Wetland Area Prepares for Grand Opening

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COLUMBIA - There's a nature area just off Forum Boulevard that many might not know about.

The 3M Flat Branch Hinkson Creek Wetlands have been around since 2010, but not many people know about them.  Now, the area is undergoing some construction which has some Columbians wondering what's going on.

In preparation for the wetland area's grand opening in the spring, Columbia Parks and Recreation is making a few updates to the area.  Currently, GetAbout Columbia is installing a new trail that will lead from the area near the Katy Place Apartments on Forum to the wetlands.  Parks and Rec also has plans to add educational signage along the trails.

Just two years ago, this area was a decommisioned sewage treatment area that wasn't being used.  The city decided to turn the area into green space for Columbians to use as another nature area.

Columbia Park and Natural Resources Supervisor Brett O'Brian said this area is the city's way of building an ecological community.

"When you have an area like this...besides recreational use, now you have a spot that instead of a place with rubble where people just hang out, you have a place that's attractive to people," O'Brian said.

Columbia resident Diane Rymph walks the trails around the wetland area almost everyday.

"You can bike ride, you can walk, run, walk your dog without having to worry about cars and the opportunity to see wildlife. It's very attractive," Rymph said.

The whole area is 17 acres of wetland and is open to the public.  You can access the wetlands now from the MKT trail, the Forum Nature Area, and soon from the new trail GetAbout Columbia is installing.

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