A group of high school students from North Hollywood volunteered to help cage cottonwood trees in Mill Creek Canyon last autumn with the Mill Creek Partnership. (Photo by Ann Marie Aubrey/ Courtesy Mill Creek Partnership)

Several projects designed to protect and enhance the Powerdam area of Mill Creek Canyon are getting underway soon, said Sara Melnicoff of the Mill Creek Partnership.

Several issues were addressed during recent meetings and field trips to the canyon. The Mill Creek Partnership is working in concert with the Bureau of Land Management, (BLM), the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Moab City, Trail Mix, Moab Solutions, Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency, Search and Rescue.

“We will be working closely with the BLM on planned improvement areas which include the unpaved section of Powerhouse Lane, the canyon parking area, the trail to the left-hand waterfall, and multiple rehabilitation projects,” Melnicoff said.

“No Parking” signs were recently placed on the creek side of the road. A ban on vehicles over 22 feet and vehicles with trailers will take effect when signs are installed next month.

“Buses and large vehicles were entering the overcrowded parking area, and could not turn around to exit the area. These vehicles had to back down a narrow and twisting road, often encountering vehicles trying to enter the canyon. This created a dangerous situation, so size limits were instituted,” Melnicoff said.

Other projects include making the trail to the popular left-hand waterfall clear and signed.

“Signs in natural areas are necessary. Not having them creates multiple trailing, which is not conducive to a healthy environment. We hope the community will appreciate the need for minimal signing to help visitors stay on the approved trail,” Melnicoff said. “Beyond that, we will naturalize user created trails and start removing invasive plants and trees in the coming years.”

The Mill Creek Partnership holds monthly work parties to deal with a variety of projects related to restoring the canyon’s good health. From October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012, the Partnership, working with a variety of groups, logged 275 volunteer hours.

“We caged cottonwood trees, pulled weeds, removed thousands of bits of broken glass, cleaned up litter and recycling, and worked to keep trails clear. It’s a great place to spend time,” Melnicoff said.

The Mill Creek Partnership formed in the late 1990s to address a variety of issues endangering the health of the canyon. The Partnership is actively working toward restoring the canyon to its most natural state, while keeping it accessible for public enjoyment.