Janet Kauffman: Riverside 2014.04.16

For several years after the City of Morenci designated Riverside Park a Natural Area, it was a beautiful stream-side place to walk and listen and breathe easy.

This week, though, when Lenawee County birders walked the path to see if warblers had arrived, we found Riverside a neglected place, with furniture dumps near the stream, truck ruts off the drive. Broken cable fencing. No benches. No signage for No Motorized Vehicles on the paths.

The birds don’t mind, but for people, it’s an unwelcoming place. Disheartening.

We did see our first warbler of the season, and flickers, red-bellied wood. Looking into the trees is still a wonderful experience.

But the stream, the path, the drive–that’s a different story. Maybe the City, with help from student volunteers, or others interested in stewardship, could do some simple restoration. It wouldn’t take much time or money to remove the dumped material and trash, repair the cabling, post No Motorized Vehicles signs at the path openings.

Simple things like that show the value a town places on its properties and invaluable assets like Riverside Natural Area.

Check out the 4-12-14 bird list for Riverside at: www.beancreekwatershed.org/riverside.htm

– Janet Kauffman

Hudson, Mich.