As another year draws to a close it is important to look back at what we have accomplished to better plan our goals for the new year. While we reflected the one thing that stuck with us was how much commitment Tulsa is showing to a renewed sense of community. A deep desire to be outdoors and a measurable value in what we have. Tulsa, again you leave us happy and speechless. Thank you.
TUWC Annual Membership Meeting & Board Member Elections
Wednesday December 14, 2016
Westside YMCA Gymnasium
5400 S. Olympia Ave. Tulsa, OK 74107
Please join us for the annual TUWC membership meeting and board member elections on Wed., Dec. 14th. We are now accepting nominations for three (3) TUWC board member seats and nominations can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org; nominations must include nominees name, position nominated for and nominees contact information.
The five TUWC board members are elected for two year terms; however, the seats have alternating term dates so that the entire board does not turn over at one time. (There are no term limit restrictions.) The general membership votes on the Board of Directors at the annual end of year meeting.
Trails & Volunteer Director
o Term ends Dec. 2016, current seat held by Tyler Hanes
Education & Preservation Director
o Term ends Dec. 2016, current seat held by Marci Hawkins
Government Affairs Director
o Term ends Dec. 2017, however current director Colin Tawney will be moving out of state.
Thank you for all you do and have a happy holiday season!
Mooser Creek at the north boundary of Turkey Mountain has been able to remain in reasonably good condition despite encroaching urbanization. How do we know? Mooser Creek is monitored by devoted Blue Thumb volunteers. Several of Turkey Mountain’s trails twist and turn and progress north to tie into areas along the southern bank of Mooser Creek.
It’s no secret that it has been extraordinarily wet in northeastern Oklahoma over the past several weeks, particularly since Christmas weekend. Given the lower temperatures, a lower sun, dormant foliage and the added rain and snow this weekend, the ground here is saturated.
This has created some concern about the condition of the trails at Turkey Mountain. All accounts from visitors there indicate that while there are some dry areas, most of the trails are muddy, slippery or covered with standing water.
This has become a bigger issue, partly because of the success the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition has had in promoting the value of Turkey Mountain. People are visiting Turkey Mountain in record numbers, and many current users only recently started going there. Those higher numbers also mean more wear on the trails, something that is magnified when they are inundated by recent rains.
Another unfortunate fact to consider: The trails themselves were not all planned. Some grew organically, without much thought into how heavier traffic and natural erosion would affect them later. These sections are particularly susceptible to erosion. This wasn’t a big problem in the past, when there were fewer people, but is a larger concern now.
The TUWC has worked with the River Parks Authority to shore up some sections of the trails, but there is still work to be done. We will continue to do so in the future.
In the meantime, there are some things we, as users, can do to help, given the current conditions. Primarily, this is a good time to let the trails “rest” and absorb the recent moisture. Check out some of the River Parks paved trails on your next walk, run or ride. The temporary reprieve will help mitigate the problems of developing ruts that often come with heavy usage on soggy trails.
And when you are out there, avoid trying to go around muddy or wet spots on the trail. Go through them. By going around, this creates wide spots and social trails that add to trail degradation and erosion. This may leave you with muddy shoes, but it will help keep the trails intact.
Lastly, we know that increased traffic has also meant more trash filling the trash cans at the trailhead. We appreciate people using the trash bins and not littering, but the bins are overflowing. Please consider taking your trash with you when you leave to avoid overflowing trash blowing around the parking lot and into the woods.
This is a lot to digest, and may put a temporary crimp on your plans. But paying attention to trail conditions now will help us build on a sustainable and successful future for Turkey Mountain and its users.
But there comes a time when you have to think bigger. The places where I run are pretty busy, and not just with runners. Cyclists, hikers and other trail users frequent my local trails by the hundreds every day, at a minimum. All that use has an impact on trails under the best of conditions. Add enough rain to the mix and trail erosion and degradation is greatly accelerated.
At the end of the day, Turkey Mountain became a better place because of the efforts from trail users of all stripes: Runners, hikers, cyclists and equestrians. We saw retirees, young people, athletes and families, with kids in tow. In my crew, I had two little guys eagerly attacking the trash and hauling it out.
For them, it meant not just giving back, but learning more about Turkey Mountain, why this place is important and what’s at stake concerning its future.