Beaver Ponds Interpretive Trail
Beaver Ponds, Smelting and More
In 2014, AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers and local high school students helped in the initial stages of our 3/4-mile interpretive loop trail. In 2016 with the help of local volunteers and the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado we completed the Sacramento Creek loop trail. At Beaver Ponds we use iPads instead of trail signs to reduce the amounts of materials needed and in addition the devices enable us to update information easily. The gently sloping trail runs along the north and south sides of Sacramento Creek and helps make access to unique ecological settings including sub-alpine forest, high elevation sagebrush and riparian vegetation communities. Along the trail you will also find information related to local pre-historic and historic activities, beaver ecology, dendrochronology, sustainable forestry and subalpine pollinators.
For example, you will pass the site of an old smelter. Smelting, the process of extracting metal from ore through heating it, played a crucial role in developing the nearby town of Alma. In early 1873, the town only had three homes, but when Boston and Colorado Smelting Company moved in and worked the Duquesne smelter and mines on Mount Lincoln and Bross, the town swelled to nearly 45 homes within three months.
In addition to area history, the trail-goer can learn about the local ecology, particularly that of beaver ponds. You will see beaver ponds of different ages and stages and understand the importance of beavers in the ecosystem. The trail also includes information on plant identification, forest ecology, and forest and shrub plot management.