Restoration project protects wildflowers in Albion Basin

Posted at 10:05 PM, Jul 13, 2013

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah – Thousands of people go up Little Cottonwood Canyon each week to see the wildflowers in Albion Basin, but problems are created when people don’t stay on the path.

Volunteers came together Saturday to reclaim illegal trails cut by hikers and bikers.

Volunteer Jessie Walthers said they are trying to protect native plants in the area.

“We are up doing a trail restoration and native plant restoration project here at Alta,” she said.

Hikers said Albion Basin is a much-loved spot, and they said it may even be too popular as people frequently leave trails to cut their own path through the flowers, which can cause erosion and problems with the watersheds.

“It really helps with planting the native plants back in this area,” volunteer Taylor Thompson said. “We are planting a few trees and some wildflowers as well.”

Volunteers also helped by adding trees and loose soil in the area, which will help stabilize the ground. Volunteers said they hoped the rocks and trees they’ve put in the way of illegal paths will keep people from using them. Environmental coordinator Steve Scheid said it’s important to educate people about what they are doing.

“Our goal is to create some understanding, and we would really like the biking community that's involved in this to come to us and work with us and be part of a solution that is sustainable,” he said. “This area is our watershed, that's the most critical value we have here, so we have to be very careful of how we manage recreation and provide recreation.”

Forest service officials said many people don’t think leaving the path is a big deal, but when thousands of people do it then there is a noticeable negative impact.