Western: Ionia

For posting trail-specific conditions and problems

Postby bleve » May 19th, 2008, 11:03 am

Got out for a lap Sunday and most of the trail was in good shape, the grass and weeds are getting tall in some places that make it difficult to look ahead and follow the trail. One dangerous thing that should probably be cleared up with a chainsaw or maybe a couple guys big enough to move it is a fallen tree (telephone sized) with a jagged end sticking out partially into the trail on the inside of a curve. If I recall correctly it's a short way after the marker where there is a cut-off for the "shorter trail". If you came around the curve not paying attention you could do some real damage to yourself.
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ionia reroute?

Postby brie_boy » May 20th, 2008, 9:17 am

I was there on Sunday as well and there is a need for some work (and I am willing to help!). Not only the protruding log mentioned already, but also the gigantic tree fall virtually across the trail further down in the same area. You cannot ride past the tree as there are large rocks at the mid-point. It would take some large saws and man-power to move it so a re-route might be needed there as well. I did clear by hand one tree-fall near the dirt road. But overall maintenance needs to happen in a number of spots.
This is still one of my favorite trails and overlooked by many in this area due to its remote location from GR. It is worth the drive!
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Postby x98myers7 » May 25th, 2008, 1:54 pm

there are no logs blocking the trail. there's nothing that can't be easily avoided, though it's pathetic the lack of maintenance this trail has seen.


apparently the grass is NEVER cut, and probably hasn't been in years. it's literally 3-4ft tall in most sections. i managed to only pick up two ticks on the ride. :roll: i had ridden ionia at least a dozen times back in the late 1990s during high school. it use to be a great ride. the problem is that you can't keep any good pace with the trail so overgrown because you can't see more than a few feet in front of you. there's tons of large rocks and roots hidden under the grass as well.

specifically i'm talking about the first "brown" loop. the long yellow is quite good. needless to say, for a park that requires a fee/permit to enter, it's unacceptable. if someone would cut the trail every couple of weeks and do some basic clean up this trail would be much better.
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Postby John_H » May 26th, 2008, 6:55 pm

I am purdy sure the trail is not being dumbed down by the MMBA at this time.




Sarcasm on my part. :) Just kidding. I am all for mowing the edge at Ionia. It has been done by volunteers in the past out there.
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Postby Special Goodness » May 27th, 2008, 1:10 pm

x98myers7 wrote:...though it's pathetic the lack of maintenance this trail has seen.

Did you miss the trail days this year? Trail work doesn't happen on it's own.

x98myers7 wrote:...apparently the grass is NEVER cut, and probably hasn't been in years.

Actually some of it was cut three weeks ago, when we built two new reroutes to get the trail ready for the Milk Jug race and made the changes that the DNR asked for.

x98myers7 wrote:...the problem is that you can't keep any good pace with the trail so overgrown because you can't see more than a few feet in front of you. there's tons of large rocks and roots hidden under the grass as well.

I can keep an average pace of 12 mph and max out around 26-27 mph. I think you need to work on your technique. This is a mountain bike trail, not a paved rail trail.

x98myers7 wrote:if someone would cut the trail every couple of weeks and do some basic clean up this trail would be much better.

Do you want to spend every other weekend cutting 7 miles of grass? If so, you can talk to Guy (guyb on this forum) and volunteer your time. I'm sure he'd be glad to set you up all the tools you'll need. :roll:


There was a storm recently that knocked several trees down. I'm hoping the Dan's Bike Shop group will take care of the tree sticking out at head level in the area below the parking lot, and the telephone pole sized tree just after the halfway point on the large loop. The tree that fell along the trail just tightens the line, and the trail is still totally rideable. I really hope nobody moves it because it is a fun squeeze between the rocks and the tree. As far as the grass is concerned, I know there is another trail day scheduled but I don't remember the date. It takes a pretty solid days work for three people with weed wackers to clear the trail, even longer if you do it with those hand blade deals. Lots of people riding a trail tends to keep the grass under control and you can see that on the larger loop. That tells me we need to further improve the smaller loop to get more people to ride it.
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Postby underdog » May 27th, 2008, 1:18 pm

I haven't had a chance to ride the trail yet. I got sick for 2.5 weeks, finally over that. I can't ride on wednesday's as I have summer billiards league. I offered my help on this board and an email to Guy as well and was never contacted to help. My offer to help still applies as I've used this trail for many years. My email addy is underdog at southsidestreetcars dot org.
Last edited by underdog on May 27th, 2008, 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Special Goodness » May 27th, 2008, 1:41 pm

I would edit you post and remove your email! You're almost certain to get robot spam. If you want to post you email, post it in some other format: name at place dot com.

