Coalition is Getting Organized - October 2017 Meeting Minutes

Coalition Meeting Minutes, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017

Argentine Township Hall


In attendance

Michelle Czerniak– alternate for Keepers of the Shiawassee (Keepers); Bruce Allen– Headwaters Trails (HT) and Keepers; Lori Bailey – Owosso City Council, Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends); Elaine Greenway – Owosso City Council, Friends; Joetta Piles-Zalewski – Keepers; Debby McCarty – Keepers, HT, City of Fenton; Ginger Koester – ED of Friends; Lorraine Austin – Friends; George – Holly Twp, Supervisor; Brian Saad – Argentine Twp, Supervisor; Chris Dickinson – Byron DDA (alternate); Rob Vandemark – Byron DDA; Sue Lossing – Keepers, Sierra Club; Rex Mathewson – HT alternate; Kristin Wiltfang – Oakland County; Chuck Julian – HT; Sue Julian – HT, NOHLC; David Lossing – Linden; Dave Richardson – Village of Chesaning and Chesaning Twp designee (excused from meeting)

Phil Hathaway opened the meeting at 7:19 PM

Water Trail Application Update

Phil presented on the national water trail designation efforts starting in 2016, and announced we are awaiting review from the National Park Service. The National Park Service stated they liked our application and water trail plan but did not give a timeline for formal review and approval.

As of September 30, 2017 the grant from Saginaw Bay WIN and the technical assistance from National Parks Service are completed. The grant from Saginaw Bay WIN provided for Sara McDonnell’s time from UM-Flint Outreach. Both McDonnell and Barbara Nelson-Jameson are still available to answer questions and provide input.

As part of the water trail application we needed an MOU signed to officially apply for National Water Trail Designation. The MOU was drafted by Barbara Nelson-Jameson, and is led by Friends of the Shiawassee River, Keepers of the Shiawassee River, and Headwaters Trails. Many of the municipalities who provide access to the water trail through their parks also signed the MOU. The full listing is on the website,

Now that the application is submitted, we need to get more organized, that is focus of the meeting tonight, need that to gain support from Fenton and others.

  • We have always been a trail, the National Park Service got us together, organized us to work together beyond cleanups

Memorandum of Understanding

Of the 13 organizations that signed the MOU, Sue Julian called and requested them to appoint a designee and an alternate, heard back from most. Please help update list of interested individuals, make sure your contact information is correct.

ACTION ITEM: Review Partner List (see Google spreadsheet)

 **Just added the Village of Oakley as a MOU Signer – Thank You Dave Richardson**

Phil outlined the Coalition (summary of MOU requirements, vision, goals, objectives, and responsibilities, and decision-making)

Have representatives from all MOU signers at the meeting, waiting to hear about Oakley.

Sara reviewed last meeting notes

Organizational Models – (slideshow by David Lossing)

  • Informal – have used this model for the last 10 years, many thanks due to efforts from Sue Julian, this informal structure has gotten us to where we are today
    • SRWT Coalition, comprised of delegates, with potential committees. Everyone participates in discussion, 14 voting members make the decisions. With Chair/Vice Chair for committees; Chair should be a designee of MOU organization, Vice Chair can be volunteer. Committees would organize separately and report back at Coalition meetings
      • Paddling/Recreation – Keepers leads the charge on this, how do we coordinate a common calendar
      • Launch Sites – how do we coordinate standards among municipalities
      • Stream Monitoring – coordinating with Friends
      • Advancement – fundraising – how do we support the trail and/or for the nonprofits involved
      • Community Engagement – how do we educate residents, government, businesses, and tourists. How do we handle promotion
      • Minimal – SRWTC Board, with a Chair that sets agenda for the year
      • Formal – Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary)


It will take funds to support work of the Coalition, would be a stretch for any of the nonprofits to take on this work right now. Need leadership and organization to be able to accomplish the goals and work plan of the water trail plan.

Option 1 is sort of where we are now; at a minimum we need a leader or chair to funnel ideas to; so we don’t wait half a year to see people at a meeting. Would like to see us not pick Option 1.

Fundraising is needed to make our trail uniform.

Option 3 would be needed to do fundraising, would need a treasurer.

Money can be raised and held by the existing body (MOU Signers) that knows how to manage money (example of Friends receiving WIN grant, Linden receiving NPS assistance).

The purpose of the application to NPS in 2015 based on past efforts by Sue Julian to make our trail uniform, promoted for economic development and tourism. The MOU was required for our national water trail application but it doesn’t specify how we will work together.

There is no set standard for managing a national water trail, we are allowed to pick our structure, 88 miles is a long way, need something to help us keep organized. There are other types of organizations we could become, some allowed through State Law

Group agreed that the SRNWTC has outgrown the informal structure (Option 1).

Agreed to focus on “Low Hanging Fruit”

-          Coordinated activities calendar

  • Joetta volunteered to coordinate the recreation committee

Proposed work plan for following year

  • Coalition meetings – setting agenda, recording minutes
  • Trail Management
  • Coordination of Work (Administration)
  • Communication along entire trail
  • Fundraising (we can appoint a fiduciary instead of seeking our own 501c3 status)
  • Marketing – get more technology, include QR codes, coordinate social media, use videos to promote the trail and attractions.

Group Consensus to have a chair, group agreed that David Lossing will be chair of the Coalition and that Sara McDonnell volunteered to serve as temporary secretary until a permanent is chosen. Sue Julian will support membership roster and communications as she is able.

Next meeting agenda

-          2018 Action Plan

-          Are we ready for website use?

-          Low hanging fruit (list)

Tentative date for November 30 if we hear from NPS

January 25 is meeting if we don’t hear back from  NPS by Nov 25.

Celebrations / Successes

-          Vernon adding a launch, Friends will ask Vernon to sign MOU

-          Oakley has signed on to the MOU

Meeting adjourned at 9:10PM