CALL TO ORDER: Liz Weir, Chair 7:10 pm
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The Minutes of the 2022 annual meeting were reviewed and approved.
The Treasurer’s report was reviewed and approved. It was noted that we had agreed to increase the honoraria paid by FOWW to its walk leaders to $200 per event. Ann Thies will discuss this with Ellie and we will make suitable additional payments.
There were no paid trail repairs or improvements done in 2023. All clearing and maintenance was done by volunteers, which resulted in fewer expenses.
Wolsfeld Cabin Update: Bob Gasch reported that the cabin is in good condition and does not need any serious maintenance. We discussed use of the cabin and Bob mentioned that some appropriate tools and artifacts will be placed in the cabin by the Historical Society.
Meeting with DNR: Ellie Crosby, Ann Thies and Mary Morrison met with Jeff Wilson, a representative from the DNR who is responsible for the maintenance of Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) in the southern part of Minnesota. We walked through some of the damaged trail and bridge areas in Wolsfeld Woods, and Jeff committed to having DNR remove the remnants of the bridge near the Trinity Lutheran Church entrance that was shattered by a downed tree. We also discussed erosion of the adjacent steps and other eroded trails and banks. We learned that the DNR has only Jeff and one colleague to manage and work on all of the area’s SNAs, and while the bridge removal is a priority project and removing some of the large downed trees from established paths will be done over time, the DNR does not have the resources or the philosophy of maintaining pedestrian trails throughout the woods as if it were a park or recreational facility. The bridge removal was to have been done on October 10th but no one checked it before the meeting.
Status of Other Projects:
Signage: Ann Thies and others will do an inventory of the current signage in the woods, which is frequently defaced, ill-placed and faded. The DNR can help provide new signs, which must also comply with current Minnesota regulations for signs.
Gravel on steps: One reason the steps near the destroyed bridge are not used is because the gravel has eroded from the timber framing around the steps. We will check to see whether Steve Pflaum’s work crew may be available next year to re-fill the gravel.
Erosion on east trail: This project will be re-focused for 2024, to determine whether we can fix the eroded trail east of the bridge on the trail leading from the Trinity parking lot.
Bridges: Chuck Gehrman volunteered for and completed construction of a pedestrian and equestrian bridge on the east side of Wolsfeld Woods near the entrance by Wahlfors’ berry farm. Thank you Chuck!
John O’Reilly and his crew from Otten Brothers has completed repair of the foot bridge at the south end of the lake. Thank you John!
We will ask Chuck if he is available to reinforce the pedestrian and equestrian bridge on the west side of the woods. It bounces. Fun for children, unsafe for horses!
Proposed Calendar of Events for 2024: The proposed Calendar of Events for 2024 was discussed. We will check with event leaders to finalize the dates and times below and post them on the FOWW website, subject to changes as necessary. Details of events will be confirmed by email to all members.
Many of these events begin at the Trinity Lutheran Church parking lot, located at 2060 County Road 6, Long Lake, MN.
Wolsfeld School repair: Bob Gasch mentioned that the old Wolsfeld log school building, now located next to the Historical Society in Long Lake, needs major repairs. A fundraising campaign will be organized. We will notify our members of this opportunity by email once it is finalized.
School tours: The Orono public school, which has taken student field trips to Wolsfeld Woods in the past, is not doing it now or in the foreseeable future because of a lack of funds for field trips.
The Meeting adjourned at 8:13 pm.
Mary Morrison, Secretary