With more than four and a half miles worth of trails to maintain, Eisenhower State Park in Denison asked volunteers to join them Saturday to help prepare the grounds for the changing of the seasons. Eisenhower Park Outdoor Educator and Volunteer Coordinator Kate Saling said that the volunteers were helping clean the park before spring and summer vegetation begins growing.
About 20 volunteers, including two Boy Scout troops, took to the trails cleaning, pre-trimming, as well as performing erosion control.
“We had the volunteers cut things that were creeping into the trails as well as cut away the brush that would probably grow into the trail come summertime,” Saling said. “We cleaned up what I call micro trash, which is like bottle caps and small pieces of paper that blow in the wind and get caught in brush and on the ground.”
Those that performed erosion control, Saling said, were helping to reroute the standing water near trails so that they did not over take the trails.
“The people in group two got a little muddy,” she said.
The park does not normally have trail maintenance days, but Saling is hoping to start them monthly or bi-monthly. The trails need to be maintained, she said, because they are public lands that can be used by everyone.
“We sometimes have service groups that call and want to know what they can do for us out here,” she said. “We tell them that trail work is always important. We decided recently to have a trail work day to show that trail maintenance is important.”
Aside from walking the trails at the park, Eisenhower is also known for its fishing and swimming.
“A lot of people come out here for that,” Saling said. “I do not think that many people realize that fishing on Lake Texoma on the shores of Eisenhower park is free. You do not have to have a fishing license to do it. If you are in a boat, you have to have a license.”
A new park activity, bouldering is a form of rock climbing that does not use ropes.
“I see a lot of people coming into the park with their crash pads,” Saling said. “It is important to practice this in a gym or a controlled environment first and to make sure you have a spotter. But, its really cool. You go more forward and backwards than you do up and down since you cannot use a rope and tether.”
Eisenhower Park is also a fishing destination for people from the DFW area, Saling said.
“I think that a lot of people from this area forget that we are out here,” she said. “They also do not take advantage of the land because they assume that they know what is here.”
If park goers come into the park during the early morning or late afternoon, they can see animals like deer, bobcats, coyotes and grey foxes. Saling said that animal protection is another reason why cleaning the park is important.
“We also have Eastern Screech Owls, but you cannot see them generally,” she said. “But you will know it when you hear it. Armadillos have really bad eye sight. They may come towards you if you stay really still.”
Saling said that she hopes people take advantage of the upcoming activities at Eisenhower, the park in North Texas' backyard.
“Bring water,” she said. “People miscalculate the risks out here. They worry about snakes and forget to bring water for their pets. Be aware of the slips, trips and falls, but have fun. Bring a trail map and see the park.”