March 2013 Newsletter

From the Desk of the President:

After much deliberation, our Board of Directors has made the decision to forego participating in the IL Horse Fair this year. The STC has had a booth in the corner spot for over 15 years. Since the controversy over trail access and closures has taken a back seat to a more cooperative staff at the Forest Service and the recently implemented Trail Designation Project, our objective to alert and inform the riding public has changed.

With the advent of our Facebook page, our ability to reach the riding public has taken a new direction. We will evaluate our position again next year to see if attending the fair would be to our advantage. Until then, check us out on Facebook and on our web-page, www.shawneetrailconservancy.com. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook

We have moved our monthly board meetings to accommodate several of our new board members who live some distance from Eddyville. Our meetings will now be held at the Ponderosa Steak House, Harrisburg, IL at 6:30 pm. There is no charge for us to use this room as long as the majority of attendees eat at the establishment. Visitors our always welcome at our board meetings.

Just a note of interest for those who are familiar with the trails in the High Knob area, the teepee has been burned down sometime this winter. That teepee has been there for over 16 years so it is sad to see someone destroy it. Unfortunately, someone had no regard for what was a staple piece in the forest.

Happy trails,
Linda Sanders

DONATIONS

We would like to thank all the people who gave donations to the STC in 2012. Donations are extremely important in keeping our organization viable. Donations make up half of our proceeds for operating expenses especially since we have not raised our membership fees since the beginning of this organization.

Those donating this year are: Victor & Milda Satas; Kenny & Janice Wiseman; Sandy Poletti; Mike Weiser; Dorothy Arjes; Dayne & Virgie Bassett; Sky & Jennifer Epperson; Murray & Phyllis Jackson; Ben & Patti Laubscher; Jill & Mark Thompson; Lynn Beasley; Dave Flanders; Jerry M Lowery; James D Pearson; Elizabeth & Dennis Williams; Janis Arnold; Sue Simmons; Little Lusk Trail Lodge; Gail Summer & Liz Williams; Suzzane & Clarence Barr; Carlos & Marilyn Post; Owen Beckham; Connie Burrus; John McIlroy; Julie Petefish; John & Loretta Maldaner; Gene & Judy Seyfert and Terry & Loretta Wheeler.

A special thank you goes to those who volunteered their time and talent through out the year. Board members and other local volunteers work on trail clearing, many times providing equipment such as tractors. Board members and officers receive no compensation for their duties other than expenses such as fuel for tractors if work requires extensive time. Many office supplies and postage are not reimbursed either.

Our officers and board members are dedicated to keeping our access to the Shawnee not only for those of us who live here, but for all the people who have come here from other areas to recreate in this great place.

GIFT CERTIFICATES FOR LANDOWNERS

Gift certificates were given at Christmas to private landowners whose properties are either an integral part of FS trails to popular destinations and have high volume usage or provide alternate access. The certificates are given as a token of appreciation for these generous people. Recognition is given to them at the STC Christmas dinner.

As a reminder to each of us, always stay on the trail itself and do not ride off trail. If tree limbs are on the trail, moving them off keeps braiding from happening. Each owner is very particular about their property and does not want extra trails or braiding to occur.

GRANT MONEY FOR TRAILS
Submitted by Jack Flammang

This past year several members of the Shawnee Trail Conservancy worked with members of the US Forest Service from the Hidden Springs/Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District to seek funding to help defray the cost of making improvements within the Shawnee National Forest. The group wanted to help fund such projects as new trail construction, trail relocation, trail reconstruction, the improvement of existing trail-heads, and the development of new trail-heads.

At this time we are pleased to announce we have received a grant for $8,000 from STEP to make trail improvements in the Bay Creek Watershed of the Shawnee National Forest. This area lies west of Eddyville near Hayes Creek and several of the trails in this area were badly in need of relocation and/or repair.

The STEP acronym stands for Stewards for Trails, Education and Partnerships. This program represents a joint project between the American Quarter Horse Association and Tractor Supply Company. This program was originally known as Trail Trotters and represented a joint effort between the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource and the National Forest Foundation. It was set up to help develop increased participation in trail stewardship among equine groups and help develop a better relationship between trail users and land managers. Since 2007 sponsorship of the program has been directed by the AQHA and renamed STEP to better identify the purpose of the program. Tractor Supply Company has been a partner since then and provides the funding to keep the program running.

