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Author Topic: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking  (Read 34533 times)

tjuillerat

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Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« on: April 04, 2012, 12:11:53 AM »
It's time to get organized and gather support for mountain biking in Eagle Creek Park.  A new administration brings new opportunities and we will be intensifying our efforts in the coming weeks and months with the goal of getting access and approval.
 
Did you know that HMBA proposed a professionally built and designed 6-8 mile trail system on the west side of Eagle Creek over ten years ago?  This trail system would not utilize any land in the Eagle's Crest Nature Preserve.  It would only utilize park land that currently sees little-to-no use. 
 
Stay tuned here for how to get involved.   Until then, feel free to let Mayor Ballard's office know that you support the development of mountain bike trails in Eagle Creek Park.  http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Mayor/getintouch/Pages/ContactUs.aspx
 
You can also join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MountainBikeTrailsInEagleCreekPark to show your support. 
 
Tell me and I forget; show me and I remember; involve me and I understand.
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edf

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 09:20:47 AM »
I was out of town on the date of the annual meeting and was unable to attend the Indianapolis advocacy meeting. Is there a plan in place to lobby the city and/or open a dialogue with groups that may oppose such trails?
Iím not familiar with the previous arguments (or the groups behind them) against the potential trails, but I had assumed it had to do with the nature preserve. But in looking at the planning documents for the park, there is still a significant chunk of property west of the preserve and north of the golf course, which is where Iím guessing the trail(s) would be located. What were the arguments against the use of this land? Was golf course expansion an issue? 
Thanks,
Ed

Paul_Arlinghaus

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 08:34:24 PM »
Update:  The previous Director of Indy Parks resigned a couple weeks ago.  We believe he was told he wasn't going to be reinstated so he should start looking for a new job.  The change in Park leadership was due to the Mayor not being happy with Indy Parks.

Mayor Ballard is very much an advocate of cycling.  While he is not a mountain biker, he does very much want to see Indianapolis increase its ranking as a bicycle friendly city. 

While I used to think that HMBA was being singled out by Indy Parks, I eventually came to realize that there was a long list of organizations and user groups who were unhappy with the way Indy Parks dealt with them. 

I do believe that the changes in Park Leadership and the Mayor's desire to see Indy become bike friendly will create the changes we need to see in Indy Park's culture. 

The previous leadership refused to even consider Eagle Creek.  I want to be very clear that HMBA is done asking nicely about Eagle Creek.  We require Eagle Creek to be on the table and see progress towards a trail master plan that includes Eagle Creek. 

The best thing those who live near Eagle Creek can do is to get involved in HMBA efforts.  Come build trails at Fort Ben, be ready for new trail construction at SWW, Got to a trail maintenance day at BCSP, etc...  Post on the Eagle creek face book page about the trail work you are doing else where.  If I have a list of active volunteers who are experienced and ready to volunteer at Eagle Creek, that will help with our efforts.

Also, please consider going to the Mayor's bike ride this Saturday.  http://pedalandpark.org/2012/03/31/mayor-ballards-spring-fever-bike-ride/  It will be a causual pace so ride your mountain bike.  Yes, the trails will likely be dry, so you may have to pass on a trail ride to attend, but if trails at Eagle Creek are important to you, you are going to have to make some sacrifices.  Let the Mayor see a lot of riders on mountain bikes!

Also, be ready for the Indy Greenway's 5 year plan that will have public input this year.  We will need lots of mountain bikers to go to meetings, fill out surveys, etc.... 

If you wish to contact the Mayor's office asking for trails at Eagle Creek, you are free to do so.  Please remember that the Mayor is Pro Cycling and we are seeing the beginnings of the changes needed for Indianapolis to some day be a mountain bike friendly city.

HMBA: Director of Trail Development / Secretary

mtbikernate

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012, 12:51:21 PM »
I would love to get involved with this project this summer.  I wondered for years why there were no trails in that park.  I hope to be back in Indy permanently by June to help.

tjuillerat

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 09:53:32 PM »
Here is a Google Map of the proposed trailbuilding area (Eagle Creek Area L).  Rough conceptual drawings of trails have been included, but are in no way actual trail designs.

