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Coulee Trails Initiative continues planning for trail system

PRESCOTT – The Coulee Trails Initiative has been steadily making plans and progressing toward its end goal of a community accessible trail system in Prescott. According to the Coulee Trails Initiative website, the initiative is a nonprofit organization that is committed to developing and maintaining a regional trail system in the Prescott area.

The website also outlines benefits the trail system will bring to the community. Some main goals are to conserve the area and habitat sustainably, promote relaxation and recreation, provide an economic driver in the area and promote trail tourism.

Israel Haas, the head of the project, provided some updates about what the community can expect with the project next.

“Since April we have been working seriously behind the scenes, Haas said. “There is a lot of work to do as we are pulling together our plan for the trails. We aren’t currently building any trails right now, but we are focusing on all the planning we have to do before that.”

The trail system project will begin with projects in Magee Park.

“Magee Park will really be the focus initially because the city has officially given us permission to design trails and be actively present there, but we would like to expand beyond the park once we have the appropriate relationships and access points established for the trail system,” said Haas.

The most recent event the CTI held was the Magee Park clean up June 26.

“The first public event we held was the clean-up in Magee; we hauled a lot of things out of the woods there and about 22 people came to help with that event,” said Haas.

This is the first of many events the organization would like to host.

The vision for the trail system is to have a very open and accessible trail system that connects the community and surrounding areas, according to Haas. “We’re working with the city and the county to try and create something that will benefit the community, the businesses and be accessible for everyone of all different ages and backgrounds and abilities to use,” he said.

The group is focusing solely on planning and getting everything together before moving forward with any actual trail building. There must be agreements between several parties including private landowners, the school district and city governments before they can really move forward with building the full trail system.

According to Haas, they are hoping to get together a “master plan” that all these parties agree on before moving forward.

“Our end goal is to create a master plan that all parties and entities and everyone else involved can sign off on,” Haas said.

The hope is for this trail system to help people get out in nature and see the unique scenery Prescott can provide.

“We have some unique typography called coulees. The coulee is basically a place where water runs and over time it carves deep valleys with some steep ridges, and the scenery is really gorgeous with large rocks and moss,” he said.

This is something the project wants to capture for future hikers.

The community can expect some more events coming soon. Haas said the group wants to plan more educational and volunteer events going forward during the project.

“In the future, we want to have some opportunity to have the community share in invasive species removal and provide some educational opportunities for families as we explore Magee Park,” he said.

They are also going to be looking for volunteers in the coming months. The organization will need a range of volunteers that specialize in different aspects of the coming together of the project.

Haas said, “We are going to need volunteers with expertise that they can contribute and share. Maybe they have natural resource experience, we will need help with that. We are going to need graphic design and communications if there are people in those areas that would be willing to contribute. We are going to need people who are good organizers and people with management experience who are willing to help. And, people who love to hike, bike, bird watch and get out in nature, we would love to connect with anyone.”

The organization is open to hearing feedback and suggestions from the community; their website will soon have a community survey that will allow for feedback and a space for people to share what they would like to see in the project’s future. They are also planning to have a form on their website that can be filled out by people who want to express interest in volunteering.

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