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General comments on Oct.13 hearing
Besides our own comments, there were comments buy others that need to be responded to.
- I think most of the user groups felt cut out of the process by the state planning people. It would have gone better if the horse, bike and hikers had met with the planners with a map in front of them. All were in general agreement that more trails should be multiuse. After the hearing I talked to Tom Lyon about this and he said that Nancy Stoner had been to overloaded to take that approach. Perhaps we can argue for slow down the process and do it right.
- There were others there (Audubon, etc.) that argued for no new trails because of fragmentation. I believe that the jury is still out on whether narrow trails contribute to fragmentation. We need to reference the evidence.
- There were comments, by bikers, about bad blazing and maintenance on some of our trails, I think between Breakneck Ridge and Beacon. We need to be sure that these issues are addressed promptly. The plan itself makes numerous comments about maintenance deficiencies, mostly wet spots. These were the result of the trail assessments done by the park in 2009. Those kinds of remarks should not be part of the plan but conveyed to us promptly so they get fixed.
- There were several speakers who advocated for hiker fees (mostly hunters - they pay). We need to emphasize the value of out maintenance. We should have presented those numbers. I think we can ding the hunters for not volunteering very much and in particular for not solving the deer problem by killing enough. If the general population hunters aren't effective then sharpshooters should be employed.