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FYRES: Research

FYRES research students at North Beach Park

Unmanaged Trails on th North Beach Dune

Mentored by: Ann Parkin
Team: Alex Kurtz, Krystal Perry, Veronika A. Schultz, Matthew Williams

Report Abstract: North Beach Park Dune is a parabolic dune located in Ferrysburg, Michigan. In 2004 the dune was advancing at a fast rate of 0.67 m/yr. This rapid advance rate caused there to be an increased concern that the only access road would be buried. Since then the park implemented management techniques, which have caused the dune’s advancement rate to stop. Even though this dune is now stabilized, there are still unmanaged trails located on the dune. Our group explored whether the severity of the unmanaged trails on the North Beach Park Dune decreased since the installation of the management efforts. In order to measure the severity of the unmanaged trails we used the following methods: GPS (Trimble) where points at the beginning, middle, and end were recorded along with the perimeter of each trail, at each point recorded we measured the width of the trails and the vegetation density. We also compared photographs of the dune from previous years to photographs from this year. We used these methods to examine the difference in the number of trails, location of trails, and the difference in vegetation density. Our results show that there is a greater amount of unmanaged trails on the Southwest windward side of the dune compared to any other region. We Also found that the Southwest area of the dune there was a lower percentage of vegetation density due to the increase in amount and size of unmanaged trails. Poster (pdf)

Conference Presentation: Parkin, Ann, Alexander Kurtz, Krystal Perry, Veronika Schultz, and Matthew Williams (2013). "Unmanaged trails and management on a Great Lakes dune." North-Central Section of the Geological Society of America (Kalamazoo, MI), 2-3 May 2013. Abstract (pdf)