The Wilderness Park experience has perhaps never been as important and welcomed as during this current pandemic. The park’s shaded stretch of woods, riparian corridor, trails, and remnant prairie have provided an open sanctuary to weary Lincolnites and thankful visitors during these crazy past few months. This fact has not been lost on Friends of Wilderness Park, the City of Lincoln, Parks and Recreation Department, Lincoln residents, and the park’s many other dedicated stakeholders. With increased use comes increased challenges. From maintaining safe trails to sharing the space between a growing list of users.
Keeping all this in mind, it is reassuring that Lincoln Parks and Recreation has been busy planning and constructing the future of Wilderness Park – with Friends of Wilderness Park providing a strong voice in the process alongside many other community partners. This effort includes a focused update of the Wilderness Park Master Plan, incorporating the efforts of many past planning processes: “The plan is meant to address the ‘user experience’ in the park – the experience of the park visitor as they enter the park, what they see as they move through the park, the trails, signage, and stream crossings they encounter.”
The User Experience Master Plan Goals include:
- Provide a user experience that allows visitors to explore wilderness.
- Increase trail route options available to all users with minimal increase to the overall miles of trails.
- Locate and select capital improvements that provide sustainable access and prioritize protection of natural resources.
- Provide signage that assists in the navigation, improves the understanding of park rules, and communicates the importance of Wilderness Park to the community.
- Provide trailheads that are safe, welcoming, and provide useful information and services to park visitors.
- Next steps in the process have involved the sharing of new signage and trail kiosk displays with the public, a resident survey and a virtual open house.
- Parks and Recreation will now refine the plan before implementing new signs, trailhead kiosks, and other user experience improvements in 2021.
For more information: Lincoln Parks & Rec
The Wilderness Park Master Plan Working Group met in August and involved: Adam Hintz, Dan King, Anna Wishart, Matt Gersib, Chris Henrich, Jim Crook, Joeth Zucco, Kat Baum, Rosina Paolini, and Susan Larson-Rodenburg. Lincoln Parks and Rec leaders included: Kaylyn Neverve and Sara Hartzell.