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August Audubon hike along Four Mile Creek

Join members of the Weminuche Audubon Society for a beautiful morning hike along Four Mile Creek as it runs through the Hershey Four Mile Ranch.

The outing is on Saturday, Aug. 27, and is free and open to the public. 

Clay Kampf, fisheries biologist for the San Juan National Forest, will lead this hike and will share with us the natural history of the stream, what ecological events have shaped the stream and what is influencing the stream now.

 Participating in this hike will provide you with a better understanding of the complexity of a flowing stream in our wild landscape, and the plants and yearly natural cycles that affect it.  Where does the water that flows through Four Mile Creek come from? What land is included in the greater watershed of Four Mile Creek? Where does the water go once it flows through the ranch? What changes are we already seeing in stream water and water flow from climate change and what more do scientists think will change? What can you do to help slow down the degradation? Learn how conserving water at your home helps a wild land stream like Four Mile Creek. Water in streams, rivers, lakes and ponds in the Southern Rockies Ecosystem where we live is critical to all wildlife.  All wildlife depends on clear, clean water to survive.

 You will learn why willows and cottonwood trees are so important to the health of this stream, what wild species depend on the water and how water diversions like ditches impact a free flowing stream. Participants will take a look at the beaver ponds on the stream and learn the importance of beavers — the hydrologic engineers of our forests — and how their activities protect a stream.

Clay will talk about the shape of the land and how it defines the vegetation found along the stream, and about what spring snowmelt runoff does to the stream and the stream banks. You will learn what riparian areas and uplands are and what vegetation are associated with a healthy stream. Participants will also learn about the indicators of a healthy stream and water quality.

 This morning hike will give you a new way of seeing our local streams and, of course, there will be plenty of bird watching along the way.

Participants will park on 2nd Street at the Forest Service office and carpool to the ranch. The hike will last until noon. Wear appropriate hiking boots, and bring a snack and plenty of water.  Pack a lunch if you’d like to stay for the question-and-answer session from noon to 1 p.m.   Also bring bug spray, sunscreen, camera and binoculars. This hike is rated moderate.

To R.S.V.P., or for more information, contact Beverly Compton at 731-3471 or bevkresz@centurytel.net. The Weminuche Audubon would like to extend a special thank you to Ivan Geroy of the San Juan National Forest for helping make this hike possible.

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