CAUGHTCHA BEING GOOD!
Sunrise Academy Students
During a beautiful spring day this week, students from Sunrise Academy were Caught being GOOD as they rolled up their sleeves and helped to rake and clear leaves and brush from the grounds surrounding Noble Pines Senior Apartments. Good job and thanks very much!
Elk Rapids Almanac
March/April - Spring comes to Lake Michigan. Up early, urged out of bed by the certainty that there’s not a moment to lose. It’s spring! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! On the beach the air is saturated with fragrance and freighted with promise. A breeze drifts across the dunes; birdsong sparks from the treetop. Then, over the hills to the east, the scarlet edge of morning cracks the sky like a distant fire and suddenly the lake is shimmering with light and color. (Author Jerry Dennis: https://bigmaplepress.com or https://Jerrydennis.net)
March 24 - The neighborhood red fox, with the day’s catch in its mouth, walked down the middle of Ottawa Street in the afternoon. (Greg Reisig)
March 26 - Noticed today that the male goldfinches at our bird feeder are turning bright yellow as they do in spring and summer. (Jane Stauffer)
March 25 - Today we heard a flock of Sand Hill Cranes fly over the forest while we were taking a walk. It was too foggy to view them. (Gary and Jane Stauffer)
April 3-9 - This week we had a flicker, a downy woodpecker, a pileated woodpecker, and a red-bellied woodpecker at the feeders and/or in the trees. (Terri Reisig)
April 5 - The Steelhead were in behind the dam the last week of March. Saw two, caught one, other people caught four-five. Previous day there were two fish caught. It was a beautiful day, but cool behind the dam. Hoping for warmer weather. Fishing between the rains this week. (Pat Stites)
April 7 - The red fox was back again, walking through the yard, stopping here and there before it visited the neighbor’s yard. It looks like it is losing its hair. I wonder if this is the same fox that gorged itself on the mulberries in the yard last summer. (Terri Reisig)
April 7 - A red fox appeared in our backyard, and had no hair on his tail and a bald spot on one hip. A bit of research indicated it has mange. Sarcoptic mange (sarcoptes scabeii) occurs in urban foxes, caused by mites, often from returning year after year to the same den. The outlook for the fox is grim, and mange can often devastate a fox population for years. (Royce Ragland)
April 13 - I was surprised by the turkeys coming out of the nature trail, one afternoon, about 5:30 p.m. Two hours later eight of them came back to roost in the pines. I grabbed my camera and went out to take pics. They took off and I felt like I was in a Jurassic Park movie. They are huge and lumbersome when taking flight. I was quite scared, as I have never been that close to Pterodactyl turkeys! (Polly Vandenbroek)
TART Trail organizers hold Q&A session with area growers
Steve Yencich, Contributing Writer
On April 6, approximately 20 orchard growers attended a promised meeting with TART Trail organizers. TART Trail Executive Director Julie Clark opened the meeting by acknowledging the organization had made mistakes by failing to open lines of communication with affected growers sooner than they did. She and Planning and Development Manager Chris Cushman both apologized for being slow to reach out to landowners earlier in the process.
Landowners with property adjacent to the proposed trail took the opportunity to raise longstanding concerns in a sometimes contentious meeting. Many concerns revolved around the trail’s proposed location, potential liability issues, as well as planning, construction and maintenance costs.
Ms. Clark apologized for the confusion, some of which she believed may have stemmed from the organization’s Traverse City to Charlevoix Trail – Concept Plan and Development Guide. “I emphasize that this publication is conceptual in nature,” said Clark. “The one thing I can guarantee is that the plan and proposed location of the trail will change based on landowner and public input.” She and Cushman repeatedly stated that detailed maps and plans would be produced to prompt questions and provide community input.
Some growers questioned why the plan did not make more use of rural roads that would take cyclists away from heavy road traffic and proximity to existing orchards. Clark indicated that preferred alternatives would have to be assessed based on cost, engineering factors and age-related issues such as the ability to traverse steep hills.
Potential liability exposures
Chris Cushman indicated that no suits had ever been filed against growers with orchards adjacent to the Traverse City to Suttons Bay trail. Some growers pushed back on this statement, indicating that the absence of lawsuits there did not preclude the possibility of lawsuits against adjacent landowners elsewhere. Ms. Clark acknowledged this, indicating that lawsuits can be filed at any time and for any reason. She indicated that it would be important for TART to address significant liability concerns so as to lessen the potential for lawsuits to an acceptable level.
