|Public Support, Public Funding, Public Land|
|Educational Bike Rack|
|History of the Property|
|You can see the Loop Trail on the Lower Left|
|Watch for snakes, no dogs, protect the cranes and be careful!|
|Beginning the Sunny Walk Along North Levee|
|Looking Back from the North, Over the Prairie|
|Burmarigold (Bidens laevis)|
|Beggars Ticks (Bidens mitis)|
|Big Flock of Pigeons|
|Bladderwort (Ultricularia inflata)|
|Then you go back and try the other side|
|Walking on the South Levee|
|Orbweaver Spider and bugs|
|Phaon Crescent Butterfly|
So here's the problem. This is a 6 1/2 mile loop trail and the homeowners who live near the beginning of the loop would like to turn this into a one way trail and not allow visitors to pass in front of their homes. This means that anyone who wants to walk to the north side, with its vast horizons and marshes for birds will need to walk 6 miles in and 6 miles back. This just isn't fair. It restricts access for all but those who have the ability to go so far. In the summer, especially, 12 miles will be daunting. There are no bathrooms or drinking fountains. Essentially, these homeowners would close most of the trail just by making it too hard to get to. They want to enjoy the fruits of a beautiful wet prairie restoration (remember that just a few years ago it was dry cattle grazing ground), paid for by public funds, all by themselves.
|Six Miles Either Way|
|Entrance Right Next to I-75|
|Quiet Parking Lot|
|Mutual Respect is the Only Way|
Update after the Commission meeting: The Commissioners decided to keep the entire trail open after the homeowners withdrew their request to close the half mile, which is a good thing. And then in order to ease the concerns of the homeowners, they voted to ask the land management staff to do further evaluation about how to discourage visitors from taking the North Levee and add some more interpretive signs. I won't go into the meeting. It was, as a friend put it, like watching the sausage being made, and I'm a little queazy over it still. Local government is not a pretty thing. But I think the public was mostly served in the end and our trail is open. Go enjoy.
One thing I learned at the meeting that I hadn't fully appreciated before was that this is just the first phase of a much larger project. In the near future there will be more trails to the south, with more options such as horse trails and better bike trails. And there will be another entrance, which should take some of the pressure off of these homeowners.