UPTOWN — The Montrose Bird Sanctuary is getting upgrades to make the popular birding destination more accessible.
Crews this month will begin work on a paved path that will include a new entrance to the grounds and signs. The construction is scheduled to begin in mid- to late June and is slated to wrap up by August, according to the Park District.
Plans call for an 8-foot-wide asphalt path around a ⅓-mile loop at the bird sanctuary, which is a popular feature at Montrose Harbor. The path will encompass the main loop of the sanctuary and will travel near the areas known as the Magic Clump and the Magic Hedge.
A concrete entrance with signs will also be installed, according to the Park District. It will include barriers that will make it harder to bring bikes and dogs into the sanctuary, as both are not allowed.
Currently, the bird sanctuary paths are made of mulch and have unofficially widened over the years as visitors veer off the path. Some paths have expanded to as much as 15 feet wide, the Park District’s project site says.
The Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible path will help keep visitors on the approved walkways and reduce the overall size of the path, Park District officials say. It also will make it clearer where visitors should walk, leaving more space for nature.
Crews will have to remove trees and other plants that are within 5 feet of the paved path, the Park District said. These areas will be reseeded and will start to fill in by next year’s growing season.
A wheelchair-accessible path is one of the improvements in the 2015 Montrose Bird Sanctuary Master Plan, which also calls for fewer park entrances, more trail fencing and an improved water feature. The bird sanctuary’s butterfly meadow has already been expanded as part of the master plan.
The main portion of the bird sanctuary will be off-limits during the work, but the southeast prairie section of the sanctuary will still be open.
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