Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New interpretive panels

As you've seen, we are planning two river viewpoints. It's been suggested that we construct small shelters at these locations, and I'm interested in hearing what others think of that idea.

In the meantime, the plan is to include an interpretive panel at each river viewpoint. For subjects, my first thought is to have one explaining how rivers change course over time, the forces of erosion and what man-made structures can affect erosion. This panel would be at the end of the southern trail and include historic aerial views of the river, which show how it's changed over time.

The second panel would discuss the Pigs Lake habitat, how it's created by groundwater levels fed by the Mokelumne River and the critters that call it home. Wood ducks, for example, breed here. The panel also would include some history, such as why it's called Pigs Lake.

If you have ideas on other subjects that might be more relevant to these locations (and don't duplicate the wildlife/watershed information provided at the entrance to the Nature Area), please leave your suggestions.

Here's an example of the type of panel we might look to install.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A few more details ...

On the trails. ... We're hoping to build the trail at roughly riverbank height, which would serve to contain water within Pigs Lake and keep it from overflowing into the rest of the Nature Area during times of high river water. We saw what happened in June, when high flows on the river led to Pigs Lake spilling over at three locations into the rest of the Nature Area. About 10 large oaks fell during this time, because they don't like wet feet in the summer.
With this project, Pigs Lake could hold more water before we release it through some type of drainage system that doesn't erode the trails (like it did in June/July).
You can see in these photos from July how running water spilling out of Pigs Lake eroded the trails. It forced the City to close the park for about a week until the surfaces dried.
We plan on applying for the latest version of the same grant program that rejected our efforts to stabilize the riverbank at its narrowest point. This proposal, which we're calling the Mokelumne River Overlook Trails Project, is based on feedback we received from those in charge of making the awards.
This trails project would add approximately 720 feet of new "official" trail and improve about 200 feet of the existing system. It would increase access to the park on the south end of Pigs Lake, and allow visitors in wheelchairs to reach river views (that they don't have now). In the meantime, we will continue looking for options to repair the eroding riverbank with other funding.
If we have an elevated trail behind Pigs Lake, it could serve as a backstop to flooding in the Nature Area if there is a catastrophic weather event and the narrow riverbank at Pigs Lake disintegrates before we find the money to get it fixed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another drawing from our Public Works Dept.

Here's another view from the perspective of the Public Works Department. It's more focused on the technical aspects than the other illustration attached to this blog.

More details about the project

The City is interested in providing two platform overlooks next to the Mokelumne River. Currently there is one overlook, but it is severely eroded. This project, if funded, would repair damage to that overlook in addition to extending a trail around Pigs Lake and creating a second view point for the community.

A trail completely around Pigs Lake is not feasible, given how narrow the riverbank is at some points. A horseshoe-shaped trail, however, will provide nearly as much access.

PLEASE provide your comments and feedback on what you think of this concept, or if you have a different idea of what a new trail system should look like.

We're looking to expand the Lodi Lake Park Nature Area trails

Tens of thousands of visitors come through the Lodi Lake Nature Area each year and use its trails for exercise, recreation, viewing wildlife and sometimes just to find some peace.

The existing trail system "officially" ends at Pigs Lake, which offers several options to return back to the Nature Area's entrance. The City is contemplating an expansion of the trail system to circle most of the way around Pigs Lake, offering visitors two vista points from which to view the Mokelumne River and Pigs Lake.

Spur trails to the north and south of Pigs Lake aren't part of the official trail system, but we're looking to improve those with elevated pathways that are wheelchair accessible that terminate at platforms with river overlooks.

Be sure to view the concept illustration below.