The Shawnee Trail Conservancy and the US Forest Service continue to work together to make the Shawnee National Forest the premier trail riding area in the mid-west. Hopefully by the time the next newsletter is published, we will have additional news regarding improvements we were able to help achieve.

TRASH PICK UP CHALLENGE

We want to bring to everyone's attentions the efforts of Double M Campground. They are located on the north eastern part of the trail designation project. Heath Mann, owner has started a promotion for cleaning up the trails in his area. He has made very clever and professional signs to bring his message to his campers. His inspiration is Terry & Loretta Wheeler who declared war on the trash on the trails 2 years ago. They found grabber sticks to pick up trash from horseback. They carry garbage bag lined clothes bags on their horses and as they ride, they pick up trash. Heath and the FS have formed the East Grait Trail Crew after getting some of his other campers involved.

Heath at Double M and Jo Jo at High Knob both have the 4 foot grabbers for sale and they are $20 each or they can be bought at Rural King. Both of these campgrounds have been willing to allow Terry & Loretta to deposit the trash they pick up from the trails in their dumpsters. They sort out the aluminum cans and either recycle the cans themselves or leave them with the campgrounds who use the proceeds for activities at the camp. (Double M uses it to hire bands to play music for dances at the camp and Jo Jo uses it to buy fireworks at High Knob for the 4th of July.).

Other campgrounds may be willing to do the same if asked by campers as each camp would benefit from having cleaner trails near them. The signs at camp are a good encouragement for people to read asking them not to be a "trashy rider".

It will be great to see more riders and campers with these pick up sticks who will join in the trail clean up besides being great training for your horse!

It is an ongoing effort to keep the trash picked up but it is very attainable when others join in to help. Otherwise, the glass bottles, aluminum cans and plastic bottles stay there indefinitely. For the East Gate trail crew, the volunteers need to go through a day of training with the Forest Service (half in the field and half in the "classroom").


STC TRAIL WORK

Lusk Creek Area - There was a large tree on Ovid Barnes property that had to be removed with a backhoe this summer so that it would not fall on anyone riding underneath it. Richard Connor who is a friend and neighbor of Ovid's did this work for the cost of his fuel. Several members then went in with a chainsaw and removed what was left to clean up the area around the culvert. Thanks to Richard Craig and David & Linda Sanders for doing this. Two tree tops were also down on the Charlie Davis property (boat trail). Any braids around down trees are forbidden on private property trails. We were able to work our way up the tree tops to get these removed from the trail. Richard Craig used the winch on his ATV to pull down the one trunk. It is so great to be able to use equipment like this on trail work, but it is only possible on the private property. Thanks to Sue & Joe Perina, Mike & Cathy Jennings, Richard Craig and David & Linda Sanders for getting this one cleaned up before last Labor Day weekend.


The top of this tree was completely over the trail and the intersection for trail 404 that goes to Indian Kitchen. The property owners do no like new trails around such blockage so the tops went into closing what was created to get around the tree.

Of course, it rained almost all weekend, but we will not complain after the severe drought we've had all summer.

2013 TRAIL MAPS
Submitted by Cathy Jennings

STC is pleased to team up with a newer organization called Friends of the Shawnee National Forest.

On January 23, Dick Manders, Cathy Jennings, Linda Kesul, JoJo Moomey, Bob Monroe, Brian Bourne, and Pat York met with Logan Park and Chris Meyer of Friends to review the new trail map for 2013. Due to budget constraints, the Forest Service will no longer be printing trail maps. Friends of the Shawnee National Forest are taking over the map printing and hope to have 2013 maps available by March. There will be a yet-to-be established price for the maps. We discussed prices and gave them an idea of what people might be willing to pay. The era of free maps is no longer, but the new maps will be updated annually and be printed on waterproof and rip-stop paper. 25% of the map sales will go back into trails. Next year they hope to print smaller area-specific maps for each campground, but for this year, because of time constraints, it will be a large map similar to what the Forest Service printed in previous years. The maps will be available for purchase from the Forest Service office, equine campgrounds, and the Friends website. Also on the Friends website they hope to provide Google-type maps which can be zoomed in and a person can print a specific area that is needed by that person. The campgrounds are also allowed to photocopy their specific riding area off the larger map and use it to their discretion. Logan and Chris were quite willing to accommodate our map needs.

