A lot has happened in 2016 and I think it's time for a state of events summary.
Probably everyone knows at this point that the plans for professionally built trail at Blue Mound have been delayed. The lawsuit filed by Kenneth Wade and Karl Heil against the DNR regarding the approval of a new snowmobile trail in the new Amendment to the Master Plan had the unfortunate side effect of causing the DNR to halt all plans spelled out in the Amendment, including the bike trail improvements.
Just for added complication, the operating agreement between CORP and the DNR, our Memorandum of Understanding (or MOU) is expired and a new one is currently under negotiation.
Despite the delays, we have DNR approval for some improvements to Chert Dip and Holy Schist trails. Our club work day on May 14th will be devoted to Holy Schist. In the course of its boundary survey (done as part of the Amendment documentation), the DNR found a second place where the trail was sited over the border and into a neighbor's land. That is unfortunate, but given the delays with our plans for the other trails, now is the perfect time to deal with this issue before it becomes a bigger problem. The fact that the trail in question has become eroded and in need of repairs anyhow makes it a good use of our time while we are waiting for the legal issues to be resolved.
While we are making good use of our treasured volunteer time in Holy Schist, we are working with the DNR and the Friends of Blue Mound to determine if it's possible to put together a professionally built repair of part of Chert Dip Trail.
The reason that this remains a possibility despite the restrictions resulting from the lawsuit over the Amendment is part of Chert Dip, the far northern end (the Dip), was to be cut off from the proposed Beginner Loop project and treated as intermediate-expert trail at a later date.
Because the DNR accepted our proposal to repair part of the Dip by hand this year, we took a second look at the issue and asked them if fixing the entire Dip using professional help was a possibility. The folks at the DNR agreed to evaluate the new proposal. That's where it stands.
In the mean time, I've asked the Friends to put me on the May schedule to discuss the possibility of their agreeing to fund the majority of the work. As you may recall, CORP received the benefit of a very generous fund raiser at Machinery Row this spring. I've obtained approval to use the money to seed the funding of Travis Bellman's work on the Dip. He has supplied me an estimate for his cost to do the work and penciled the project into his schedule.
To summarize: the DNR is evaluating our proposal to have 2/3 mile of Chert Dip professionally built and we are working on getting the money to pay for it.
Thanks to everyone who has been working behind the scenes to keep things moving ahead at Blue Mound. The last nine months have generated a lot of anxiety, raised expectations, and now disappointment. It's important to keep events in perspective: despite that which has gone wrong, no one involved is working directly against us, and nothing gained has been rejected.
The best thing we can do at this time is to keep showing up for work.