Wetlands Recovery Update (ongoing)
This blog will serve as an avenue to provide ongoing updates on our wetlands recovery efforts. Construction is set to begin by Dec. 1, 2020, and be completed by March 19, 2021. We appreciate your continued patience during this process and ask that you respect and follow all trail closures. You can also visit our Wetlands webpage here for more information: https://fontenelleforest.org/wetlands/
November 20, 2020
We’ve received many questions about the floodplain – why are the trails still closed, when will things be fixed, when can we hike again?! Well, here’s the latest update!
Construction is to begin between November 23 and December 1, so we will be closing the area south of Gifford Road on the floodplain. Most of the wetlands trails have been closed since the flood and will remain closed. Additionally, we will be closing South Stream and Pond Trails. This means that ALL wetlands trails will be closed during construction.
The construction crew will be staging near the building and will likely begin work at the bird blind. While the structure itself sustained little damage, the connecter bridge from the boardwalk must be replaced, and we have lost a significant amount of land to the Great Marsh due to erosion. They will be conducting bank stabilization and increase the ground between the blind and the Great Marsh. As well, the boardwalk will need to be cleaned up, and pieces that can be reused will be, as it wasn’t all destroyed. The ground will need light grading before the boardwalk is replaced. The last element to be constructed is a new bridge over the stream to connect the floodplain to Mormon Hollow Trail.
The completion date of construction is March 19, 2021. Throughout the project, as new updates are available, we will post updates to this blog to keep everyone informed. We know that many people are anxious to have access to the floodplain again and we ask for your patience as we complete work.
In addition to the construction during the dormant season, the rangers will be working on rerouting, planning, and constructing the remaining wetlands trails. We expect changes in our trail layouts both at Neale Woods and Fontenelle Forest. We are being strategic so we don’t have to fight Mother Nature and changing water levels or add structures to the floodplain, to the best of our ability with our planning tools available. We ask that everyone be respectful of all closures, both for trails work and construction, so we can do our jobs safely for both people and the land. We strive to provide access in the most balanced way possible with an eye to the future, including habitat restoration potential on the floodplain.
Though the southern trails are closed, Cottonwood, Missouri, and North Stream Trails remain open. We will keep you posted as to progress throughout the winter, and are excited to open back up this spring. Until then, happy hiking!