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By Joe Lewandowski
Special to The PREVIEW
With its abundant wetlands and location on the central flyway, Navajo State Park is a naturalist’s haven for viewing migratory and resident birds. If you want to learn more about the birds and wildflowers in this area, you’re invited to join two nature walks in June.
At 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 1, participants will be led on a hike along the Lake View Nature Trail. This 1-mile hike begins at the Visitor’s Center and will follow the old railroad grade to Windsurf Beach. This hike will travel through desert scrub and remnants of the old railroad. You’ll learn about the local wildlife, history and wildflowers.
At 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 8, hikers will gather at the Sambrito Wetlands trailhead located in the northwestern section of the park. Some birds found at Sambrito Wetlands include the Western Meadowlark, Bank Swallows and cranes. The Sambrito holds a rich history going back thousands of years with remnants of ancient sites, the northern most location of a Navajo hogan village. The short hike will feature viewing of a broad range of ecosystems — from wetlands to sage brush.
The Sambrito Wetlands are located on the western edge of Navajo Lake. To reach the trailhead, leave the main entrance and turn left on Colo. 151 and travel about 5 miles. Just as you are about to enter Allison, turn left onto County Road 988 and continue to the end of the road.
Participants should bring water, a day pack, binoculars and camera and wear clothing and footwear suitable for an easy-to-moderate hike on dirt trails. Extra binoculars and bird guides will be available for use. Hikes will be held weather permitting. All ages are invited on the hike.
The programs are free, but every vehicle entering the park must have a pass. The daily entry fee is $7, and an annual pass costs $70. For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife, go to cpw.state.co.us.