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Volunteers to work on trail project Saturday

Members and friends of the Weminuche Audubon Society (WAS), Southwest Conservation Corps (SWCC) and Navajo State Park will work to improve and extend an existing nature trail at the north end of Navajo Reservoir on Saturday, June 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To do so, however, they’re asking for some assistance from volunteers who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or simply pitching in to protect and enhance vital wildlife habitat.

Planned improvements include trail enhancements from a foot bridge over the Piedra River to Narrow Gauge Junction (less than a mile), and trail construction from “the junction” to Deer Run (0.7 miles).

The foot bridge is part of a wildlife viewing area immediately east of Colo. 151, just south of where the highway crosses the Piedra River. Narrow Gauge Junction and Deer Run are two of seven reservoir access point/parking areas (and one campground) on the northeast side of the lake, all of which are readily accessible by County Road 500 (CR 500).

Unskilled volunteers will assist with raking, weeding and litter collection, as skilled workers construct a few rock retaining walls, install half-a-dozen wildlife and habitat interpretive signs along the path, and strategically place several nest boxes and roosting platforms for use by various raptors, waterfowl and songbirds.

WAS will provide all necessary tools, gloves, drinking water and lunch items, with park staff doing the actual cooking at the wildlife viewing area.

SWCC is a nonprofit organization with regional offices in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Since 1998, it has achieved significant conservation work throughout the tri-state region, as young adult corps members earn a living allowance, while developing valuable work and life skills. Several corps members will assist in all Piedra Trail improvements.

Navajo State Park, meanwhile, is Colorado’s version of Lake Powell. Aside from boating and fishing on 15,000 surface-acres of scenic reservoir, the park also offers year-round camping on 138 sites, abundant hiking trails and dramatic wildlife viewing opportunities.

This phase of the Piedra Trail project is funded by grants from TogetherGreen (Toyota and the National Audubon Society), Archuleta County, and the energy giant, BP.

Volunteer participants should park and register at Narrow Gauge Junction just off CR 500, a mile from Colo. 151. Dress for a day outdoors, and expect a sense of achievement as you help protect and enhance vital wildlife habitat, while augmenting an amazing, easily-accessible nature trail for all to enjoy.

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