Hansville Greenway Offers Nature’s Best

One of the first perks of Hansville I shared with my new neighbors a few years ago was the Greenway. I had discovered the nearby trail system when my dog was a pup. We’ve hiked somewhere on it nearly daily ever since.

                At first, following one trail section to another and not getting lost was thrill enough. Maps are available at most trailheads, although paper maps are gradually being phased out.

Then, the need to know what was growing on the sides of the well-maintained trails led to book purchases and, eventually, to the Greenway website. The website identified tiny flowers that pop out in mid May as starflowers, and no wonder—they look just like the stars teachers stick on students’ good papers. I learned to identify April’s trillium and blossoming red flowering currant, summer’s Oregon grape, salmonberry, sweet English daisies, and so much more.

Importantly, I learned that the ubiquitous green leaves with serrated edges I allowed to brush my skin, not knowing better, belonged to stinging nettle. The plant isn’t harmful but leaves a burning sensation that lasts for hours. In the burst of growth that spring brings, stinging nettle shoots to two or more feet tall, sprawls into trails and guiltlessly attacks unprotected skin.

Seven miles of trails, two ponds, a lake, wetlands and several viewing platforms introduced me to marsh wrens, song sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, deer, otters, frogs, salamanders. I learned the difference between Douglas fir trees and cedars and red alders.

The Greenway whipped my dog and me into great shape. We want to ensure that the Greenway is always there for us, so we volunteered to help. Volunteers maintain trails and monitor use. They keep trails navigable by trimming, repairing, removing fallen trees, reporting observations. Volunteer and join the fun! Visit the website above for volunteer opportunities.

Cynthia Taggart