This past weekend the Greenway Leadership Corps traveled to Livermore, Colorado, to stay and work on a preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy along the Poudre River.
Phantom Canyon, as it’s known is a rim-to-rim roadless canyon, encompassing four miles of the North Fork of the Cache la Poudre River. There is so much to see in the canyon, and this weekend alone we saw a rattlesnake, northern pygmy owl, hawks, vultures, pronghorn antelope, and a couple of our students even saw a mountain lion! Overall, there are over 100 bird species that have been spotted in the grassy uplands, along the river's edge and flying above the canyon walls. And the varied topography, slope and soil conditions combine to create habitat for more than 200 plant species, including many kinds of cactus and wildflowers.
16 of us met with Kevin, the Stewardship Manager on the preserve, on Friday morning. He gave us a brief tour of the area, and then we had the day to explore. We spend the day getting to know each other through fun team builders, and then one of our own Greenway staff members led a workshop on Leave No Trace.
Saturday morning we woke up early to get our tools and hike down into the canyon. We spent the day working on two trail building projects. First, we put in some stairs at a river crossing to help decrease erosion. The other project consisted of clearing vegetation from the trails and clipping mullein seeds, an invasive plant. After our full day of trail building, a few of us hiked upstream a bit to swim in the river and cool down. When we returned to our cabin, one of our participants spoke about her experience studying and researching microbiology and ecology.
On Sunday, we woke up early again to get in a few more hours of trail building. We traveled upstream from where we worked the day before and built another staircase, again to help with erosion, and further cleared vegetation from the trail.
Our students and staff had a spectacular time, learning about and experiencing so many new spaces, skills, and sceneries. A huge thank you to the support of The Nature Conservancy and Wildlands Restoration Volunteers for their continued support with this annual project. Every year we have students saying they can’t wait to come back the following year, and that this trip is the highlight of their year, so thank you for making this possible, because without you we couldn’t make it happen.