— Don’t park or ski along North Street above the Sparrow Farm
By J. Gregory Gerdel
After many skiers parked along North Street to access the new, but thin, snow cover that arrived over the weekend, their helter-skelter meanderings through the neighborhood annoyed some of the resident property owners. David Sparrow, for one, told The Bridge upper North Street gets overwhelmed by cars parking too close to intersections and across from one another, which makes driving challenging. Sparrow has placed signs along the road to tell people where it is best to park.
Earlier in the fall, the Onion River Nordic Club contacted key property owners for permission to re-create the winter-only trail from North Street across the Sparrow Farm field to connect with the Sparrow Farm Trail that climbs from the city’s North Branch Park. But signage and markers for the trail were not yet in place when the new snow arrived during the first weekend in January.
In response to the concerns raised on social media, club president Dan Voisin posted an update about the current situation with the trails on either side of North Street:
“Hey folks, Brief update on trails…
MHS and U32 are both groomed for skiing. North Branch Nature Center and North Branch Park are both skiing well for kick-and-glide fans.
The trails along North Street — both the east and west sides of North Street — including Sparrow Farm field, Morse’s Meadow, and Sherwood Forest need more snow to be groomable and safe. Please refrain from skiing there until we have a bit more snow to work with.
When the North Street trails do open, please do not park on roads, particularly near the intersection of Sparrow Farm Road and North Street. Parking lots will be created in Morse’s Meadow across from the gray barn and on Cummings at the northwest corner of West Wind.
Dogs are not allowed on the North Street trails per our access agreements.
Please respect all landowner signs and privacy! This is critical! Landowner access is the foundation of these trails. Please show utmost respect and courtesy at all times.
Trail Work and Signage Planned
The club is planning an ORN Trail Day Saturday, January 9 at 1 p.m. to ready trails for grooming when we receive additional snowfall. Detailed information about the event is available on the Onion River Nordic Club Facebook page.
Geoff Beyer, who retired last year as director of city parks, explained the plans for the trail work and signage: “The types of help we will need will be chain sawing, hand sawing, flagging the trail more clearly with color-coded tape, putting up signs, and a bunch of people moving the wood that has been cut to either wet areas or off the trail. A pick or two might be useful to move a couple rocks in the wet areas . . . leather gloves or some other gloves for moving the stuff will be recommended.”