Tales From The Trails:

The Long and Lovely Trail Season

Summer and fall have been good to the trails of Forest Park. The Forest Park Conservancy crew, headed by Trails Manager Lucy Cohen, and bands of dedicated trail interns and volunteers have been hard at work all summer long and through this clear, dry October to protect and improve the health of Forest Park’s trails.

While trail work continues year-round, the crew uses the dry summer months to rebuild damaged and eroded pieces of trail. With their trusty wheelbarrows, pulaskis, shovels and McLeods, the crew and burly volunteers have built a whopping 514 feet of rock retaining wall this year (that’s 27,328 pounds of rock!) and armored 1,162 ft of trail (that took 40.5 cubic yards of gravel!). This rock work allows water to drain while keeping the trail’s walking surface solid and drier during the winter. So keep your eyes out for newly built drains and gravelled trail under those brilliant fallen leaves!

We couldn’t do this work without the support of our volunteers and the organizations and companies that are dedicated to the health of our city’s citizens and natural areas. The Conservancy and the Friends of Outdoor School continued their partnership this summer as two Outdoor School instructors spent the summer learning the art of trail work with Lucy, then lent their expertise to lead three family-friendly Kids’ Discovery Hikes on the weekends.

The Conservancy was also pleased to host a series of trail repair projects and a native planting sponsored by the steel manufacturer, ESCO. ESCO donated materials and tools and their very own volunteer labor to complete rock drains and a turnpike on Wildwood north of Springville Road, and plant 140 native plants along Wildwood south of Newton Road. The Indian plums, blue elderberries, salmonberries, sword ferns and herbaceous natives will stabilize the slopes adjacent to the summer’s trail work sites, improving water quality, supporting native habitat and protecting the integrity of the trail for years to come.

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