Great Western Farm
Description: The west end of this section leaves Eastman Park and follows the river through the underpass at 7th Street (WCR 17) and then along the streets in the Water Valley development in Windsor. A portion of the trail on the east side parallels the Great Western Railway along Highway 257 before the trail crosses the highway.
Features: White pelicans can be seen on the lakes near the trail. The Pelican is the official bird of Windsor. These are large white birds with black outer wing feathers. Their wingspan is 110 inches – over 8 feet!
Geology: This area provides an opportunity to observe another use of lakes that result from gravel mining activities. Here, beaches have been created for the residents of the development.
History: Around the turn of the century, the Great Western Farm, which grew mainly sugar beets for the production of granulated sugar, once occupied much of this area. The farm was named for and owned by the Great Western Sugar Company. Great Western Sugar Company was once the largest producer of beet sugar in the country.
The railroad that runs through this area, also named for the sugar company, hauled the beets to the factories. Sugar beets had to be processed soon after harvest or they would lose their sugar content. The Great Western Sugar Company soon realized that using horse-drawn beet wagons to haul the harvest to the refinery was too time consuming, so they built the Great Western Railway, slowly expanding it from the original site in Loveland to entice area farmers into raising sugar beets.