The boardwalk at Torrance Ranch Preserve is now complete! We are thrilled to be able to provide a full loop where visitors and community members can walk and enjoy the beauty of the preserve. We are so grateful for our generous donors Gary and Lajetta Atwood who supported this project through its completion.
“Torrance Ranch Preserve is a special place to connect with the incredible biodiversity that is unique to the Amargosa River and learn how TNC is helping to restore at-risk wetlands,” says Matt Rader, Amargosa River project manager. “The boardwalk provides a great way to connect our members and the community with our conservation values for generations to come.”
Fulfilling the original vision for the boardwalk has been a 13-year labor of love from our partners who installed it, Terra Contracting, and the designer, Ed McSwain. In 2009, McSwain designed and Terra Contracting installed a single 200-foot walkway leading into the wetlands. Together, we added another piece in 2018, and then the final 350-foot section late last year that connects the first two sections and creates a seamless walking experience.
Designing and engineering a foundation for a wetland is a daunting task, and we are grateful for the thoughtful design and construction of a safe and long-lasting boardwalk that protects the preserve’s ecosystems. The team avoided disturbing the soils during construction by using helical piers (which look like giant corkscrews) for the foundation, and they used minimal machinery to limit noise and fire hazards.
“You must use a non-conventional foundation [for a wetland],” McSwain says. “You cannot use concrete as it is toxic to the ecosystem, and you need something that holds up to the environment which includes the freeze/ thaw conditions of the marsh…Helical piers were the solution. They enabled us to get down to solid soil below the water level and allow nature to take its course without compromising the integrity [of the structure].”