately one and one-half miles more south of LeRoy which will clean up a bad situation in the “tunnel” just south of LeRoy. This will result in paving to 14 Mile Road which is the road where there is an exit / entrance off of US 131. Trail users will be able to follow existing paved roads from 14 Mile Road to the paved section of the trail in Reed City. This project is targeted to be finished by Memorial Day.

Washout Area between Belmont & Rockford

Last week there was a meeting regarding the immediate and long term work needed to be done on the area damaged during the storm of Memorial Day last year.

Several of the attendees from the meeting and myself went to the site on the trail after the meeting and discussed the needs onsite.

There were representatives from: Kent County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Technology Management & Budget, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, City of Rockford, Plainfield Township, C2AE Engineering, SME Engineers, and the “Friends”.

There was a major study done by the two engineering firms with the recommended results calling for major work in the area. Considering the financial atmosphere at the current time a decision was made to do culvert and ditch work as soon as possible to prevent water from running over the trail in large quantities creating more problems and possibly eroding the repair work that has been done so far.

Additional work in the area will be done as funding becomes available.

There will be some time in the spring when the trail will be closed in the area to install two new culverts. This will be done as early in the spring as possible and will not likely cause more than a couple of days of interruption in the use of the trail.

Please watch for more updates on the work to be done and avoid this area when it is closed due to the work being done on the trail.

Survey Results

The total in depth results of the survey I sent to you recently have been processed, categorizing the comments, sorted by category and then placed into “Google Docs” so you may view them if you would like.

You may like to comment on the results or you may need explanations regarding the results as presented. Please e-mail me with your requests / comments (again just hit reply to this e-mail).

All comments are shared with you as written in response to the survery, I have not made any corrections.

Here is a link to the results (you may need to create a Google account to open this information)

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AkOgRyvKZpxRdGoyNzhMT2hjSk1Zd2hEZGs0TTRCNmc&authkey=COyY584N&hl=en#gid=0

Below I have shared some significant comments that were received along with the survey. If you do not get a sufficient reply to a question you entered in the survey please contact us and we will reply directly!

Comments & Suggestions From Survey With My Reply

Comment - - Rules of the trail posted periodically.

Reply - - There are no specific rules for trail users that are different from normal State Park rules. There are however laws that do cover trail users and I will cover those that I know of in future e-news.

Comment - - We need to make sure that the State provides adequate funding to repair and resurface the trail and appurtenances when the time comes -- and those times will come. We should not have to depend on gifts and donations to accomplish these basic maintenance and rehabilitation requirements.

Reply - - The funding issue is certainly a complex problem considering the Michigan economy. Here is where you can all help! Contact your STATE LEVEL legislators and strongly request the funding needed for the trail completion, improvements and maintenance. Most people never contact their STATE LEVEL legislators and so they never really know what their constituency wants. Please contact your legislators – it really does help.

Comment - - More organized activities such as biking weekly rides. Possible organized social walks weekly in the summer.

Reply - - Some years ago we did have some organized rides; we discontinued these rides as there was little or no participation. Time have changed and there are lots more people using the trail now, it may be time to try again as we have had a number of suggestions via this survey. If anybody would be willing to facilitate rides / walks - etc. please contact us and we can work together to make this happen!

Comment - - I would like to see additional restrooms or portable toilets

Comment - - More water

Reply - - These issues are the most commented on, and it is a subject of ongoing interest. Whenever we talk to the communities along the trail that are planning additional trail access amenities we relate to them the need for facilities including fresh water. We suggest heated facilities that can be open year around as the trail never closes and the need is there 24/7. Unfortunately the permanent facilities are very expensive so it is not easy for these communities to fund these amenities. We will continue to do what we can which may mean additional port-a-jons.

Comment - - One thing that might be helpful is to pre-publish are calendar or schedule of events. If there are visible cleanup dates then maybe people can pre-plan to be available to help

Comment - - I know this may sound silly but here it is. I think an accurate map of the trail would be rally helpful. All the portions of the trail that are paved should be one color. All the portions of the trail that are not paved should be another color. The map should include major roads like expressways, US Routes and Michigan Routes for reference. It should include all towns and cities on or near the trail . It should include rivers and lakes on or near the trail. When a piece of the trail is paved the map should be updated. The map should have symbols for restrooms , parking, picnic tables/benches and other trail features. A useful map would help people plan their route.

Reply - - We are in the process of updating our website! As everything we do is done by volunteers; this sometimes take a little longer than if the work was being done by a paid staff, unfortunately we do not have a paid staff. We will be adding several pages with listing of the things trail users need, volunteer opportunities, a calendar for events, workdays, and other trail related information. We would very much appreaciate any additional requests / suggestions on the updating of the web site.

Comment - - less Amish using horse and buggy.

Reply - - This is a problem that the local law enforcement officials need to deal with. If you see this problem please call the police and request them to enforce the laws. The Amish have been asked to stop but they continue to break the law.

Comment - - we need 4 programs a year on history, nature, political, trail manners type of subjects

Reply - - We will try to have more programs / presentations, please give us input for specific things, and if you know of someone including yourself that would like to put on something at a meeting please contact us.