 
Additional maps and topos of the area can be found on the Facebook page:
 
https://www.facebook.com/MountainBikeTrailsInEagleCreekPark#!/media/set/?set=a.267071136717664.61269.256647391093372&type=1
 
 
 
 
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tjuillerat

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 10:49:37 AM »
Hey folks... this Saturday (4/14) is the City County Councillor Quarterly Town Hall Meeting were folks will have the opportunity to meet the new Indy Parks Director.  Several of us are planning to attend in support of mountain biking at Eagle Creek Park. 
 
This is a chance to voice a need for trails as well as some frustrations over the delay in granting access to Eagle Creek.  The purpose of this meeting is to not throw rocks at the new Director (he's on our side!), but to show a supportive and strong volunteer group who is excited to work together and move forward with this new administration.
 
Wear your HMBA shirt, or something that shows you are there to support mountain biking in IndyParks parks.  And be sure to thank them for the trails we currently ride!
 
Where: Flanner  and Buchanan Community Center  ~ 2950 N. High School Road.
When: Saturday, April 14
Time: 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
 
I just may bring my bike for a ride after the meeting.  Hope to see others there!
Tell me and I forget; show me and I remember; involve me and I understand.
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tjuillerat

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 08:58:15 PM »
Huge thanks to those who came out today for the Town Hall Meeting.  We probably had 8-10 mountain bikers present. 
 
Indy Parks is definitely aware we are knocking on their door and hopefully going forward they will continue to be as receptive as they seemed today.  There's a long road ahead, but having a good showing at these public meetings is a great start.  Indy Parks and Eagle Creek Park management both agreed that the topic of mountain biking deserves some conversations and hopefully we will see it on the agenda of an upcoming Town Hall meeting soon.
 
Please continue to show your support for mountain biking in Eagle Creek Park.  Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MountainBikeTrailsInEagleCreekPark and continue sending your encouraging letters to the Mayor.  http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Mayor/getintouch/Pages/ContactUs.aspx
 
 
Tell me and I forget; show me and I remember; involve me and I understand.
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sdaniels

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 10:39:36 AM »
I  missed this thread, will the next Town Hall meeting be posted? I went ahead and sent a letter to the Mayor and would like to continue to help in anyway that I can.  Currently I am not an official member of HMBA, but will be paying my membership dues in a few weeks when a little extra money comes my way.  If there is any other way to help other than joining the facebook page and writing the mayor, please let me know! Thanks for all you do.



jim_michaux

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2012, 05:16:19 PM »
an email response from the city...
 
April 25, 2012
 
Dear Mr. Murren:
 
Thank you for your interest in Eagle Creek Park.  With 1,400 acres of water and 3,900 acres of forest, Eagle Creek is one of the largest city parks in the nation. It offers Indianapolis residents and visitors unique opportunities for exploration, enjoyment, and discovery of nature.
 
Sustaining Eagle Creek Park's environmental health while offering a variety of activities and amenities is a balance that Indy Parks strives to maintain.   Recently, questions related to mountain biking in Eagle Creek have been raised by members of our community, and we believe the issue is one that merits public discussion. 
 
Indy Parks staff is in the process of scheduling a listening session as a starting point for this process. Once a date and venue are finalized, Indy Parkswill provide that information via www.indy.gov/parks, and will email it directly to you and others who have inquired about the topic in recent weeks.
 
Best regards,
 
Sarah M. Taylor
Director of Constituent Services
Office of Mayor Gregory A. Ballard
City of Indianapolis
 

sdaniels

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2012, 03:59:36 PM »
I got that exact same reply when I wrote in. Must be a form letter, the good news is, a form letter means they had to respond to a large amount of letters (hopefully)!

tjuillerat

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2012, 10:47:30 AM »
We will be sure to keep everyone informed of the upcoming public meeting to discuss mountain biking.  It will be extremely important to have a strong showing at these public meetings.  In the mean time, join us on the Mountan Bike Trails in Eagle Creek Park Facebook page to show your support and join in the discussions.
 
https://www.facebook.com/MountainBikeTrailsInEagleCreekPark
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tjuillerat

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 11:27:37 AM »
A new website has been created as a "clearing house" for information on mountain biking at Eagle Creek Park.
 
