Minutes from 8/3/2011 Meeting

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Rut Row
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Minutes from 8/3/2011 Meeting

Post by Rut Row » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:23 am

Below is the email and contents of the attachment (meeting notes) for the August 3, 2011 meeting.
ORV Stakeholders -

Attached is a summary of the key action items and discussion points from our inaugural meeting a few weeks ago. Please review and feel free to offer additional input/edits. Also, please note that many of your peers are working hard on several options -- including some of the trails mentioned in our first review and many new alternatives for moto, hare scramble/GNCC, larger off-road 4x4 and sled options.

In addition, as promised, I'd like to get our group back together at the end of September. Please consider the following dates and let me know your preference:

Wed. Sept 28th
Thur. Sept 29th
Fri. Sept 30th

Thank you for the effort thus far and more to come!

Paul

-------------
1) Overview and General Discussion Points
a) Introductions and ‘ground rules’. Noted excellent attendance in that all members were present except two had prior unavoidable conflicts.
b) Discussion as to what the ‘limitations’ are? I.E. are trail options available on existing State Forests, Parks, Wildlife Management Areas, private land, former coal property, etc?
i) DNR clarified that all areas and options are available. Current regulations preclude ORV trails on WMA’s and Fish Management Areas but ORV trail contact with these areas will not be a bar to creating a trail. In addition, to the extent funding is available, leasing and/or fee-simple acquisition of private lands is an option. Legislature-designated Wildlands are non-starters.
ii) Further clarification that legislation and/or lengthy regulatory processes are not necessary for most of the potential sites.
c) Former Trails (Green Ridge, Poplar Lick, Chandler Trail)
i) Clarified that it is unlikely these will ever be reopened so our time and energy is better focused on fresh, new and improved opportunities at other locations.
d) Diversity of opportunities
i) Group discussed and concurred with the premise that there are multiple users with a stake in the process and therefore the trails need to account for those unique users and/or stakeholders.
(1) Consideration must be given to the ecological conflicts with a potential site and the non-rider users of a potential site.
(2) Equally important is consideration for the variety of riders – rock-climbers, enduro bikes, atv, hare scramble, hill-climb, motocross, mud-bogging, et al. It will be difficult to accommodate all at any given site but the group agreed to build in the potential to review sites for all of the various opportunities.
ii) Enforcement-Fees-Liability
(1) Group agreed that enforcement will be a key component to future success and sustainability of any new trails. Also discussed need for creation of volunteer corps of riders and/or retired or reserve officers to fill enforcement gaps.
(2) General agreement that an increase in fees (presuming new and improved trail opportunities would be part of the outcome) is not unreasonable. Likewise with a potential registration ‘plate’ to assist in enforcement and management of users.
(3) Liability was raised as a potential issue but state-owned or managed lands avoid this issue -- thus the motivation for private landowners to partner with DNR on ORV trails.

2) Potential Trail Site Reviews – each site was ‘graded’ as Category 1, 2 or 3.
a) Category 1 – Worth revisiting, short-term potential, pursue immediately.
b) Category 2 – Worth revisiting, long-term potential but do not pursue immediately.

c) Category 3 – Significant potential impediments – hold for future consideration.
i) Town Hill – graded Category 2 (for dirt and snow riders)
(1) Only a six mile section that includes some potential ‘problem areas’ due to High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) and a very steep section that precludes switchback and/or ‘creative’ sections.
(2) Group felt it was worth keeping this one on the list but recognized limited opportunities and potential impediments to opening.
ii) “Bosley-Beeman” Site – Graded Category 1 (for dirt and snow riders)
(1) Mix or private and public land near Dan’s Mt and incorporates Buffalo Coal property. Existing 16 mile loop with ‘pit’ section for added ‘features’.
(2) Potential impediments due to proximity of WMA, developed State Park and local conservation easements but more to learn there before drawing any conclusions.
(3) Unanimous support to pursue this option and task to Beeman, et al to seek input from local landowners and/or coal operator.
iii) Lupo Tana Trail – graded Category 1 (for dirt and snow riders)
(1) 600 acres (or more) with 18 miles of out-and-back trail system on high ridge above town of Shallmar. Includes hill-climb, straights, enduro/switchbacks, mud and small mx track. Former mine site and on top of ridge so no contact with aquatic resources.
(2) Existing hunting and riding club; crosses several small segments of private farm but long history of doing so seems surmountable; currently held in receivership as owner and company declared bankruptcy.
(3) Unanimous support to pursue this site as a lease, cooperative agreement area or fee purchase. DNR to follow-up with owners to consider the various options and report back to group.
iv) Meadow Mountain – graded Category 1 for snow riders, 3 for dirt riders – 50” maximum vehicle width
(1) 6 mile possible ‘extension’ to current east shale section of meadow mountain ORV trail. Would simply loop the current section that commences at New Germany road up to 68 and return on parallel path to New Germany rd.
(2) Significant biodiversity concerns on this area despite presence of current trail system. Current trail is essentially a straight-away with no real opportunity for switch-backs or other features due to boundaries with private in-holdings (including private campground hard against half the trail).
(3) Group generally agreed this was a poor option for dirt riding but during snow pack it could be considered as a possible extension to connect existing snow-based trails.
v) Pea-Patch/”Franz” Loop – graded Category 1 for snow-use only (Dec 15-Mar 15 with open/closures as required by conditions)
(1) Extensive private/public (including public hard road) section of theoretical trails for snowmobile use. Incorporates public roadside near Big Run State Park, Savage River State Forest (some HCVF) and wildlands.
(2) Will require snowmobile riding community to connect with local elected officials and private landowners to create the potential for access to the county roadsides and private lands.
vi) Negro Mountain – Savage River State Forest – graded Category 1 for snow and dirt vehicles under 50” wide during snow season only.
(1) An 8 mile section of trail that is currently open to snowmobiles – considered for potential year-round or seasonal use by all sub-50” ORVs.
(2) Some potential conflicts with HCVF, bog habitat and power company power-line ROW but unamimous support from group due to high ridge location and ability to work-around likely conflicts. Will require regulation change to add dirt riding to existing snowmobile regulatory language.
vii) Compartment 40 – Savage River State Forest – graded category 3
(1) Potential conflicts with HCVF and Savage River Lodge property
(2) Group agreed to hold this option as a lower priority
viii) St. John’s Rock
(1) A one-way trail out and back along Red Dog rd. Totals 14 miles but is not a loop.
(2) Significant rare species issues near rock outcrop.
(3) Power line ROW with potential wetlands conflicts and need to partner with power-line co.
(4) Group would like to pursue this with consideration for a shorter section to avoid conflicts with important habitats and allow for option of a loop.

3) Next Steps
a) DNR to put a finer point on some of the proposed sites - especially the private locations.
b) ORV stakeholder members to follow-up on additional details and contacts:
i) Snowmobile riders to initiate conversation with county on county-road access issue;
ii) Beeman/Bosley with coal operator on the proposed trail.
iii) Kyler/Washington Area Trail Riders to connect with local coal operator (JR) to determine potential for site visit.
iv) O’Neal/Mx council to identify additional motocross options – especially in W. MD.
c) Next meeting in late September with possible on-site visits at Cat 1 locations.

4) Meeting adjourned at 4 pm.
Ken
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phoo
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Re: Minutes from 8/3/2011 Meeting

Post by phoo » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:24 pm

That seems like a generally positive outcome. Thanks for being our voice in these meetings.


~Patrick
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