Sondermann Park trails upgraded in ‘win-win’ deal for city

       Trails in Sondermann Park were upgraded this spring in separate training projects by two statewide volunteer trail-building agencies.

In Sondermann Park this week, Westside resident Melinda Welsh and her dog Lucy walk down the Mesa Valley Connection Trail at the intersection with the Lilac Trail.
Westside Pioneer photo

       “More and more, we rely on volunteer groups,” said Scott Abbott, regional parks, trails and open space supervisor for City Parks. “The two groups were looking to train people to be crew leaders, and we gave them an opportunity to do that at Sondermann. The work was much needed there, so it was a real win-win.”
       The roughly 50-acre city park/open space, which includes the Beidleman Center, is in the Mesa Springs neighborhood, with the entrance off Caramillo and Chestnut streets.
       With cutbacks in this year's city budget, City Parks is having a harder time using paid staff to take care of the many trails in large parks such as Sondermann, according to Abbott.
       The projects were accomplished in April by the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) and in May by the Colorado Legends and Legacies Youth Corps. Abbott categorized most of the work as “rehabbing,” consisting of drainage improvements, water bars and pruning along a few hundred feet of Sondermann's Western Loop trail. In addition, the volunteers closed off “social trails” (unofficial paths) in the south part of the park, he said.
       The city stands to gain in another way with more local people trained as crew leaders. Abbott pointed out that such people take their know-how back to volunteer trail-building groups they work with (such as Medicine Wheel or the Intemann Trail Committee), and this helps the city “feel more comfortable in letting them work on projects unsupervised.”

On the Western Loop Trail, in the foreground, is a drainage bar that was created as part of the crew leader training on Sondermann Park trails this spring. In the background at left is the intersection of the Mesa Valley Connection and Western Loop/South Park Loop trails.
Westside Pioneer photo

       An example was Medicine Wheel's construction of new trail near the city-leased Section 16 trailhead in a project this month, he noted.
       The city is willing to help coordinate future volunteer training endeavors in its parks, Abbott added. For more information, call 385-6520.

Westside Pioneer article