Thanks to the 25 passionate and dedicated park users who showed up for our trails walk on Saturday despite social distancing and rain! This post includes some highlights from the walk.
We opened with RPD staff sharing a summary of the McLaren Trails Priority Projects community process, a continuation and refinement of the trails and natural features scope laid out for four priority areas in the 2017 McLaren Park Vision Plan. At the 3/7/20 trails walk, staff shared the current draft conceptual plan for the Upper Reservoir, Shelley Loop Interior, and University Hill (Louis Sutter to Mansell Courts) areas, to continue refinement of conceptual design goals and specific features.
Together, we explored on-the-ground opportunities for recreation and natural resources. Staff are looking at the trail network as a whole and trying to improve overall connectivity while also creating complete loops with varied accessibility levels.
As we walked, we kept referring to the goals for trails and paths in McLaren Park from the 2017 Vision Plan:
• Ensure safe recreation and access
• Maintain and build on natural character
• Protect natural resources
• Clarify circulation routes
Click here to review the handout that was distributed at the 3/7 Trails Walk. We traveled along primary circulation routes, and focused our discussion on 22 specific features that will likely be part of the McLaren Trails Project. A few highlights from our group discussions are below.
At the Upper Reservoir we discussed pros and cons of keeping a trail through the seasonal wetland area. Staff noted the inherent tension between providing recreational access and protecting natural areas, as many native species do not thrive when regularly disturbed by human presence.
View from the north of trail through seasonal wetland that may be decommissioned
At the heart of the Shelley Loop Interior, there are several opportunities to conserve and enhance valuable native habitat. No complaints were voiced at staff’s proposal to decommission a variety of trails to afford a larger contiguous scrub habitat and a buffer around the Grey Fox Creek riparian area.
View from proposed overlook, south of Grey Fox Creek
On University Hill, we discussed how trails in the grassland were not well constructed, and that the proposed features aim to minimize erosion damage and reduce fragmentation of the grassland habitat.
Erosion damage on University Hill switchbacks
Please click here to view the current conceptual design goals and specific features for the three priority areas and provide your feedback.
Staff will share an initial plan for signage and trails proposed for decommissioning at the next community meeting.