Go to www.eaglecreekmountainbiking.com for all the info!
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 09:23:22 AM by tjuillerat »
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tjuillerat

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 09:22:34 AM »
Below is an post from Indianapolis District 6 City-Councillor, Janice McHenry on the Eagles Watch Home Owners Association web site in regards to the proposed mountain bike trails at Eagle Creek Park. Councillor McHenry hosted the first Town Hall meeting a few weeks ago where it was mentioned that a public meeting would be held to begin discussions on the proposed trails.
 


Birds Desperately Need Your Help at Eagle Creek Park
Bird advocates,
I am imploring you to take two simple actions to help the birds at Eagle Creek Park.  There is a strong push by mountain bike enthusiasts to place several miles of bike trails on the west side of Eagle Creek Park.  The official trails will not enter the nature preserve but they will border the area.  There is indication that the mayor and new park director will give the go-ahead for bike trails as early as this week.  Therefore, it is imperative that you call and write the mayor now.
Step 1
Call the mayors action hotline at 327-4MAC (327-4622).  You will speak with someone who will take your message down and send to the mayor's office.  Be courteous and tell the person that you oppose mountain bike trails at Eagle Creek Park.  It can be simple as saying "I want the mayor to know that I am strongly opposed to mountain bike trails at Eagle Creek Park."  You can provide your name and phone number but it is not required.  This will take two minutes, so do it as soon as po! ssible.
Step 2
Contact the mayor by email at http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Mayor/getintouch/Pages/ContactUs.aspx
Enter your name and contact information and provide a bit of detail why you oppose mountain bike trails at Eagle Creek Park.
Talking points include:
    * Mountain bike trails on the west side of the park will have a significant negative impact on birds, especially those of greatest conservation concern.
    * Bike trails will conflict with the current passive recreational use of the west side by birders and other wildlife watchers.   
    * Bikes are likely to increase the spread of invasive plants into the park through seeds stuck to the tires
    * Eagle Creek Park is an Audubon Important Bird Area because of its importance to both breeding and migratory birds
    * Audubon has donated tens of thousands of dollars in money and time over many decades to support the park and the new Ornithology Center.

Please use your own words to tell the mayor why maintaining the birds at Eagle Creek Park is important to you.  It is critical that you contact the mayor this week.  Writing the mayor will take 10 minutes.  So, do it!  Do it now!
Step 3
Please reply to this email to let me know that you have contacted the mayor.  This takes 30 seconds.
Step 4
Forward this email to everyone who you think will be a bird advocate and contact the mayor.  This will take three minutes.
So, in 15 minutes time you will have taken a significant conservation stand on behalf of birds.  On behalf of the Hooded Warblers and Kentucky Warblers and other birds, THANK YOU!
Background
A map of a generic mountain bike trail at Eagle Creek is available at the link below.  Page down to the link with the map.
http://www.hmba.org/smf/index.php?topic=9864.0

 
We'd like a chance to set the record straight and to debunk her "talking points".
 
"Mountain bike trails on the west side of the park will have a significant negative impact on birds, especially those of greatest   conservation concern."  There is absolutely NO scientific evidence or proof that multi-use trails in Area L would have a   significant negative impact to any plant or animal species of conservation concern.  Our opponents keep saying things like this, but they will not and cannot provide site-specific scientific evidence to back up their claims.
 
"Bike trails will conflict with the current passive recreation use of the west side by birders and other wildlife watchers".    This is correct in one sense.  Birders and other wildlife watchers are now trampling through the woods aimlessly creating rogue trails, increasing erosion and soil loss, harming vegetation, spreading invasive species and disturbing wildlife.  When well-designed trails are built, they will conflict with the current passive recreation because birders and other wildlife watchers will be discouraged from walking all over hill-and-dale in Area L.  Current research shows that when users are mostly confined to well-built and maintained trails, the surrounding environment is healthier.  The current passive recreation use in Area L is destructive.
 
