A crew ready to work gathered at Valentine City Park on the morning of September 26th at 10 a.m. It was National Public Lands Day and attention was to be given to establish a new alignment for an eroded section of the Minnechaduza loop trail.
Volunteers included Mark Lindvall, Jim Dahlstrom, Kim Martin, Tom Borszich, Nathan Tillinghast and Jim Ducey.
Tools were ample with neariy all of them – including shovels, chainsaw, rake, a couple of adze, etc.; as well as some tasty donuts - brought by men in trucks of the National Park Service. Their contribution also included several appropriate lengths of 4x4 lumber needed to stabilize and provide steps for the trail. Borszich thankfully had a couple of long drill bits needed to drill holes for lengths of rebar hammered in to anchor the wood, as well as a spare power tool battery which helped in getting the work done.
Missing was a broom that could have been used to convey a clean situation, especially on the bridge were chainsaw work was done.
The day’s task started with removal of some worn pieces of 4x4 lumber on the hill slope. Three flags marked the new route for the trail. Shovel-fulls of dirt were moved to establish the new alignment. Tree roots were forcefully removed to get a properly wide and smooth surface. Lumber was placed and anchored. Eventually, some cedar branches were placed appropriately to stifle where erosion was most serious, adjacent to a groundwater spring which emptied into the adjacent Minnechaduza Creek.
Dirt was suitably placed to anchor the trail-side and get a proper setting for steps. Once the surface was leveled and smoothed, salvaged trail rock was spread over the dirt.
It was a job well done as by everybody present that contributed to park improvement. During the time, someone involved with a Scout group in Valentine stopped by and expressed a conciliatory tone as he would have liked to have the scout group involved, but he had learned about the project just a day or two prior.
Alas, should have used the flash to take this picture, since it is the best available.
On Sunday, some personal time was spent picking up litter along the Cowboy Trail within Valentine. This may seem like an easy task, yet when trying to place the trash into either of the two available receptacles at the Valentine trail building, both were so completely full that there was hardly room to stuff in some pieces of paper with numbers, probably associated with some organized event on the previous day. To the east, bits of cactus were removed from the concrete – perhaps to help riders avoid a troublesome thorn piercing a bicycle tire – and some weeds were pulled from cracks in the trail surface and along its edge. The bench along the trail was the first place dealt with as weeds where feet belong is not welcoming.
Afterwards, some thorns were pulled from fingers because caution, or gloves are needed to deal with the prickly weeds.