Every year in March, we send out a survey form with our Annual Newsletter to get member feedback and ideas. We compile every comment we receive by subject matter, then offer a response so everyone knows that their ideas were considered, whether or not they can be implemented at the time. Here it is for 2020!
Member comments: **Continued work on water absorption and adding bird- and bee- attracting plants! ** Plant some trees in the centermost area, near the little wetland (feeder stream) area between the wooden walkway ad the path next to Mill Creek. ** Mitigate standing water issue on rainy days. ** Install drains to carry water into Mill Creek ** Maybe river stones down middle where it’s so muddy and holds water. **
Our response: We heartily endorse your planting suggestions! One of our top priorities is to continue our ongoing program to plant native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Native plants not only reduce mud by drinking up excess water, but provide a host of other benefits including enhancing water quality in the stream, reducing flooding, and providing wildlife habitat. Be aware that our park is in a floodplain and to a certain extent periodic flooding/wet spots are natural and ecologically beneficial. We are seeking a balance between park user comfort and ecological benefits, so a completely dry park is not actually a goal.
In re drains: our park has three existing drains and, for the reasons explained above, we do not plan to advocate for more at this time.
In re river stones: we are advised that river stones piled on top of the muddy central area would quickly become buried in more dirt as leaves and other organic matter decompose on top of them, and they have limited ability to absorb water. Native plants and trees with deep roots, on the other hand, will actively absorb water, and also filter and clean the water before it enters Mill Creek.
Trail Quality Concerns
Member Comments: **Can gravel be covered with wood chips? My dog avoids walking on large gravel chunks whenever she can – yes, I know she’s fussy.**
Our response: With respect to covering the lumpy parts of the gravel trail with wood chips, we ran the idea past the Township. In their experience the wood chips are too light and will quickly wash away in our flood-prone park, so they don’t recommend this solution.
Other Ecological Concerns
Member comments: ** General cleanup and invasive plants (vines) removal. **
Our response: Definitely this is part of our mission, and normally we have volunteer days for this work. Due to the pandemic, we have held no events in 2020 other than our annual October Planting day (labor courtesy of the Township Crew and socially distanced Boy Scouts from Troop 176—a big THANK YOU to both!). We are hoping to resume member volunteer days when the pandemic permits. If regular volunteer days are not an option by Spring, we may call for individual volunteers to work solo. You will need to sign a waiver form and receive training.
Member comments: ** Enforce (?) clean-up by all pet owners (add signs?) ** At least one trash bin in the back of the park.**
In re clean-up, good suggestion. We will work on signs to be placed on the pickup bag poles.
With respect to the additional trash bin, we sympathize but are not currently recommending this. Given that we have three trash receptacles already, we feel that adding another detracts from our goal to preserve the natural atmosphere of the park as well as adding to the burden on the township maintenance crew. For now, please just carry the bag around to the receptacles nearer the park entrance. (It’s a long way for a busy park crew member to drag a heavy, stinky trash can on foot!)
Suggestion for Next Year’s Annual Meeting
Member comments: What about an open meeting or talk on dog intelligence, training, owner’s expectation – from behavioral doctor at Penn Vet?
Our response: Great idea—we alternate ecology-centered and dog-centered topics at our annual meetings, and we are due for a dog-centric talk at the next meeting, whenever that can occur.
A couple of people indicated their willingness to volunteer on the survey form.
Our response: Thanks for volunteering! We expect to be in touch with all who are willing to volunteer in Spring 2021.
Member comments: ** You’re doing a very nice job! ** You are all – terrific! ** Beautiful job on Park. Thank you! ** Love the Park! ** Even though I don’t have a dog, I’d like to support the park ** Love our Park! ** I’ve never been more grateful for our park in my life!” ** Thanks for all you do – park looks great! ** Great park, thanks for your work. ** The park looks great! Stay well—**
Our response: Thanks for all the encouraging words – the positive feedback is very energizing to our Steering Committee!!!