MARCH 2017 NEWSLETTER

From the Desk of the President:

We would like to thank all our members and those who have donated to the STC this last year. Many years we run in the red with expenses larger than income. These donations have allowed us to go forward with a project that we had discussed with the Forest Service a couple years ago. You can read about this project below.

The new FS supervisor came to our last meeting so we could meet him, and so he could meet our officers and directors face to face. He is new to the Forest Service having spent most of his career in the Bureau of Land Management. He had no idea how many equestrians ride the Shawnee, or that many have moved here from other areas, including other states, just to live and ride in the Shawnee Forest.

So the STC has prepared a survey to collect numbers of just how many do recreate in the Shawnee. Many of you have already filled out the survey online. It is also printed at the end of this newsletter for those who do not use the web. It is heartwarming to see how many locals who were born here have filled out the survey.

Engaging more locals and young people into our organization helps us to represent as many users as possible. Let’s look forward to great weather and wonderful trails in this soon-to-be-riding season.

Check your mailing label - it indicates how long your membership is paid through. For some it is time to pay your current membership fee.

Happy tails,
Linda Sanders

DONATIONS

Dorothy Arjes. Janis Arnold, Jim & Charlotte Atchison, Suzanne & Clarence Barr, Dayne & Virgie Bassett, Owen Beckham, Five In Memory of Mike Bradley, Charlie & Sally Bradley, Connie Burrus, Five donations in Memory of Clyde Coleman, Douglas & Lisa Crocker, Dennis Day, Dave Elliot, Mary Ann Ellison, Skyler & Jennifer Epperson, David Flanders, John Flewellyn, Robin Gallagher, Genie Gard, Thomas E Hanks, Ruth Hart, Hayes Canyon Campground, William & Florn Heintz, Deb Held, Terrilyn Heywood, Larry & Jenny Holder, Holder & Hutchings, Trudy & Bob Horsman, Clara Jean Jones, Bill & Linda Kennedy, Bill & Marilyn Kinsey, Jerry & Christi Lowery, John & Loretta Maldaner, Alice Mann Cathy Markman, John & Paula McIlroy, Daniel Meyer, Tom & Trish Mick, Karen Pauk, Sandy Poletti, Carlos & Marilyn Post, Karen Quinn, Gerry Raben, Diane Ramey, Patty Ream & Jim Schmidt, Lynn & Keith Reuter, Sheila Richardson, Victor Satas, Kathy Schildmier, Fern & Andy Schuwerk, Shawnee Hills Trail Riders, Sue Simmons, Mona Swanson, Dennis & Elizabeth Williams, Edd & Karen Williams, Eddie & Nancy Wright, Jessie Adams, Diane & Dave Hunt, Mike Meisenheimer, Jim Pearson, Gail Summers & Liz Williams, John & Tammy Ward, John & Karen White.

If any names have been inadvertently not listed be sure the donation itself has been credited. Please notify us so that we can check our records and give due credit for your generosity and support. We thank each and every member for their membership and donation.

BIKES ON THE TRAILS

As of last fall, the Forest Service had planned to have maps of potential trails that would be open to mountain bike users but there has been no action taken yet. While there is no official postponement regarding including these users in the trail system, there is a delay due to other projects that have taken priority. Their next target is to get a draft proposal out to the public by this fall. When that happens there will definitely be an opportunity for folks to make comments and suggestions on that proposal.

From comments made by one FS personnel, there will be one or more trails designated for mountain bikes. I believe it was said “to see how it goes”. And to their credit, the FS has requested our opinions on which trails would be suitable and not suitable for inclusion of the bikes. They asked for specific details regarding each trail that has been designated through out the forest. The mountain bike association was also asked and possibly some others. We contacted individuals throughout the forest who knew each area and their trails. The FS wanted to know which trails had unsafe conditions like rock drop offs, etc.

They asked for these opinions to help them understand the individual trail conditions knowing that their personnel does not have the familiarity of the trails like individual users. This is a good thing because they did not jump into to this blindly making decisions. Once certain trails have been chosen and a draft proposal is made public, then individuals will be able to comment on those specific trails before any final decision is made.

What this means is that mountain bikes will still be using the trails they choose to ride with no repercussions. Until there is a closure order given by the Supervisor barring mountain bikes, no tickets can be given even though they are not “legal users” of hiker/equestrian trails. Don't we just love government bureaucracy? Since they will be included at some point the possibility of a closure order is next to impossible to obtain.

TRIGG TOWER TRAILHEAD

For those who know this trail head, it is quite small and not trailer friendly. Located on Trigg Tower Rd, north of Simpson, it allows access to trails such as Jackson Falls, Cove Hollow, Ruby Trail to the east. Just outside of the Trail Designation area, and right on the River to River trail, this trail head also has access to trails to the west, such as those around Gum Springs area.

Expanding this trail head has been one of our goals and the FS agreed there was a need. They agreed to take out the underbrush and some trees to create a larger area on the back side of the present trail head. The STC agreed to pay for the rock. Work was to begin as soon as the ground would permit. The FS cleared a large area this week but still have a few stumps to remove. Rock has been ordered and should be delivered ready to spread.

