Riverwalk Naturalist Tours to end Sept. 28 for the season


Photo courtesy Darryl Saffer
A ring-necked duck in the Riverwalk wetlands.

By Josh Pike
Pagosa Wetland Partners

Throughout the summer, the Riverwalk Naturalist Tours have entertained and educated residents and visitors by offering free guided naturalists tours of the Riverwalk wetlands. 

The program aims to educate participants about the unique characteristics of the Riverwalk wetlands. 

Over the last two months, we have introduced more than 100 people to the natural beauty and wildlife of the wetlands. Through the season, participants have enjoyed seeing waterbirds nest and their babies mature, seen the landscape of the wetlands change as the cattail and reed banks grow, and learned about the unique ecology of the area.

However, as fall approaches, the touring season is coming to an end. The program’s last tour will be offered on Tuesday, Sept. 28. This means that there are only six more opportunities over the next two weeks for interested people to join a tour this season. During the final two weeks of tours, participants will be able to see a wide variety of birds currently undergoing their fall migration as well as the beginnings of fall changes to the wetland vegetation, and an increasing number of bats on the cooling and darkening evenings.

Tours are offered starting at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday mornings and 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. No reservations are required; just show up when you want to join us. Each tour will last between one and 1.5 hours and will involve an approximately 1.5-mile walk on a paved trail. People of all ages, abilities and identities are welcomed to join us. Tours will meet at the Habitat Hero Native Plant Garden in Centennial Park behind the courthouse near the geothermal greenhouse domes. Tours will then follow the Riverwalk trail through the wetlands, ending near Town Hall. At the end of the tour, participants will have options for their walk back to their lodgings or vehicles.

Bringing binoculars and a water bottle is recommended, as many wetland animals, such as birds, are more easily seen with binoculars and the trail can be quite warm, even in the fall. We ask that you leave your furry friends at home, as their presence will often disturb wildlife on the trail and reduce the number of things we can see; however, service animals are always welcome.

Each tour is quite different, as the wildlife and situations encountered vary greatly across different days and times of day. Therefore, coming to multiple tours is encouraged to get the full portrait of the Riverwalk conservation area. We look forward to exploring the wetlands with you for the rest of September. 

Contact us at pagosawetlands@gmail.com if you have questions. Otherwise, we will see you on the trail for another two weeks of tours.