Editor's Note:

The current trail maps are now available to view and print online on the Shawnee Forest website. Here is the website address: USFS Website Maps. Once you are on this page, you have the choice of the trails maps, one for Eddyville and one for Herod vicinity. There is also a choice for River to River maps and listing of quadrangle maps also.

The new maps will have the same problem that the maps created by the Forest Service had. They do not include the parts of trails that are on private property. So trails seem to start and stop without being connected to other trails. These lapses are because the Forest Service cannot not include a trail across private land unless there is a written lease given to the Forest Service by the landowner indicating the public can use their property. While the STC has a written agreement with Charlie Davis for the riding public, it is not of the type the allows the FS to include that part of the trail on the maps. It did however, allow the FS to designate the trails on both ends of his private property to give us another way to reach Indian Kitchen.

At the last STC monthly meeting, several campground owners and Bob Monroe, Brian Bourne and Pat York of the Forest Service discussed the signage used for marking the trails and the need for on the ground markers at junctions and destination spots that would then be added to the maps. It is our hope and that of the Friends Group that this additional information is included in the 2014 maps.

Friends of the Shawnee National Forest

From their Website:

Friends of the Shawnee National Forest was established in 2010. The Friends is a not-for-profit organization. They are looking for partners that share their love of the Forest and a willingness to labor together to:

  • Promote stewardship values
  • Promote sustainable recreation that values a multitude of recreational activities
  • Expand community connections
  • Promote volunteer activities
  • Provide environmental & cultural educational opportunities
They also have a Facebook page.
Information taken from their Facebook page:

Mission:
Friends of the Shawnee National Forest has a very clear purpose, to support programs of the Shawnee National Forest in order to sustain the economic and environmental health of Southern Illinois.

The goals are simply to promote stewardship values and responsible and sustainable recreation that values a multitude of recreational activities. We will endeavor to expand community connections. We desire to promote volunteer activities in the Forest and provide environmental and cultural educational opportunities.

We hope you will walk with us as we reach for these goals.

Company Overview
The purpose of the group is to promote stewardship, responsible and sustainable recreation, education, make more connections between the region and the Shawnee. It will also be very active in encouraging volunteerism in the forest.

Description
The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest is beginning a great journey, a journey that will help sustain the economic and environmental health of the Forest. The first step of our trek is to find others that have a deep concern for the Shawnee.

We are looking for partners that share our love of the Forest and a willingness to labor together to promote stewardship values, sustainable recreation, expanded community connections, volunteer activities and provide environmental and cultural educational opportunities.

General Information
We as a group will be working together to improve the Shawnee. Our mailing address is PO Box 350 - Carterville, Illinois 62918.

FROST FLOWERS

Not sure how many of our readers have ever seen a Frost Flower, I never had before moving to this area. Here is what greets us when the conditions are correct.

Photo taken by Cathy Jennings

Information taken from Wikipedia

A frost flower is a name commonly given to a condition in which thin layers of ice are extruded from long-stemmed plants in autumn or early winter. The thin layers of ice are often formed into exquisite patterns that curl into "petals" that resemble flowers. The formation of frost flowers is dependent on a freezing weather condition occurring when the ground is not already frozen. The sap in the stem of the plants will expand (water expands when frozen), causing long, thin cracks to form along the length of the stem. Water is then drawn through these cracks via capillary action and freezes upon contact with the air. As more water is drawn through the cracks it pushes the thin ice layers further from the stem, causing a thin "petal" to form. In the case of woody plants and (living or dead) tree branches the freezing water is squeezed through the pores of the plant forming long thin strings of ice that look uncannily like hair i.e. "hair ice" or "frost beard".

