CATS work up Causeways - April 19, 2018 - City of Loveland Natural Areas

Last Thursday was action packed as our organization hosted the Front Range Community College (FRCC) – Outdoor Recreation Club (students actually on the clock) to come out and work with CATS. We met up with Derek and seven other students at our parking lot area. Before that – brilliant Navy Bob accidentally locked the van keys inside. What a mess! Frantically we called the wife, Brandon, Ghost Busters, anyone with a key to get in. Fortunately for me, Brandon was getting off work about noon and had the van key on his keyring. His arrival on the scene was like an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day. Thank you sir!
Back to work – our newest crew leader graduates from the recent Crew Leadership Class took over and provided a real good safety talk and tool brief. We then busted up into two crews and wander over the project site for more overview and vision layout. FRCC folks took over with great enthusiasm constructing the first two causeways. Crews were out in the river bank pulling in all the needed stone for the alignment and then the fill. A good suggestion was made by one of our members to bring in the sandy fill from the river instead of the dirt in the berm. I had to agree – the sandy fill is more durable and will compact nicely and will not cause muddy boots.
And so it was, up to 3 pm or so as our regulars started coming onto the project and naturally jumped in. Most of the students had to leave, but Austin from FRCC stayed the longest and was a great inspiration to us all; a hard worker indeed. CATS started a 3rd causeway and Dean shopped all over the place to find some really big stones. This causeway was elevated more than the other two and required much more attention to detail. We had an evening break by the river, ate some neat snacks, bird watched and enjoyed the fishes jumping in the stillness of the river.
With an hour to go, we whacked out over 120’ of trail (scrap and go). With time running out and the sun setting we had to stop even though our desire to push forward was on a high cadence. The addiction runs deep like a river.

Members: Dean,  Bob V, Navy Bob, Connie, Andy, Michael H, Leigh, Denny, Scott, Dave K, Mike A  Hours:   4.5

RESULTS:   235’ of brand new trail, 3 causeways = 2 @ 15’ each and 1 larger guy at 20’, one stone paver – nicely placed in a slight dip area.

·       Brandon rescued the whole operation with opening the van
·       Fantastic student outdoor recreational club from FRCC coming out (hope they come out again!)
·       ‘Out of the field’ – meaning the grassland work is not so exciting!
·       Great large crew again!
·       Weather was mild and great to work outside
·       Leigh Dawson appeared from behind a tree or something – glad to see him out again for sure
·       Andy earned his T-shirt and got it presented at Sports Station
·       Great CL instruction for the FRCC group by our new graduates
·       Lots of tools this time onsite – our tools! And we used them too!
·       Great help in rounding up tools, transport back to van, cleaning and putting away
·       Excellent teamwork all night – various groups doing multiple tasks – builders/rock hounds/draggers/corridor clearing/rock shoppers/trail builders – all kinds
·       Good teams on the causeways – excellent design and finished product
·       CATS learned a new rock skill this day
·       Still a very neat quiet place to work and enjoy nature
·       Austin – the student – stayed longer and put in some good work with the CATS
·       Hats off to Connie’s rock and the crew that put in a really nice stone paver
·       Scott did some great solo corridor clearing and dropping some dead snags too
·       Scott loaned us a real nice orange wheel barrow
·       ‘Bird awareness’  (feedback at roses/thorns)
·       Some of the buckets had sentimental value – Connie’s dad name on them
·       CATS employed all their carrying devices to get the stone and sand in place = blankets/buckets/canvas bags/wheel barrows
·       River break and sitting on the log – gave time for most to relax and enjoy the beauty of the place
·       Abundant resources for building the structures

·       Bob locked the keys to the van inside upon arriving onsite with a college class coming in fifteen minutes
·       Though there was an abundance of stone – we had to shop a great distance for the causeway stones – no real harm – the wheel barrows helped greatly – imagine if we did not have them?
·       Patience and make sure members listen to each other and act with kindness
The story of rock; I am sure you have heard this one before if you are an ardent reader of these email missives. So we won’t belabor the epic tale. But this story is different. Here on this site we took stones and made them into a raised trail. Why? Because the water will puddle here if there is a significant rain event. The abundance of stone in the river (displaced rocks) gave us a great opportunity to build new rock structure(s) and save the visitor muddy shoes. Rock is our friend and like a friend we treat it with respect. The causeways in this area will greatly enhance the trail durability to survive the oncoming visitor traffic, the weather, and the river. There are bets when the river will rise and take away our structures. Only time will tell. We can only rely on the work of professional restoration efforts since 2014 up river to hedge river flooding in this area. Otherwise, I feel our rock improvements will be there a long time.
Another observation from our work session last Thursday was our fun evening break at the log in the river. Our sharing of food items is starting to take off in many directions. We had Easter egg candy, Alaska Salmon jerky, Ecuadorian chocolate, beef jerky, nuts, trail mix, and homemade cookies. By far the best spread in trail snacks that I have seen in years. To add to the fun at the log we witnessed the Osprey in a tree, watched little trout’s snapping flies off the water and looked west into the river riffs. This place is so tranquil and will be a great trail for the citizens to enjoy in many ways. We are grateful to be able to construct such a wonderful trail system.

Link to Pictures: Click Here.

On the trail,
Bob Johnson

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