The Students: Michelle Bean, Elissa Fackerell, Jennifer Hull, Kathy Young
The Teacher: Clinton A. Kennedy
Helping Transform a Railroad Bed Into a Recreational Use Trail.
As a part of the Advanced Biology Class at Cascade High School we were required to take on a project involving new enviromental decisions. After researching enviromental problems and projects around the community, we became interested in a 2.3 mile stretch of abandoned railroad bed that runs along Cascade Reservoir on the north side of the dam. The future use of the trail has been controversial due to the fact that some residents are proposing that the grade be turned into a country road leading to Vista Point and other potential subdivisions. Other residents wanted to see the bed transformed into a recreational use trail. Our attention was drawn to the trail proposal because of the enormous amount of opprotunities it holds for Cascade and residents of all ages. Our idea for the trail is similar to the Bureau of Reclamations Crown Point Conservation and Open Space Habitat Improvement Plan. The Bureau has listed eight plans of action, and we intend to build upon a number of these actions.
1) The Bureaus second action is to slow runoff and storm water near the culverts which would decrease the amount of sediments entering the reservoir. In addition we would like to reroute and seed the paths leading to the reservoir. In doing this we would allow the vegetation to stop sediments from entering the reservoir.
2) The Bureaus fourth action is to add non motorized signs and place barricades to prevent vehicles from entering the railroad grade. Instead of using the steel barricades that are in place now, we would use natural rocks and other rustic material to create a more user friendly atmosphere. We would also like to add interpretive signs along the trail. These signs will provide information on nature and history along with pictures of the reservoir, railroad grade, and surrounding areas. Also, at the beginning of the trail we would like to place a user log. In doing this we will be able to record the use of the trail, and also receive comments and suggestions from the public.
3) The Bureaus fifth action is to establish, construct, and maintain osprey platforms, Bat boxes, Great Gray Owl platforms, Northern Flicker Boxes, and Wood Duck Boxes. In addition, we would like to construct Eagle nesting platforms with help from the Boise National Forest Agency.
4) The Bureaus sixth action is to remove the abandoned barbed wire fence running along the trail. When removing the barbed wire, we would also take the time to pick up all trash and clean up sitting areas through raking and thinning.
5) One hundred Ponderosona pine seedlings will be transplanted from areas where they are overstocked and then planted into the old sand quarry on the north end of the railroad grade. We would also like to add to this part of the proposal, planting other vegetation and seedlings in picnic areas.
6) Contract for a one time grading of the railroad grade to allow for a smoother surface for non motorized transportation such as walking, bicycling, equestrian, etc. This grading will be limited to width to approximately 6 and will also produce a crown in the middle of the trail of approximately 3 in height. The purpose of the crown is to allow for improved storm water runoff thereby reducing the large puddling which occurs during and immediately after storm events. In future years, we would like to see the trail be resurfaced with asphalt and another type of surfacing which we have not decided on yet. In doing this, fewer sediments would be deposited into the lake, and be a higher quality trail for users.
7) In addition to the above plans we have ideas which the Bureau has not touched upon. They include stairs for easier access to the lake, areas off the edge of the trail which could be used for day use or overnight use, and developing a permit that would allow handicap people to access the trail with an electric motor vehicle, such as a small golf cart or wheel chair. The largest change that we would like to integrate into the proposal is connecting the Crown Point trail with the City trail which runs along the Payette River. In order to connect the two trails, the Damn Rd. would be annexed and a pedestrian crossing would be placed across Highway 55.
*Bold Lettering denotes Kathy, Michelle, Elissa, and Jennifers proposal additions
Our Goals and Objectives
In order to achieve the goals we have set for this trail project, we will most importantly, have to gain the support and enthusiasm of the community members. We will first begin by applying for grants we feel are suitable for our project. In hopes of recieveing the money awarded through the grants, we will be able to achieve the following goals......
*cleaning up of trash and hazards
*place distance marker every 1/4 mile for trail users
*devise a plan to control erosion, including the rerouting of paths leading to lake and seed planting
*design and set interprative signs which will include imformation about various subject(historical lake, dam, town, logging, railroad, nature, animals, and other ideas as they come along. Do you have one? Let us know.)
*construct and set picnic tables and covered benches
*constructing wildlife habitat
*someday, with the use of the dam hill, connect the Crown Point trail with the City of Cascade trail which runs along the Payette River.
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