Tales From The Trails:

Improving the Northern End of the Wildwood Trail

Right now there is a race going on at the northern end of Forest Park. This isn’t an athletic competition—rather, it’s a race to improve as much of the Wildwood Trail as possible between Milepost 29 and Newberry Road before winter weather closes in on us. This race is taking place in one of the most remote and pristine areas of Forest Park.

FPC’s improvements along the northern end of the Wildwood Trail are especially crucial because the trail passes by intact and sensitive native wildlife habitats.

Moreover, the trail in this section is narrower and more primitive than in other parts of Forest Park and often clings to the sides of steep slopes. Keeping the trail well maintained in this area is in everyone’s best interest, since it helps keep trail users safe and free to enjoy the scenery while also helping protect the integrity of the surrounding ecosystem.

By mid-January, FPC volunteers and staff will be wrapping up this big project. In the end, we will have:

• Stabilized the backslope and trail surface where the trail runs along hillsides—this will help stem erosion and maintain
efficient drainage;
• Hauled in 8 tons of gravel, and used it to improve especially rough and muddy patches of the trail, smooth out the transitions between bridges and the trail surface, and raise the trail around large exposed roots;

• Built a wooden retaining wall to stabilize a section of trail that collapsed when a nearby tree fell over; and

• Removed defunct plastic culverts and replaced them with hardened, more natural-looking drain dips.

With the days growing shorter and the weather becoming less predictable and very chilly, the race is on to finish these improvements before the rains return. We have just a few more volunteer work parties remaining in 2017. Sign up to volunteer!

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