CAMBr South UpdateHi everyone, greetings from your CAMBr South Regional Director. Even with the Covid lockdown, there has been a lot going on, so I thought it would be good to give an update on what’s happening.
First, there have been some changes on the CAMBr and South Boards. I am now wearing two hats, as CAMBr Executive Director and South Regional Director. Stan Slager, our long time Trail Director has decided to retire. Thanks Stan, for all your great work and the awesome trails you’ve designed and built over the years! Stan will still be around this summer helping out, and Jerry Stoeckigt, the former CAMBr Executive Director will be taking the South Trail Director slot. In another change, Steve Mitoraj is relocating up to LaCrosse and is handing off South Treasury duties to Phil Oynschuck. Please also thank Steve for keeping all the $’s straight! Also new to the CAMBr Board is Tom Varvaro, our new Marketing Director. Tom will be focusing on building membership and our digital presence.
Since the lockdown started in March, we have not been able to conduct full-blown workdays. However, the FPD has permitted solo work on the trails, so we’ve had a small crew of Jerry’s “trail bosses” out taking care of minor maintenance such as clearing mud-holes and doing what we can to get water off the trails. So, in spite of the wettest May on record, the trails overall are in pretty good shape. That said, there are a few areas that are pretty messed up. If you’ve been out, I’m sure you’ve seen the traffic on the trails is way up…for both riders and hikers. The Forest Preserve leadership told us this is the case across the system and there has been a lot of environmental damage due to the high load. Also many of the people getting out are new to the preserves and aren’t familiar how to protect the trails and sensitive areas.
The good news is now that we’re moving into Phase 3, we are going to have latitude to start trail work again. Because the FPD is closely adhering to Illinois and CDC guidelines, work will be limited to groups of ten, and all work will be “private” meaning that only experienced people will be allow to work (to support social distancing) and invite only. What this means is that we won’t be posting public workdays for all comers, and we’ll be sending out invites to a list of known, experienced people and capping attendance when we have enough people for what’s been planned. If you are an experienced trail worker and would like to get on the list, please send me an email at email@example.com.
This is the process that will be in place through at least the end of June, and I suspect it’ll probably be what we’ll be doing for the rest of 2020. However, the restrictions aren’t that bad and I think we’ll be able to do what’s needed for the critical repair work.
Also collateral damage from Covid this year will be the Palos Meltdown. Given the restrictions of the Restore Illinois plan and likely FPD policy, we aren’t going to be able to support a mass gathering event such as the Meltdown. Also given the uncertainty of when the Covid crisis will pass, we didn’t believe that simply postponing the event would be prudent. Let’s just hope we make our way through this problem and we can get back to another great Meltdown in 2021!
New trail work may also be a casualty, but we’ll see. We’ve been working with the FPD for a while now to get approval to build a new trail from the end of the staging area parking lot (Maple Lake East) over to the east end of Burrito Hill. This trail would take a lot of pressure off the connectors out of the staging area and complete a big loop that we’ve always wanted. New trail construction is the best opportunity to put big groups of people to work and given the current restrictions and maintenance backlog due to the late start, it remains to be seen if we can start this project. Also on the agenda is a re-route of Stonehenge/Posthole from 95th Street to Willow Springs Woods. This winter and spring were devastating on the existing trail and a re-route is really needed. We’ve marked a potential corridor, but don’t have final approval on the alignment for this one.
So, in spite of Covid19, CAMBr South, like everyone else, is getting by and making progress. While we may not have any big events this summer, the trails are open and in good shape, so get out and ride. Physical activity in times of stress is one of the best things you can do for yourself. But please be careful and forget about the KOM’s for a while. There are a lot of people using the trails right now and we all need to be respectful to not to wind up hurting each other.
Thanks to all you CAMBr members for your support, and if you’re not a CAMBr member, please help us out by joining at https://cambr.org/join.php. If you have any questions or comments, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Region/Executive Director