New university nature trails in planning stages

Published by adviser, Author: Harmony Kasper - Rocket Contributor, Date: October 18, 2012
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A public meeting was held on Tuesday in the Ballroom of the Robert M. Smith Student Center discussing the development of new nature trails and improvements to the existing ones on Slippery Rock’s campus.

Christine McHenry-Glenn, an instructor in the Department of Parks and Recreation, introduced the Campus Trail Project and the graduate students from the department who gathered the information and put together the presentation.  The trails system on campus serves purpose for both recreational and alternative transportation.  The meeting outlined what already exists on campus, what is wanted for the future of the trails and the steps to make them happen.
“This project began late last spring with Dr. Randall Nichols and Jeffrey Smith from the Physical Education Department when they proposed a formalized trail system be made here on campus,” Glenn said.  Interested students decided to form the Campus Trail Committee to help with this project.
Pashek Associations, a leading landscape architecture and recreation-planning firm located in Pittsburgh have offered assistance to the Parks and Recreation department on this project.
“Graduate students from my Design for Sustainable Landscapes class have spent this semester researching this proposal and will be taking the information that they gather to create conceptual planning of the trail design, as well as management and maintenance,” Glenn said.  The initial site analysis was presented during the meeting that included an aerial map of campus that displayed the current trail system, its existing condition, and identified locations of concerns and problems.

After the presentation, the attendees broke off into the small groups and discussed the concerns and ideas for the trails.  Two main points from each group was recorded and posted near the exits.  As people left, they were to choose from the results three items that they felt were the most important to be done with the trails.  Ideas and information from the Slippery Rock community residents, as well as other communities, were gathered to help accommodate the likes of everyone in the area.

The current trails have become a useful resource for activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, biking and equestrian activities.  Some of the important points that were repeated within the group’s discussions were safety concerns, signs throughout the trails displaying animals and plants someone might encounter, the future expansion plans for the university and ways to get the community involved and informed on the trails improvements that will be taking place.

Sponsors of the meeting were the Parks and Recreation department and the Physical Education Department.

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