A new driveway to the north of the present one has been opened up. People will be able to drive through and park in pull-through spots. The plan is cars will park close to the road keeping clear of the area for truck/trailer rigs.

McKinney's Western Store of Marion, IL has donated $500 toward this project. Rick has been always very supportive of the users of the Shawnee and the STC. We thank Rick McKinney for that support. A sign will be placed at the trail head with credit given to all involved in this joint effort.

Trailhead cleared and ready for rock. A few trees are remaining to keep shade.


New north entrance for easier access.

GRANT MONEY FOR TRAILS

Further work to complete trails that were included in the last RTP grant will not begin until this fall. The FS uses Trails Unlimited for this type of work since our forest does not have the personnel to complete this type of project. They will be starting work on the Big Grand Pierre trails (171 and 179) and new trailheads, Golden Circle and Benham Ridge this Sept-Oct . The FS hopes to have those projects finished by the end of 2017. That will close out the second RTP grant.

WORK DONE BY USFS

Below is a list of the work the FS has done on trails since October of last year:
  • Bay Creek Trails
  • #030 – 4.6 miles of mechanized trail reconstruction
  • #032 Millstone Lake- 1.3 miles of mechanized trail reconstruction
  • #001 River to River- .5 miles of mechanized trail reconstruction
  • Millstone Bluff trail – reroute marked and flagged for volunteer construction
  • Lusk Creek Trails
  • Logging out/Trail clearing work
  • #457 Lusk – 6.5 miles
  • #457D Blanchard Crossing – 0.5 mile
  • #481 Barger Branch- 2 miles
  • #481B Wishing Well- 1.25 mile
  • #483 Cactus – 1 mile
  • #486 Saltpeter Cave- 0.4 mile
  • Trail signing
  • Several intersection signs were made and installed in Lusk Creek Wilderness
  • Bald Knob Wilderness
  • Logging out/trail clearing
  • #201 - 1.6 mi
  • #204 Ranbarger – 3.8 mi
  • #372 Hutchins Crk – 2.1 mi
  • 001J1 Godwin R2R- 6 mi
  • 201A – 1.3 miles
  • #258 Bridgeman- 1.5 mi
  • Lyerla Chapel – 1 mile
  • Lead mine- 0.5 mile
  • Panther Den Wilderness
  • 371 Den Trail – 0.7 mi
  • 389 Panther Loop – 2.3 mi
  • 001M1 R2R Panther Den – 4.4 mi
  • Little Grand Canyon
  • Replaced trail markers
  • Made and installed intersection/directional signs
  • Bell Smith Springs
  • Replaced and added reassurance markers

SHAWNEE FOREST EQUESTRIAN USER SURVEY

In an effort to inform legislatures and forest administrators of the number of equestrians who access the Shawnee, the STC would like to compile these statistics. We have questions for those who have either moved to the area or purchased land here; and for those who camp at local equestrian campgrounds.

In addition to recreating in the Shawnee, equestrians contribute more to the local economy than many other users of the SNF. Equestrians spend money in some or all of the following areas: camp grounds, gas stations, restaurants, tack shops, feed stores, and most importantly the purchase of property and the payment of property taxes.

Accurate and up to date equestrian user statistics are important information for legislators and administrators to help with funding and appropriate management decisions.

Please fill out the survey and help us collect equestrian user numbers for the Shawnee Forest. The first section has questions for those who have moved here or purchased land here because of the riding opportunities in the SNF.

The second section has questions for those who stay at local equestrian campgrounds for their access to the Shawnee.

We thank all of you who take the time to fill out this survey. Please tell other equestrian users who might not know about this survey so we can ensure all are included. This information will be distributed to governing officials and posted on our website.

    Did you move here or were you born here?
  • Moved
  • Born
  • Neither
    Choose way you can access the Shawnee.
  • Ride only from one of the campgrounds or trailheads
  • Ride from camping on my own property
  • Ride from my own property as a resident
  • Ride from friends property
    Do you plan to buy property in the future near the Shawnee Forest for access?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Possibly
    Have you purchased land to access the Shawnee?
  • Yes
  • No
    Have you become a resident?
  • Yes
  • No

County of Residence ____________________________

    Number of people in residence:
  • One
  • Two
  • Three
  • Four or more
    What is the primary reason for buying property or moving here?
  • Family
  • Shawnee Access
  • Climate
  • Employment
    Did you move from another state?
  • Yes
  • No

If yes which state: ______________________________

CAMPGROUND RELATED QUESTIONS

    Do you camp at local campgrounds?
  • Yes
  • No
    Do you have a permanent campsite at a campground?
  • Yes
  • No
    How far do you travel to stay at a campground?
  • Less than 50 miles
  • 50 – 100 miles
  • 101- 500 miles
  • More than 500 miles
    How often do you camp at a local equestrian campground?
  • Several weekends a month
  • One week a year
  • Every weekend possible
  • Several weeks a year
    Choose number of campers:
  • 1-2
  • 3-6
  • 6-10
  • 10 or more

Your Name ____________________________________

Mail to:
Shawnee Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 44
Eddyville, IL 62928


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