Blazing New Trails at the BWP
By: Cholla Rose Nicoll, Borderlands Wildlife Preserve Coordinator
At Borderlands Wildlife Preserve, we try to balance providing access to natural areas for humans and keeping our wildlife safe and thriving in the most non-invasive ways possible. We hope to work towards both goals this coming spring!
As many of our readers are probably aware, a recent study published in Nature Climate Change has reported that the west is experiencing the worst drought in 1200 years. Climate change driven by relatively recent human activity has made it 40% worse. Evidence shows that the drought is also not over yet, potentially continuing until 2030.
The continued drought makes life harder for our local wildlife. Borderlands Restoration Network and many other organizations concerned with wildlife conservation act by providing water for wildlife. Thanks to a generous donation from one of our incredible supporters, we have purchased four new wildlife drinkers to install in the preserve. Three of these drinkers will replace previous hand-crafted drinkers, eventually moving to different areas of the preserve. Although both types of drinkers provide much-needed water to animals, these new drinkers are designed to be buried at ground level allowing smaller animals and bugs to access moisture more easily. Two of these drinkers have already been installed, and we are happy to say they are working great just in time for the driest part of the year.
In addition to our new wildlife drinkers, the preserve will also be gaining a new trail, The Discovery Trail (DT). The DT will be located at the main entrance to the preserve just behind the welcome kiosk, with construction starting in March and completion planned for late fall of this year. The DT will allow visitors to discover habitat restoration techniques and local history through a series of small educational trailside signs and demonstration areas. As the coordinator of this project, I am excited to be working on this trail with the help of Tess Wagner, BRN’s Restoration Program Manager. Tess has helped design this trail to be ADA compliant using universal design concepts. The BWP currently has no trails that are universally accessible. This trail will provide access to individuals using wheelchairs, strollers, and others with limited mobility or impaired senses and/or abilities. In addition to being universally accessible the DT will also be open to leashed dogs.
Please stay tuned for more updates and potential volunteer opportunities in the future to help with the completion of the Discovery Trail. This trail would not be possible without the generous donation of supporters and the MTN Dew Outdoor Grant program. Borderlands Wildlife Preserve continues to evolve into a place with more opportunities for all to enjoy nature and provide a haven for our local wildlife. We hope to continue to find the balance between the two and are always open to suggestions from the community. Please enjoy this spring in the Sky Islands and reach out anytime with questions about the preserve and new happenings.
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