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Needed Renovation Continues at Nature Center

Construction at Springfield Conservation Nature Center / Photo: Shannon Bowers

Building a stone retaining wall is one of the necessary renovations currently taking place at the Nature Center, which sees 250,000 annual guests. Sycamore Cut-Off trail is the only trail closed to the public now but the Nature Center has been busy with renovations all over the trail, as assistant manager Rudy Martinez explains.

"They are taking place for two primary reasons. One, because of trails needing some repair and the other reason construction projects are taking place is because of the resource; to protect the resource," Martinez says.

Due to erosion, old wooden retaining walls were descending into the Galloway Creek. The new retaining walls are made of stone bricks, rock, and recycled board made of wood and plastic. Other parts of the trail needed to be widened.

Martinez said it is hard to tell when the trail will open back up because the Conservation Department has to rely on weather and the coordination of construction crews. The two crews making the repairs are also assigned to projects and emergency repairs in 17 counties.

"So occasionally they do get pulled from the project here to work on other construction projects when emergencies come up."

Currently under construction, the Sycamore Cut-Off connects the Boardwalk Trail to the Long Trail at the Long Bridge. Those who were out on the trail, like Matt Switzer and Suzanne Montgomery didn't seem to mind the closure.  

"I do enjoy the trail as a whole but they have done a good job of keeping part of it open through the construction process," Switzer says.

"We just kind of have to change our walking paths but I think it's for the better," said Montgomery.

The Sycamore Cut-off will be closed Monday through Thursday. The Long Bridge will also be closed from 7am-9am on those days. However, the park will have all sections of the trail open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

For KSMU News, I'm Shannon Bowers.