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RMFI seeks volunteers this fall for 9 more Garden workdays, 3 at Red Rock

       While flooding repairs at Red Rock Canyon Open Space have gained more attention this year, volunteers with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) are also continuing their steady efforts to care for the Garden of the Gods.
       Nine workdays remain on the 2015 schedule (through early November), with “a lot of
Plantings, such as the yucca shown here, are part of the effort by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute to restore areas afflicted with social trails in the Garden of the Gods.
Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Field Institute
openings” for signups, according to Molly Mazel, RMFI's volunteer coordinator.
       The dates are Oct. 8, 10, 11, 18 and 31; and Nov. 5, 7, 8 and 14. The Oct. 10 date consists of morning and afternoon half-days, geared for teens and family members who want to help.
       RMFI, a nonprofit trail restoration and environmental education entity based on the Westside, has been coordinating with Colorado Springs Parks on Garden upgrades since 2002. The group schedules its workdays there in the spring and fall.
       Part of a multi-year endeavor that started last year, the current Garden focus is the east side of the city park, where the chief problems are “social trails” (created by hikers who leave established trails). This practice not only kills vegetation, but such paths in drainage areas can quickly turn into gullies. “When you have a park with 2 million visitors a year, nondesignated trails are constantly being formed,” Mazel noted.
       The RMFI remedies include split-rail fencing to block tempting social-trail access points, check-dams, soil stabilization, seeding and planting.
       In Red Rock Canyon, RMI led 10 workdays from July to September, and three more have recently been scheduled (Oct. 21 and 24 and Nov. 1).
       Mazel explained that the Red Rock work has been divided into four phases, based on priorities identified by City Parks and RMFI after the damaging rains last April and May. “We've done two phases - the Quarry Pass Trail and the creekbed near the Roundup Trail,” she said. “Now we're moving on to the third, which is the Sand Canyon pond breech. The fourth priority, improvements to climbing-access trails, will wait till spring.”
       Preregistration is necessary for all workdays. The times are 8:30 to 3 p.m., with a minimum age of 16 (13 if accompanied by an adult), with the exception of the youth days. For more information, contact RMFI at 471-7736 x4 or molly@rmfi.org.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 10/4/15; Outdoors: General)

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