E-Newsletter (responses)

Comment - - stories from trail users…

Reply - - We are always happy to get stories / experiences from you - the trail users. Please e-mail your data to us and we will publish it provided there are not controversial items.

Comment - - more timely updates on construction projects along the trail.community news from the towns and villages along the trail.
Reply - - We try to be as timely as possible with the construction projects, unfortunately sometimes we do not get all the information as to things going on in time to publish. We are trying to get the communities from along the trail to feed us data as it is a little hard for use to contact these various communities due to some of them being “part-time” - our new calendar that will be on the web-site should help with community events.


Comment - - A reminder to snowmobilers that the trail is closed at ten. Last year there were snowmobilers racing back and forth till 3am. Thier machines were not quiet. Maybe some more history about the trail. Could give some info about the plants found along the trail.

Reply - - There appears to be a misunderstanding! – The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park does not close at any time to use by approved users unless there is a special circumstance!

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New Magazine Features the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail

The West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition is teaming up with a local company to publish a new magazine about the trails movement and our growing network of multi-use trails. The new West Michigan Trails Magazine has three basic objectives: (1) to inform the public about and build support for the development and growth of our trail system, (2) to promote West Michigan trails as a tourist attraction, and (3) to provide trail users with the most accurate and comprehensive maps and information for all West Michigan Trails.

Obviously, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park is one of the primary trails featured in this full-color, 84-page publication with 10 pages devoted exclusively to our Trail. They are simultaneously publishing a new companion web site with all the trail information and maps. It is currently under development and nearly half of the content is completed. They recently "soft-launched" the web site, which you can view at: www.westmichigantrails.com/

West Michigan Trails Magazine is completely funded through advertising and will be free to the public. They need advertisers so they can actually get this thing printed. Here's where we need your help. If you have a business or know of any business that would like to help promote the White Pine Trail, or benefit from tourism, please give them a call or send them an email. The magazine is being published locally in Rockford by Rockford Advertising. For information, call Rob Pulver at (616) 866-2817 or send him an email at: rpulver@rockfordadvertising.com.

Response to Trail Use Survey Very Strong

posted May 22, 2011, 7:29 PM by Beth Hamel

Over 100 responses in 3 hours!
 
January 10, 2011 

I was absolutely amazed at the quality and quantity of responses to our e-mail survey last week. I will be reviewing and responding to the results for quite some time. It is very important that the results be shared with community leaders, members of the Board of the Friends organization as well as with you.

The write in comments were the most compelling part of the survey. I have pages upon pages of great feedback, ideas and information that I will be using to guide our activities as well as future development of the trail and associated resources. It is powerful information that legislators as well as local community leaders will be very interested to review and hopefully act upon.

Here are some of the highlights:

The most evident fact that came out of the survey is that trail users are passionate and very engaged when it comes to “their” trail. We had over 100 surveys returned within 3 hours of sending it out! All total over 200 people responded and they created volumes of information and ideas that will provide many benefits.

In response to the question of how often do you use the trail, 50% of the respondents noted that they use the trail weekly, 29.6% use it monthly, 7.7% daily and 16% said rarely.

A very important statistic that came out of the survey is the fact that 66% of trail users noted they use businesses by way of the trail that they would not normally use via other means. This is very important to the communities connected by the trail. The trail is becoming a new revenue stream for the businesses in those communities and informing trail users about the local resources will be an important task.

Our website was another question the survey addressed. It was rated good by 40% of people responding and okay or needing an upgrade by 21% while 19% said they have never used it.

One of the greatest areas of information needs was illustrated by the question that asked “If our website listed all the businesses, restaurants and resources accessible via the trail would that benefit you?” The response was 85% YES! That response was backed up by comments from people wanting to know about events, side trips, trail conditions, restaurants and campgrounds. All information that we will be working to acquire in the near future.

Another request that was made quite frequently was for a blog type resource. People want to read about other people’s experiences on the trail. What restaurants did they visit? How was the food? What side trips or experiences did they experience within close proximity to the trail? Where are the camping and lodging resources and were they trail user friendly? In the future we will look at resources we can provide that will allow you to post your trail adventures for others to read!

That final question in the survey asked what trail resources are most important to trail users. This was an eye opening question because the resource most requested in the write in comments was not even listed in our initial choices. The choices we listed were picnic tables, port-a-jons / restrooms, benches, information kiosks, and shelters. Over 42% wanted more restrooms. Specifically, in the comments section, they want real restrooms and not port-a-jons. They mentioned specifically that they want a place where they can change clothes that’s not an outhouse!

The biggest request for resources though was water! People need a place to refill their water bottles near the trail. That should be fairly easy for communities to respond to if they know there is a need. We will make sure they are aware of the need.

That’s the highlights for now. Thank you to all of you who participated! You made our job much easier and gave us a very clear direction in which to proceed. I want to especially thank all of you who gave such great notes of thanks and appreciation for the work of the Friends organization. It has been said that the wages of volunteers is appreciation and you paid us very well with all of your kind words and comments.

I will be sharing lots of the written comments with you in future e-mails.
Don't forget our next meeting is at Plainfield Township Offices this Wednesday (1-12-11) at 7:00 pm. I hope to see you there and I'll probably have more details from the survey.

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