Eastern Plains

Plover Trail

The Trail That Has It All

We could have called this trail by many names: the Rail Trail, after the Black, Virginia and Sora rails that live in the huge John Martin marshes; the Cottonwood Trail, after the Arkansas River and its excellent corridor of riparian forest; the Lake Trail, since this small area has more large reservoirs and playa lakes than any other part of the state; or the Old Santa Fe Trail, for its immense historical significance. But instead we call it the Plover Trail, after the Mountain Plovers that breed in the high deserts away from the river, the endangered Piping and Snowy Plovers that nest alongside Least Terns on the shores of the alkali lakes, the Semipalmated, Black-bellied and American Golden-Plovers that migrate through in spring and fall, and the Killdeers that can be found sometimes even in winter. The diversity of plovers belies a much greater diversity, of mammals, reptiles, weather patterns, natural landscapes and human cultures. We could even call this trail “the Trail that Has It All.”