Thursday, March 5, 2009 | 1:29 p.m.
Bird Viewing Preserve
Beyond the Sun
For visitors to Henderson's Bird Viewing Preserve, the bothersome process of being buzzed into the facility through a security gate will soon be a memory.
Since its creation in 1998, access to the preserve has been through a gate shared with the neighboring Water Treatment Facility, which requires a secure entrance. Visitors to the preserve had to buzz in at the gate, explain that they wanted to visit the preserve and wait for security to open the gate.
But in a package of improvements the Henderson City Council unanimously authorized for bids Tuesday night, the bird preserve will be getting its own access road and a number of other additions built with bird enthusiasts in mind.
"(The gate) makes it kind of difficult because, for security reasons, we have to buzz people in and it's very inconvenient," Henderson Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Kim Becker said.
In addition to the new access road, which will enter the preserve near the Henderson Animal Shelter on Galleria Drive, Becker said, the city also plans improvements, including walkways, seating and bird blinds, that will make it easier for visitors to watch birds.
The estimated cost of the project is $1.4 million, which will be funded by the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. The act allows Southern Nevada municipalities to use the proceeds of federal land sales for parks, trials and conservation projects.
Work on the preserve is expected to begin in the coming weeks and be completed by November, Becker said.
Becker said the project is partially in response to surveys in which residents have expressed strong interest in additional outdoor recreation facilities and programs.
"What we're seeing is that more and more people are going to facilities like the bird preserve or the Acacia Demonstration Gardens to get that feeling of being out in nature and away from the city," Becker said.
One of the main ideas behind the project is to create ways for birders to get closer to their subjects. To that end, the city plans to add walkways out into the ponds and bird blinds.
"There are so many people that are into birding and being able to spot the different kinds of birds," Becker said. "This will allow them to get more out into nature and do that."
Another planned improvement is an outdoor classroom, which Becker said will allow the bird preserve to offer more classes and programs that fit in with the city's overall goal of raising environmental awareness.
"(The preserve) definitely will play a more important role as we go forward with programming and educational classes for children about the environment and being good stewards," Becker said.
Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or [email protected].