Hawley Cove Park is small, and may not be well-known – but is one of the few public accesses to the north shore of Eagle Harbor. It has been the subject of planning for a number of years, and as planning has proceeded some outdated and/or incorrect information has been published in an attempt to influence the decision-making process.
The following is a summary of more recent information that has affected the planning and decision-making process, at least at the Trails Advisory Committee level.
- Attempts to bisect the park by adding a second upper trail for a “commuter route” increase the disturbance area, not lessen it. The proposed “upper trail” is longer, wider, and thus more expensive to build.
- Any wetland impact is greater for a commuter trail due to the wider standard and the distance required to cross the wetland and buffer, compared to the distance to cross and connect to the existing berm.
- Recent evaluation by the RCO grant committee had the following comments on the use of this property as a commuter route:
- the maximum width we proposed was 6 feet – they felt that such a trail was too narrow for a safe bidirectional commuter route.
- The Wing Point neighborhood does not provide enough “service” to compete well with other grant applications which were serving as links to major populations of potential commuters.
- The grant committee liked the trail, but suggested that it be moved to the local parks category as a recreational trail with accessible beach access. Parks Board decided not to move into that category because of another project that they wanted to complete in that category (the dock in the park off Hidden Cove Road I think it was);
- The routing of the trail was NOT a factor in their decision – the committee simply thought that not enough people were served by this trail to compete in that category.
- The time savings by changing to the more direct route is measured in seconds on bicycle and less than a minute on foot. A route change does not save people even several minutes to the ferry.
- The City again has plans to improve Wing Point Way for safer use by commuters.
- Have you ever hiked or biked up Hawley Way? Its steep.
- Lighting would not be installed in the park, minimizing its use in winter months. Wing Point Way at least has street lights.
- The existing trail and boardwalk will be adjusted and rebuilt, to make it more accommodating and safer for multiple user groups.
- The District focuses on recreational trails and allows NM use of them for commuting or transportation, but the design and implementation is not driven by the NM standards . The Class 1 standard (8 foot width) is utilized where we connect to a NM route. We have never changed trail routing to a direct or straight path anywhere I am aware of or allowed our trails to be widened to a NM standard.
- A letter from one of the previous owners, their wish for the site was to maintain the conservation value of the park for beach access and environmental education.
- We’ve heard concerns from the lower neighborhood about the possible impact of heavy commuter usage.
- The construction technique planned, combined with the smaller boardwalk (in length and width), will minimize impact on the salt marsh, and should provide a special experience for all users.
All in all, we think the proposed route is good, fiscally and environmentally responsible, and will be a pleasant experience for all users. Visit the park yourself.