On a day cloaked with freezing drizzle and fog, nearly four dozen brave souls headed to Bear Creek to get some work done. Before even realizing the incredible importance of the now known, one and only, greenback cutthroat trout population in the creek, folks from the angling, motorized, mountain biking communities and the general populace committed to showing up on October 6th . The goal was to clean up trash, restore stream banks, plant native vegetation and install signs about how to behave appropriately in a sensitive watershed. Two large sites that had been denuded of all vegetation and generally mistreated were chosen for the brunt of the work, along with numerous user-created trails that were contributing sediment to the stream and encouraging inappropriate behavior. These sites were cleaned of debris, seeded with a native seed mix, planted with native shrubs and had erosion control matting installed. The net result was some constructive progress towards better managing this precious creek.
This day came together after folks from Trout Unlimited, the Colorado Motorized Trail Riders Association and the Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates (a mountain biking club) joined together to ask for actions to protect the creek and to preserve the fish and recreation opportunities. We collectively asked Colorado Springs Parks (owners of this piece of land) to allow us to get a crew together to get out and address some of the easiest-to-fix problems.
Of course, much more needs to be done to ensure the legacy of the Greenback and of the unique recreation opportunities found in the Bear Creek watershed. The drainage holds one of the very few single track motorized trails on the Front Range, a world class mountain biking trail and a great hiking trail, very close to Colorado Springs. The fish and the recreation make this drainage a real treasure for both Colorado Springs residents and the general public alike. With these ideals in mind, the above-mentioned groups also asked the managing agencies to complete a few tasks that will both retain the recreation opportunities and preserve the fish. We have asked for a reroute of the trail to a less impactful area in the drainage, restoration of the creek and a remedy of the problems associated with a nearby road.
Once completed, these tasks will ensure the longevity of an amazing fish and tremendous recreational opportunities, and we be hailed as a true community effort. We at Trout Unlimited are proud to be part of efforts like this and hope that collaborative efforts where folks reach out to one another to get things done becomes the new paradigm. We think wild places, wild critters and people will all ultimately benefit.