Salida Trail Restoration Project – 2014
The Salida Trail Restoration Project is a community effort that began as a response to the proliferation of the invasive Kochia, Russian Thistle, Russian Olive and other invasive plants along the outer edges of the trail corridors. The Project is a partnership between the City of Salida, Chaffee County, Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (LTUA), Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), Salida-area Parks, Open-spaces and Trails (SPOT), adopt-a-trail volunteers and community members.
In 2013, SPOT received funding from the City of Salida and Chaffee County to develop and implement a trail restoration plan for 2014. Funding provided two weeks of the SCC youth crew, a project coordinator (OSM/VISTA employee assigned to GARNA) and supplies for public involvement including sixth-grade students, through GARNA’s Youth Ecological Literacy Program (YELP).
Through 2014 additional volunteers from SPOT, GARNA, LTUA, and local professionals have assisted with this project providing public training clinics on plant and wildlife identification and seed collection, helped with school service field days and numerous community clean-up, “weed-outs”, and plant days. This team of interested citizens, organizations and professionals has served to engage and educate people of all ages in an innovative and comprehensive effort to eradicate state-listed noxious weeds, reduce the risk of fire, and improve habitat and vegetative conditions in the years to come. The impact of the Salida Trail Restoration Project is substantial for those involved with the project and for those who enjoy the trails for recreation and transportation. Over time the trails will be beautiful corridors with natural buffers and expanded riparian and grassland habitats that are endemic to the area.
Two “habitat islands” were created along the Monarch Spur Trail as part of the project, (7th St. and Holman Ave.), and ten Blue Bird nesting boxes were built and placed along the trail. This work offered educational and hands-on experience for the SCC crew and local volunteers and provided valuable assistance in preserving and restoring wildlife habitat along the Salida Trail.
On November 4, 2014 the staff of the Habitat Hero program named the Monarch Spur Trail as an Outstanding Park/Trail Project Habitat Hero Garden and an inspiration and positive contribution to their mission to grow a network of habitat for songbirds and pollinators in gardens across the Rocky Mountains and beyond, save water, and restore our joy in nature every day. The 2014 Habitat Hero application was submitted by SPOT and partners and the Monarch Spur Trail was one of 29 projects picked to be Habitat Hero recipients this year. (habhero.org)
As a Habitat Hero, the Monarch Spur Trail is recognized on their website and in their publicity, received a Habitat Hero sign, a Habitat Hero Birdwatchers preplanned garden designed by Lauren Springer Ogden and benefiting the Habitat Hero program, a copy of Colorado Wildscapes, the guide to habitat-restoration in urban and working landscapes, and one-year membership in the National Audubon Society.
The Salida Trail Restoration Project is an ongoing project that will improve the quality of our landscape and support our stewardship to our environment over time. Through funding received by LTUA through a GOCO grant this project will continue through 2015 with more community education, weed eradication and planting of native vegetation. GARNA also received 2015 Salida Community funding to replace the educational/informational signs along the Monarch Spur Trail.