Friday, May 7, 2010

Glade Lake Trail

Glade Lake is a 50 acre wetlands area in the western part of San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado. From the Bradfield Bridge Recreation Area on the Dolores River it is 14 miles north on Forest Road 504. Glade Lake is clearly visible on the east side of the Forest Road.

On the southwest edge there is the remains of an old corral and there is a fence around the site to exclude cattle that is easy to step through. The surrounding forest is Ponderosa Pines with patches of Aspens. There isn’t as much cattail and bulrush here as I was expecting. 

There is a current multiyear wetlands restoration project that features Glade Lake. The fence that excludes cattle encloses 280 acres around the lake and good vegetation responses have been observed. This project has already received an award from the Forest Service Program Wings Across the Americas, a program focused on birds, bats and butterflies. There are four other wetlands in "The Glade" area that are part of the project.

At the north end of Glade Lake there is what looks like an historic berm with an antique flow control structure, constructed using locally available rocks. It reminded me of the 800 year old water management efforts at Mummy Lake at Mesa Verde National Park.

I spent 0:50 minutes walking completely around the lake clockwise, on a windy 56 F degree early May day. The most common bird I saw was the American Coot, mostly congregating in the center of the lake. Near the edges I saw several Mallards and Northern Shovelers, plus one Eared Grebe and one Canada Goose.

A fight of Yellow Headed Blackbirds passed through and there were groups of Swallows. Around the edges were Killdeers. About 1.5 miles north of Glade Lake the Forest Road crosses the area called “The Glade.” This wide level area between forested hillsides had some flowing water and looks like a good area for hiking and apparently has four wetlands areas associated with it.