Not every forest should have trails. Some of our deepest wilderness is off-limits to human access. Not only can we damage natural areas by introducing synthetic materials, sparking wildfires, causing erosion, and disrupting wildlife, we can also inadvertently introduce invasive species into our forests when we move around in them.
At Cheasty, we love trails, and believe this urban forest is a perfect place for them. By providing access to nature right here, we hope to reduce pressure on deep wilderness and provide a laboratory for urban hikers to learn and practice responsible wilderness etiquette and grow in appreciation for the wonders of our natural world.
Just as volunteers at Cheasty Greenspace remove invasive weeds, and plant and nurture native plants, volunteers also build and maintain the trails by which the community accesses this forest. And just as nature is always eager to reclaim her realm, if we don’t maintain these built trails, we would soon lose them to the forest floor!
Every fall in Cheasty, those grand old maples drop their leaves. They don’t need the leaves anymore- by dropping them, they conserve their energy and prepare for new growth in the spring. As the invertebrates below feast on the nutritious leaf litter all winter long, they add to the overall health of the soil- circulating those nutrients back to the maples and the many other residents of the forest.
One of the many volunteer opportunities in our local woods, is clearing organic material off the trials before it can break down and become a source of new nutrients for plant growth in the middle of the trail. When you walk the trails at Cheasty, you’ll see a thick blanket of leaves decomposing all over the forest, but hopefully not on the path under your feet!