Soldiers Delight Trails Have Reopened!

Native grass seedlings sprout from the scorched ground at SDNEA just a week after the fire
SDCI is excited to announce that Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area has reopened to the public. As always, our trails are open to foot traffic only.

There may be some areas where fire is still smoldering or even active. These spots are being closely monitored by fire personnel and will be allowed to burn themselves out.

There have been no prescribed burns conducted at Soldiers Delight this year, so any fire that is not attended by fire personnel should be reported. The cause of the wildfire at Soldiers Delight is under investigation.

The Department of Natural Resources asks the public to help us protect the many rare, threatened, and endangered plant species in the area by staying on the bare soil and rock that make up our approved trails and to walk in the center of the trails at all times, as our native plants are just now beginning to emerge in spring and some sprout right at the trail edges. It is always best to walk in single file to avoid trail edges, as trampling the edges to avoid ruts in the middle just makes the trails wider and wider and reduces successful sprouting of our native plants. Dogs must be kept on trails and on a short leash at all times. Use approved trails only and do not leave the trails for any reason. Avoid burned areas off the trails.

Many people have expressed a desire to help restore what the wildfire burned. Our most exciting news is that some of our native grasses, namely Indian grass and little bluestem grass, have been spotted already sprouting up through the ashes in burned areas of Soldiers Delight.

We are so excited to tell you that Mother Nature has replanting covered! The fire burned away many acres of invasive greenbrier, creating open spaces where our native grasses and flowers can now thrive and grow. There are literally millions of native seeds already in that charred soil, just waiting for an opportunity to have enough sunlight and space and nutrients to sprout forth and thrive without being crowded out by pervasive greenbrier and other invasive vegetation. Hope springs eternal!

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