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Memorial Day Hours: The Nature Center will be open from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Monday, May 27

Memorial Day Hours: The Nature Center will be open from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Monday, May 27

The wetlands at Fontenelle Forest – a favorite area for hikers and birders – is now open!

We are very excited to announce that after more than two years of
flood recovery work, access to the south wetlands is OPEN!

This is a picture of a wetland with long grass. There is a cleared space with standing water in it. It has the text in the middle "NOW OPEN! WETLANDS".

Why was it closed?

In the fall of 2018, Hidden Lake Trail froze with several inches to one foot of water on it. Due to this our Wetlands were already saturated leading up to the historic spring floods of 2019.

When the floods hit in March of 2019, the Missouri River rose so quickly that the wetlands and surrounding structures were overcome by flood waters and sustained a lot of damage. This unique ecosystem within the Forest – a favorite area for hikers and birders – was closed indefinitely.

What damage was sustained?

There was a lot of damage, trash and destruction. Volunteers and staff worked hard to clean up what they could. The cottonwood tree was displaced, our dipping pond dock was moved, the boardwalk came apart, and the observation blind connection to the boardwalk was damaged. As well, there was significant erosion around the blind.

What repairs were made?

We worked with Big Muddy Workshop, who initially designed the blind and boardwalk, to draw up repair plans and design the new bridge. We needed to obtain Army Corps of Engineer permits, and we are working with a FEMA grant to help pay for some of the construction costs. Dostals Construction completed the work. We were able to salvage some of the boardwalk sections, and used those where we could, with some repaired boards and joints.

See photos of some of the repairs that were made at the bottom of this blog.

Is there still work to be done?

Yes. As time goes on, we may need to reseed around the construction areas, and will be doing so with native, local seed. Please step carefully if you’re walking on the erosion control blankets as we wait for the seeds to germinate.

Hidden Lake Trail is being reworked on the end that meets up with History Trail, but we haven’t had a chance to move the kiosk yet. We will be mulching Pond Trail again, but in the mean-time, be ready for muddy conditions.

Thank you to all of our members and guests for your understanding and patience
as our staff and volunteers worked diligently to restore the wetlands.

We hope you get a chance to explore this unique area and make new discoveries in the Forest!


For general questions:
Contact Visitor Services at 402-731-3140 or info@fontenelleforest.org.

For detailed questions about the wetlands flood recovery project:
Email Michelle Foss, Director of Resource Stewardship, at mfoss@fontenelleforest.org.

a picture of a small wooden bridge. It has the text, "NEW BRIDGE" in a green label with a white text. a picture of wooden stairs next to a tree. It has the text "BLIND JOINT" in a green label with white text.

a picture of geese on the shoreline of a body of water. It has the text, "GEESE ON NEW SHORE" in a green label with white text. A picture of a wooden path through forest. It has the caption "NEW BOARDWALK".

Fontenelle Forest is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit.

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