In the South Side Park decades of neglect allowed invasive vines to cripple much of the ecology. Use of the park was almost exclusively by dirt bikes and partying campers, further eroding the landscape and forest and littering the park.
Throughout the past several years our volunteers and the Student Conservation Assocation (SCA) have worked constantly to improve the South Side Park for use and preservation. Hundreds of trees have had their trees disentangled from invasive vines, garlic mustard has been removed in droves, and japanese knotweed has been eradicated as much as we can. Many tons of trash have been removed. Through it all, the goal has been to allow for a healthy forest and for a pleasant and peaceful place to visit.
To improve the park more permanently though we really need people to use it. One of the long-term goals has been building a trail system that can be utilized by walkers, joggers, and hikers throughout the 65 acres of forest. One of the best things for the South Side Park will have to people walking the trails and using it in an eco-conscious manner.
The first step to this is getting all of the trails blazed with painted way-signs, so users can follow the trails easily. There are a lot of crisscrossing paths within the forest due to deer, mountain bikers, and dirt bikers, so it is incredibly confusing without the signage. To build upon the way-makers we need permanent wooden signs marking the junctions. We also need trail maps both printed in map-form and at the entrances. Lastly in the trail department we need to sign the entrances to invite people into the park as so few people know that it even exists, or what it contains.
Please help us continue to save our forest by encouraging its use, and using it yourself! Please join us for a fundraiser on June 3 at Acacia to help support these efforts. Click here for more information.