Nature park gets shave, trim

FAIRMONT – It has been five years since the dedication of the nature park just off the Hobo Trail near Lake George in Fairmont. Today, the native prairie grasses, plants and trees are thriving.

In fact, they grew up a little too well.

“It was getting overgrown,” said trail committee member Phil Hanson. “To the point it was not a good walking trail.”

Hanson uses the trail nearly every day. Little by little, the woodchipped path grew more and more narrow as the surrounding raspberries, bushes and brush began taking over.

It had become somewhat difficult to even see the entrance to the park, a trail offshoot that led from a floating bridge through a lake channel.

Hanson said that over the years, he and two other men have cared for the nature park to the best of their ability, and a group from the high school comes out to help maintain it once per year, but they knew they needed help.

City of Fairmont crews brought in their tractor and mowing deck, cut down the overgrowth and hauled it away, creating an open area for recreation and widening the walking path.

“We don’t have a mower like the city does,” Hanson said. “The city cleaned it up nicely. … It is very walkable.”

Hanson hopes the groundskeeping will encourage people to come out for a walk in the park, now that it is easier to see.

The park is located just off Lake Avenue. Parking is available at the prairie dog exhibit, near Heritage Acres, where Hobo Trail connects with Fairmont’s original bike path. From there, the path leads under the street to a floating bridge and the 3.5-acre nature park.

“You can see how beautiful it is,” Hanson said. “It is keeping a nature park, but under control.”