One of the most significant concerns raised was a potential liability exposure for growers when spraying crops with pesticides. Growers said that the DNR has zero tolerance for worker or public exposure to pesticides caused by wind drift. Regulations, they said, do no allow for reentry to sprayed areas for up to two days after application. Given the proximity of the trail to existing orchards, growers were also concerned with potential costs, should they have to cut portions of their orchards to protect against cyclist exposure to pesticides.
Growers rejected the idea that such potential liability could be mitigated by application of pesticides after nightfall, citing cost considerations and the inability to know whether the trail was vacant with 100% certainty. Both Clark and Cushman acknowledged that such concerns would have to be addressed to protect the public and adjacent land owners as well.
Development, construction and maintenance costs
Both Clark and Cushman reiterated that their plan was to cover 70% of total project costs through state and federal grants, with the remainder coming from private contributions from service organizations, outdoor recreation groups and individuals. Maintenance costs would necessarily be covered by the townships, villages and other governmental units through which the trail would travel, but only on a voluntary basis. It was clear that Clark and Kushman both believe that the economic impact of trail user expenditures would ultimately outweigh the costs involved, ultimately making maintenance costs acceptable to village and townships alike.
Growers repeatedly called for the creation of a mechanism whereby cyclists could contribute to project costs. Several landowners pointed to the fact that they must register snowmobiles and boats with the State and wondered why cyclists could not be required to put some skin in the game. State registration of bikes would require action by legislators in Lansing and would likely be met with opposition, most notably from a Republican House and Senate that have, with some exceptions, been adverse to tax or fee increases on Michigan residents.
There was give and take on a variety of other concerns, which helped further expand TART’s punch list of things that must be done to win landowner and community support for the trail. TART Trails representatives listened and responded to all concerns. They acknowledged that the trail’s development would be a long and arduous process that would require public input and support.
By meeting’s end, some facts remained unchanged. There remains no opposition to the trail, but clearly the concerns of growers will need to be sufficiently addressed to enable the project to move forward. Secondly, outdoor recreation is one of Michigan’s most popular tourist activities, be it fishing, hunting, skiing, biking or hiking, and each contributes to the local and state economy.
Years from now, should the trail move forward to completion, it will be added to existing amenities that will benefit seasonal visitors and area residents alike, making this region of the state more attractive to all. Finally, tourism is this state’s third largest industry.
Providing landowner concerns can be addressed, the establishment of a TC to Charlevoix trail would appear to be a win-win for all concerned.
Come celebrate Earth Day this Saturday, April 22 at the HERTH from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and was created to make people aware of the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean. GreenER is providing activities using discarded water bottles that can be recycled. Or bring your recyclable items and create your own project. Plan on coming and joining the fun! Call 264-6616 for more information.
Green Elk Rapids 2017 Calendar
April 22 - Earth Day workshop. Plastic water bottle project. 10 a.m. - 12 noon. HERTH, 401 River Street.
April 23 – Storm drain labeling project, 8:30 – 4:30 p.m. Downtown Elk Rapids
April 29 – MDOT Highway clean-up
May 7 - Before The Flood documentary. 12:30 p.m. Elk Rapids Cinema, 205 River Street. Free admission.
May 9 - GreenER Reads Water Knife. 5-7 p.m. Siren Hall, 151 River Street.
May 13 - Super Recycling. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Village recycling site, Bridge Street. Hazardous Waste county collection. 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. DPW site, Lake Street.
May 15 - Community tour of new wastewater treatment plant. 10 a.m.
May 15 - Special Village Council meeting. “Water Matters” speakers on local, regional and global water issues. 6:30 p.m. HERTH, 401 River Street.
May 27 - GreenER Community Hike. 10 a.m. Camp Maplehurst.
July 6 - Rain author Cynthia Barnett. 5:30 p.m. Marina Pavilion, Elk Rapids Harbor.
Questions: 231-264-0618; Details, maps, updates: www.greenelkrapids.org.
VILLAGE OF ELK RAPIDS