Friday, May 9, 2008

You'll Love the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

I can remember hiking through a native wetland forest when I was a young Boy Scout. This was in the early 60's. This was in the upper valley of El Paso, Texas. No such place exists any longer.

Many decades before that hike, great stands of cottonwoods disappeared from the banks of the Rio Grande in the upper valley. Engineers were straightening the channel and in those days the only power for the large dozers was steam - steam from burning the wood of the trees that they had dug up just to power the engines to operate the machinery to straighten the river channel.

The disappearance of so much of the native habitat along the Rio Grande in our "Place", is what makes the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park so special. The dream of John Sproul and the collective work of so many, the Park today showcases what can happen when we restore our native environment.

Now is the time to visit the park and see the native bitterweed in bloom. Tomorrow, Saturday May 10 at 8:00 a.m. you can even go on a special birding hike. Many birds that have for years no longer nested along the Rio Grande have returned: the Long-eared Owl, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Bell's Vireo just to name three.

Gone are most of the salt cedars. Returning are the native Tornillo and Cottonwoods.

Getting to the Park is a bit tricky so get directions here.

Also plan to see the exhibit Building a Bosque: 10 Years of Habitat Restoration at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park at the Centennial Museum at UTEP. All those who I've spoken with who have seen this exhibit rave about it.

The Rio Bosque Wetlands Park shows us just why this Place of ours is so precious.

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