On a sunny and warm morning, a group of furred trail users decided to bring their owners to the Playa Drain Trail segment of the Paso del Norte Trail to learn more about the trail and its many amenities available not only to them but all trail users, including their owners.
The day started at Hidden Valley Park where Miguel Fraga, a Trail Ambassador, shared with the group the history of the trail, the overall goal, and current progress. After answering a couple of questions, tails began to wag because the walking tour started.
The next stop was at the award-winning bioswale, where everyone learned about the many benefits of passive rainwater harvesting in our region, the difference between native plant species and desert-adaptive plant species, and the importance of integrating pollinator plants to encourage biodiversity in our region. Everyone was amazed by this feature and took pictures and videos.
After a couple of necessity stops, the adventurous team met our most welcoming burrowing owl near Ascarate Park. Everyone said hi, took some pictures, and learned more about Burrowing Owls in our region and how the Paso del Norte Trail is working to protect them, especially right now during their mating and nesting season.
Last, but not least, the group stopped at the main trailhead by Ascarate Park to learn more about wildlife at the trail, in this case, bats. The group tried to guess a couple of times how many bats could fit inside the bat houses near the trailhead. Some of the guesses were 6, 20, and even 100. Everyone was truly surprised when they found out that the actual amount of bats those bat houses can fit is 600.
The tour ended with a warm invitation to join the recently launched "Friends of the Trail" program, where trail users can become volunteers, ambassadors, donors, or all three! The group then parted their own ways to hopefully share the news about the trail and invite friends and family to come and learn more.