I'll make some phone calls after work on post information on trail days tonight.
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Postby x98myers7 » May 27th, 2008, 5:54 pm

Special Goodness wrote:...rant...


i was hinting more at the fact that ionia rec area is a state funded park. the DNR should be performing major maintenance and keeping it all safe, just like they do at all the other parks. it's obvious what effect drastically decreased park funding has had. it's nothing like it was 10 years ago. compare to custer or yankee now and tell me ioina isn't neglected. we all know it's not because of lack of local volunteers.
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Postby John_H » May 27th, 2008, 7:23 pm

x98myers7 wrote:the DNR should be performing major maintenance and keeping it all safe, just like they do at all the other parks.

I can tell you from many years of working at Yankee that the trail care is done by mmba volunteers. The dnr only does work at the facilities like trailheads and roads. Even the kiosk at the Yankee Deep Lake trailhead was totally funded and built by mmba volunteers. The MMBA paid for and installed all trail marking at Yankee, except the mile markers last year. Those were even a special dnr project handled by a mmba dnr summer employee
I am pretty sure Ionia is the same way. I was involved with building the original trail at Ionia and all the work was done by volunteers, not the dnr. I am also confident that the dnr doesn't mow along the trail at Ionia. Maybe locals out there can correct me if I'm wrong. I remember hearing about an Ionia local biker that had a beater gas push mower JUST for mowing along the trail. As with all volunteer organizations... us volunteers come and go with time.
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Trail Maintenance

Postby guyb » June 5th, 2008, 9:24 am

Hello all:

I will be going out to run a DR Trimmer to clear as much of the grass as possible next week. It may take a couple of days of clearing to get it all though as it is supposed to have showers most of next week.

Reminders:

1. We have a Trail Day on the 29th at 9 am for those who want to come; any help is appreciated!
2. Trail Days and times are posted on the Trail Kiosk.

Guy Buckingham
Ionia Trail Coordinator
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Postby Special Goodness » June 5th, 2008, 10:32 am

Bring bug spray, gloves, and someone should bring a length of rope so that we can move those :wink: "logs" :wink: north of the trail. They could be used to build some nice technical trail features. I would guess they are about 300 pounds. If we have enough people we could at least move them somewhere useful. We wouldn't have to build anything during this trail day.
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Postby x98myers7 » June 7th, 2008, 11:34 am

29th of June?


i made another attempt at riding the trail.

i would advise that this trail be avoided until it gets mowed.
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Trail Mowing and "Unofficial Trail Day"

Postby guyb » June 12th, 2008, 4:25 pm

"ello all:

I spent 5 hours mowing with the DR Trimmer today on the small loop; it is in much better condition. I need to go back though. I have mowed about 2.5 miles of both sides of the trail tread of the prairie grass etc.

There was also a 15'x15' bush blown into the trail and I cleared that also.

Much better condition.

I will keep the mowing up until it is cleared. We had a lot of interference, weather etc., that has put us behind. Sorry.

We did have a group ride of 14 yesterday so it is getting used! This is the regular Wednesday night group ride. They have volunteered to donate their next mountain bike ride, on the 25th, for clearing the trail. If anyone wants to come we will be there at 7 pm.

Note: The regularly scheduled trail days are still going as planned.

Guy Buckingham
Ionia Trail Coordinator
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Trail Day

Postby guyb » June 28th, 2008, 5:27 pm

Just a reminder.

We are having a trail day tomorrow 9-12. We meet at the parking lot.

Thanks ahead of time for any help.

Guy Buckingham
Trail Coordinator
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Trail Day

Postby Special Goodness » June 30th, 2008, 8:23 am

Pretty sad turnout for the trail day on Sunday. :? Between the Wednesday trail day and the Sunday trail day we (mostly Guy) got most of the mowing done. The trail is 100% rideable. We cleared deadfall and cut brush encroaching on the trail corridor. A couple of us went north of the trail to find some ?logs? to possibly build some new technical features. The ?logs? ended up being bridge pilings and were way to big to be moved by two guys with no equipment. The holiday weekend is coming up, so head out to the trail and help keep the grass under control by riding! Bug spray is a good idea.
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