BOARD APPROVED FEB. 2010

Meeting: Thursday, 7 PM, Jan. 28, 2010

Dan Del Missier, Billy Day, Bob Norberg, Wayne Watson, Deb Lowney, Ralph Broshes, Dave Brann, Molly Brann

Additional input Robert Archibald & Alan Parks

EXISTING CONDITIONS – BAYCREST

Trailheads, Parking, Facilities, Signs, Plowing:

Lower Trails – Roger’s Loop Trailhead:  Users can park and access the lower Baycrest trails on Roger’s Loop. There is parking for 15 – 20 vehicles on the widened shoulder. Outhouses are in the Homer Demonstration Forest 1/4 mile down the trail.  Signs and a kiosk for information are at the trailhead.  It is plowed by the State.

Lower Trails – Baycrest DOT Sterling Highway Trailhead:  Parking and access is available on DOT State land at the top of Baycrest Hill.  This site was specifically purchased with STIP (State Transportation Improvement Project) funds for a skiing trailhead.  There is parking for a large number of cars.  It is suitable for buses and events.  A large muskeg on adjacent Borough land serves as a stadium for events and access to the Diamond Creek City Park land.  A storage shed, picnic table, signs and kiosk mark this trailhead.  A portable outhouse is rented for the ski season.  A Highway sign indicates this is a Nordic Ski area.  It is plowed by KNSC with occasional assistance from DOT.

Upper trails – Sunset Loop Trailhead:  There is a parking lot 2.1 mile from the west end of Diamond Ridge Road on a Borough owned parcel which is the future site of Diamond Ridge Emergency Services.  The signed site accommodates about 25 cars.  An outhouse is located in the parking lot.  It is plowed by KNSC.

Access points:  Parking for about 5 cars is plowed by KNSC at the Rucksack access point on Diamond Ridge.  There are additional neighborhood access points without parking in Eagle View and Mountain Park Subdivisions.

Trails, Description, Ownership, Equipment:

The KNSC has developed and maintains a non-motorized winter trail system at Baycrest.  The system encompasses over 35 kilometers (around 20 miles).  Due to differences in elevation, trail and snow conditions often vary from the lower to the upper trails.  Some areas include spectacular scenic vistas.  These trails are primarily used for recreational skiing and school team practice.  They are groomed for skating with tracks set for classical skiing when possible.  The main loops and trailheads are groomed first.  Neighborhood access and connecting trails are groomed as time allows.  No direction is mandated allowing the skier freedom to choose from a large combination of possible loops and connections.  The lower trails are dog friendly.  The upper trails are dog free down to the Midway connector trail.  A dog user trail connects the Rucksack access point to the lower trails.

The KNSC maintains a signed snowshoe trail that is basically separate from the ski trails starting at Roger’s Loop and partially following the summer Homestead Hiking trail.

The summer Homestead Hiking Trail includes significant boardwalk trail sections.  The Homer Demonstration Forest and the Land Trust manage the summer trail.  It has trailheads at Roger’s Loop and Rucksack and continues to the City Reservoir.  A Nature Trail, an Arboretum and a shorter hiking trail are also managed by the HDF.  These trails make the HDF a popular summer hiking destination.

Land ownership on the lower trail system consists of a combination of State, Borough, City, and privately owned land.  The Department of Natural Resources owns the 360-acre Homer Demonstration Forest (HDF) managed by the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District.  The HDF is managed for educational forestry purposes with the understanding that recreation, including skiing, is a legitimate use.  The Kenai Peninsula Borough owns smaller parcels, which are critical to KNSC access to the trails.  The City of Homer owns 275 acres of Diamond Creek Park land purchased by the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust in 2007 and given to the city for non-motorized recreational use.  Much of the Diamond Creek City Park and HDF is surrounded by private property.  Those property owners are working with the KNSC to provide additional trails and access.  In some cases conservation easements have been given.

The KNSC has signed Memorandum of Agreements (MOA’s) with State, Borough and City officials, allowing us to manage ski trails on their property.  These are temporary land use agreements, not permanent trail easements.

Formal agreements (MOA’s) are being signed with over 30 private landowners.  Most have expressed an interest in granting written agreements (MOA’s) or long-term easements on their properties.  Some trail rerouting is expected as (MOA’s) are signed.  It is a slow process because changes often require cooperation between neighboring landowners.  The trails across private property are generally considered to be winter trails.  Summer trail use, maintained by the KNSC, is anticipated in some locations as a result of landowner interest and preparing trails for early winter use.

Some Public Recreational Easements (PRE) have been signed and filed with KNSC.  The PRE, a result of HB 25 in 2008, protects the private landowner when allowing their land to be used for public recreation.

Three snow machines, a power groomer, rollers, drags, track setters, storage shed and bulk gas tank are stored at private residences.
NEEDS ASSESSMENT – BAYCREST

Short Term Goals – Baycrest:

1.   Trailhead – parking – access – plowing

a.    Develop the DOT trailhead for year round use.

b.    Secure property on Rogers’ Loop for trailhead parking and access.

c.    Maintain trailhead and year round access on Diamond Ridge.

d.    Provide access to snowshoe and dog-friendly trails from Diamond Ridge.

e.    Improve access from neighborhoods.

f.    Research alternate options for access and parking.

2.   Facilities – Outhouses – Lighted trails

a.    Improve facilities at Rogers’ Loop Trailhead.

b.    Upgrade and improve access to outhouses at Rogers Loop.

c.    Work with Diamond Ridge Emergency Services for parking and facilities on Diamond Ridge Sunset Trailhead.

3.   Signage – maps – kiosks

a.    Continue sign project to improve loop identification, private property and trail use information.  Install permanent signs.

b.    Update maps.

c.    Collect information to quantify and document how the trail is being used.

d.    Install “SLOW – TRAILHEAD” caution signs on Rogers’ Loop.

4.   MOA – Permanent Trail Easements

a.    Finish signing MOA’s with private landowners.

b.    Plan for alternate routes if trail easements or permission goes away.

c.    Encourage landowners to sign a Public Recreational Easement form.

d.    Encourage Permanent Trail Easements with landowners.

5.   Trails – Bridges

a.    Upgrade bridges across Diamond Creek as needed.

b.    Use equipment to improve trails by ditching, leveling, and removing stumps to create wide, flat trails that can be used with minimal snow.

c.    Expand the snowshoe trail system.

d.    Remove hazard trees.

e.    Mow trails in summer and fall.

f.    Collaborate with HDF, the City and private landowners for all-season trails.

g.    Work with the City of Homer for trail development and maintenance on Diamond Creek City Park land.

6.   Equipment

a. Have 4 machines available to groom the Marathon Connector Trail, trails at public schools, and the additional length of the Baycrest system.

Long Term Goals – Baycrest:

1.   Trailhead – Access – Parking

a.    Purchase land near Rucksack for parking and access.

b.    Purchase land adjacent to the DOT parking lot to access Diamond Creek City Park or get permanent trail easement across Borough land.

2.   Facilities – Outhouses – Lighted trails

a.    Develop an area with lighting, warming hut, equipment storage and maintenance building.

b.    Develop lighted loop with low-level efficient lights on lower trails.

3.   Signage – Maps – Kiosks

a.    Make trails permanent so maps and signs can be developed.

4.   MOA and Permanent Trail Easements

a.    Develop Permanent Trail Easements with public and private landowners.

5.   Trails – Bridges

a.    Build strong, wide bridges to accommodate heavy equipment.

6.   Equipment

a.    Purchase ATV with tracks for grooming and year round use.

b.    Hire operator and maintenance personnel.

c.    Purchase piston bully.