After my last meeting with Erie staff, I proposed a couple different locations where we may be able to build trails. I talked to a few of you personally about these locations and gathered the results of the poll from this website. It looks like the most desirable location is the hillside to the east of Coal Creek Park. I really like the potential of the hillside. It has a nice gentle slope, has immediate access to the Coal Creek trail, and there are a few trailheads nearby for parking. However, it requires us to focus our trail designs more towards a bike park than a singletrack network. Personally I think a bike park is a better use of our near-term efforts than a network of trails. At least off the bat.

It seems to be unlikely we’ll be able to link the various neighborhoods together with a singletrack trail even if it ran parallel to the Coal Creek trail; and what fun is that anyway? There are chunks of private property we’d have to get easements to cross and more concerns about wildlife protection than I realized were in Erie. I’m not giving up hope yet. I just want to zero in on what we can have in the near future.

I’ve had a few conversations with Erie staff members and I know we still have a lot of support for this idea. So why can’t we go dig yet? Well, things move slowly in government and I’m not quite clear on the exact process for gaining approval. I asked who I could meet with to discuss the ESA agenda so I’m not knocking on everybody’s doors all the time and they assigned three people as my contacts from the Open Space Trails Advisory Board. I have reached out to them to schedule a meeting and will follow up again soon.

When I was speaking with the OSTAB chair, a different location than the ones I was already aware of was brought up. It is an open space area north of Reliance Park (previously known as Northridge Open Space). I don’t know anything about it yet but I will go take a look as soon as I can. For now, I’m still very interested in pursuing the hillside option. I have contacted a couple trail designers who will walk the property with me to help get an idea of its potential. I hope to take a drawing or rendering to the next BOT meeting.

I will post again as soon as I have something to report.