"Bikes are likely to increase the spread of invasive plants into the park through seeds stuck to the tires."  Absolutely every type of outdoor recreation has the potential to increase the spread of invasive plants.  Research shows that mountain bikers are no more harmful in this regard than hikers, bird watchers or trail runners.  However, the councillor neglects to mention that mountain bikers have taken the lead in fighting invasive species at Brown County State Park, Town Run Trail Park and other places where they have built trails.  Mountain bikers take the spread of invasive species seriously, and they have donated hundreds of hours of volunteer work and money to lead the fight.  In fact, the HMBA funded the entire 2011 volunteer stilt grass control program at Brown County State Park.  What has our opposition done to fight invasive plants in Area L at Eagle Creek?
 
"Eagle Creek Park is an Audubon Important Bird Area because of its importance to both breeding and migratory birds."    Councillor, you forgot to mention to your constituents that there are currently mountain bike trails in SIX (6) Audubon Important Bird Areas statewide. Let us list them for you.  They are: Fort Harrison State Park, Harrison Crawford Forest Complex, Hoosier National Forest - Pleasant Run Unit, Hoosier National Forest - Tell City Unit, Jackson-Washington and Clark State Forests, and Potato Creek State Park.  Many areas nationwide that are Audubon IBA's have mountain biking.  Mountain biking and multi-use trails are absolutely compatible with the Audubon IBA designation.
 
"Audubon has donated tens of thousands of dollars in money and time over many decades to support the park and the new Ornithology Center."  I bet the folks at the Audubon society wouldn't be pleased to know that Area L is littered with trash including hundreds of feet of rusty fencing on the ground.  They probably also wouldn't be pleased that horribly-built rogue trails are causing harmful erosion, and that hundreds of current users simply tramp around the property with no rhyme or reason creating harm to vegetation, soil disruption and disturbing wildlife in unpredictable ways.  Did you ask the Audubon society before you decided to allow a soccer tournament with 250 teams and thousands of people to take place mere feet away from the nature preserve and a bird sanctuary?  Did you ask them before you allowed hundreds of adventure racers into the nature preserve for an event?  We didn't think so.
 
It is irresponsible of Councillor McHenry to post her biased, untrue and unproven claims on a website where proponents cannot refute or rebut her claims.  Our elected public officials should be taken to task for posting false statements or making up their mind before gathering the facts or speaking to people on both sides of an important issue that affects their  onsituents.

If you live in Councillor McHenry's district please call her office or send her an email voicing your opinions and displeasure.  Let her know that you are pro-trails, pro-mountain bike, and that you will take her stance on this matter into consideration when you vote in the next election.

Map of District 6: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/PDF/District_Maps/council6preanno.pdf

Phone/Email Contact Information: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Councillors/Biography/Pages/district_6.aspx

Also, everyone should still strongly consider contacting the mayor's office to tell him that you support mountain bike and multi-use   trails at Eagle Creek Park.

http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Mayor/getintouch/Pages/ContactUs.aspx
 
 
***SEE EMAIL RESPONSE FROM COUNCILLOR McHENRY ON PAGE 2 OF THIS THREAD***
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 04:00:09 PM by tjuillerat »
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dirtetimo13

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 01:00:07 PM »
Thanks for the heads-up @tjuillerat.
I dropped a note to the mayor's office.
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Fett

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Re: Eagle Creek Mountain Biking
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 01:22:44 PM »
I just dropped a note to the mayors office also. I tried to keep it short making one point about the advantages of having a trail there. here is what I put just as an example:
 
I wanted to voice my support for mountain biking trails at Eagle Creek. It is a large park that can support a mountain bike trail without infringing upon any nature preserve areas or other user groups. If we want to stop the "brain drain" of our best and brightest homegrown young graduates leaving the area, as a government, we need to make Indianapolis a place that is attractive to the young professionals. Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing segments of outdoor recreation and one of the most appealing to that demographic. It makes good business sense to keep our good young talent at home. Please consider this as you make decisions about the park.
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