From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Durango Nature Studies will join Mountain Studies Institute, San Juan Mountains Association, Trails 2000 and the San Juan National Forest to host an array of activities for the community in the Hermosa Creek watershed.
The primary goal of “Hermosa Resilience: A Community Event” is to provide the public with the opportunity to participate in the restoration of the Hermosa Creek watershed after the 416 Fire last summer. In addition to the service activities, we’ll also provide educational activities for children and adults. There are no special skills necessary for any of the activities, just a willingness to help and a desire to learn. We’ll be joined by the new district ranger, James Simino, with the San Juan National Forest’s Columbine District.
Durango Nature Studies will provide kid-friendly activities, including a matchstick forest activity and a simulator that demonstrates why there may be so much soil erosion and runoff after a fire. In addition, Mountain Studies Institute and Durango Nature Studies will have ingredients for children (and children at heart) to make their own seed balls and disperse them in the burn area. Thanks to Durango Nature Studies summer campers and some Silverton and Mancos students, too, we also have a hearty supply of already-made seed balls for participants to disperse throughout the burn area.
There are a couple of hiking options for participants. San Juan Mountains Association will lead an interpretive hike at 9:30 a.m. and again at 10:30 a.m. to highlight the impact of the 416 Fire on the old growth ponderosa stands. This hike is about 2.5 miles. Mountain Studies Institute will lead a stewardship hike at 9:30 a.m. with the goal of removing invasive weeds and planting native seeds along Jones Creek Trail.
Trails 2000 will host a trail restoration project along the Hermosa Creek Trail. While no experience is necessary, participants will need to bring their own mountain bikes to reach the restoration site easily. Trails 2000 will provide all tools, instruction, water and lunch for trail work volunteers.
It is not often that all four nonprofits can combine our specialties and coordinate efforts for a community event such as this one. Hermosa Creek is such an important and beloved part of this community that it only made sense for us to join forces in an effort to get as large a turnout as possible.
As I wrote in my June 2018 column shortly after the 416 Fire started, wildfires may be frightening, but they often provide a healthy, important outcome for our forests. Saturday’s Hermosa Resilience event will provide participants with an opportunity to see an important part of our region in the beginning stages of recovery. It’s truly remarkable to watch nature recover from fires.
The event starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Lower Hermosa Campground. Durango Nature Studies will use its van as a shuttle along Forest Service Road 576 to provide a lift to anyone who wants one. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes or boots, long pants, shirt (long- or short-sleeved), sun hat, sunscreen and bring a lunch, water bottle and a rain jacket. We hope to see you there. If you can’t join us, be sure to follow Durango Nature Studies and our partners to learn about other stewardship events.
Stephanie Weber is executive director of Durango Nature Studies. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.