City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
STUDY SESSION MINUTES
June 20, 2016
Present: Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Shaw; Director Black; Superintendent Dickens; Assistant Manuel
Also Present: Jeffrey McFarland, Supervisor of Forestry, Trails and Open Space Properties
Absent: Commissioner Miller; City Council Liaison Mayor Stromberg; Superintendent Dials; Executive Assistant Dyssegard
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Gardiner called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Parks Administration Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
HITT ROAD FIELD TRIP
The Commission and staff traveled by van to a parcel of land adjacent to Hitt Road located above Lithia Park. A tour was conducted of the area, which was under consideration for purchase as a potential trail acquisition. Staff noted that the land traversed through properties owned by the City of Ashland, Jackson County and private individuals. The Commission was provided with a ground view of the proposed acquisition property and the possibilities for connectivity with existing intersecting trails, including Birdsong Trail and the Hearts Trail.
Staff referenced the APRC Trail Master Plan, adopted in 2006, that specified the creation of “a grid of trails that unifies the urbanized area and reaches outward to the Cascades and other open spaces.” It was stated that acquisition of the Hitt Road property would further that goal.
Commissioners discussed the property in detail, highlighting the value of additional access for residential neighborhoods via a hiking trail or hiking trail loop as well as an improved fire safety corridor. The land could also serve as a connection point to the Ashland watershed.
It was stated that area flora and fauna would benefit from non-native invasive species treatments and the implementation of a fuels reduction plan, toward the goal of protecting valuable forest lands. Commissioner Landt talked about the laddering effect caused by uncontrolled undergrowth and the importance of public access for increased forest management in the area.
Adjacent private properties were identified and two promontories explored. Discussion took place about a buildable lot on the property and the impact of the lot with regard to the potential acquisition. McFarland commented that the two promontories along Hitt Road had potential for development as trail viewpoints. One of the two promontories was deemed suitable as a staging area for wildfire management.
Commissioners agreed that a survey of the parcel and a map illustrating both public and private ownership of parcels adjacent to the land would provide valuable perspectives with respect to the proposed land acquisition.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
Betsy Manuel, Assistant
The Minutes are not a verbatim record. The narrative has been summarized to reflect the discussions made. Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Study Sessions, Special Meetings and Regular Meetings are digitally recorded and available upon request.