The petals of frost flowers are very delicate and will break when touched. They usually melt or sublimate when exposed to sunlight and are usually visible in the early morning or in shaded areas.

Examples of plants that often form frost flowers are white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica), commonly called frostweed, yellow ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia), and Helianthemum canadense. They have also been observed growing from fallen branches of conifers and contain enough hydraulic power to strip the bark off.

WORK DONE BY USFS

The Forest Service has re-located trail # 496 between Petticoat Junction and Hayes Creek Tie-ups in the Hayes Creek area (aka Neighbor's tie-ups). It is higher on the hillside than the old trail. But around the finger where the creek runs east and west the trail is very close to the edge of the hill and gives a good view of the creek. This re-location was done by their trail machine.





Shawnee Volunteer Corps Announces Spring Work Days

HARRISBURG, IL – January 28, 2013 – Do you enjoy being outdoors and hope to make a difference in the natural world around you? Are you a student who is giving thought to working in the outdoors and is interested in gaining some real world, hands-on experience while also networking with professionals in the field? Maybe you just enjoy volunteering? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the Shawnee National Forest has a volunteer experience just for you!

Make plans to join the Shawnee Volunteer Corps as the group invites volunteers to join them to help assist with upcoming trail work days. Whether a first time beginner or seasoned trail crew veteran, no certain level of experience is needed as training, including how to perform activities safely, will be provided.

Volunteers will be joining Shawnee National Forest employees in stewardship efforts at several locations on the Hidden Springs and Mississippi Bluff Ranger Districts. And with the arrival of spring to the Southern Illinois region, each work day will encompass a fun, hands on, teamwork centered approach with a backdrop of budding trees, blooming wildflowers and much more. The following dates and locations for spring 2013 have been scheduled:

Join the Forest and other volunteers to maintain the Indian Point Trail at Garden of the Gods on:

  • Saturday, February 9, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, February 24, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 10, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 7, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 21, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 11, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 18, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Join the Forest and other volunteers to maintain Panther Den on:

  • Saturday, February 23, 2013 – 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 2, 2013 – 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m
  • Saturday, March 16, 2013 – 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m
  • Sunday, March 31, 2013 – 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m
  • Saturday, April 20, 2013 – 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m

  • Please call the Shawnee Volunteer Corps at 618-833-8576 (ext. 103) to pre-register for one of the workdays and/or for more information. Volunteers are asked to wear long pants, sturdy shoes and to also bring a lunch and water bottle for each volunteer day. If you have questions regarding volunteering with the Shawnee Volunteer Corps, please contact Kelly Pearson, Volunteer Coordinator, at 618-833-8576 (ext. 103) or e-mail: Kelly Pearson

    Administered by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Shawnee National Forest is one of 155 national forests nationwide. As the only national forest in Illinois, the Shawnee offers numerous avenues for connecting with the natural world through its 280,000 acres of varied landscape. Whether your interests lie more in outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking or camping, or include learning about the unique natural and cultural heritage of southern Illinois, the fields, forests and streams of the Shawnee welcome you. To discover more about the Shawnee National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee and follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/shawnee. National information about the U.S. Forest Service can be found at: http://www.fs.fed.us/.

    If anyone wants to help work on trails, they clear trails of debris and clean out water run-offs which help keep trails from braiding and having muddy areas where water pools.

    TIME FOR A LITTLE FUN

    Guess where these photos were taken. All are located where they can be accessed by designated trails.

    Thanks to Betty Varnum, this pile of rocks is known as Colorado Clutch, at least by anyone that has ridden with her or passed on the information from her. Located just northwest of Neighbor's Tie-Up ( or Hayes Creek tie up on map), it goes along a small rock bluff and then along this rugged ravine. It is part of trail # 491.

    Located along trail # 491 along Hayes Creek very close to the south end of 491.

    ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING IN OCTOBER
    Election of officers is held at this annual meeting and anyone who would like to be a director please contact Sue Perina.   Regular director meetings are held every 3rd Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM at Ponderosa Restaurant in Harrisburg. Come join us at the meeting.
    Shawnee Trail Conservancy
    P.O. Box 44
    Eddyville, IL 62928


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