Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Canal Nature Trail

A well-constructed sign, the product of a scout project supervised by the D&R Canal State Park ranger, greets trail users just off Harrison Street. I've been meaning to fill it with flyers full of information about what grows along the trail, but for now a blog post will have to do.

Near the sign is a swath of Switchgrass--a member of the tall-grass prairies.

Take the trail this time of year, and you may encounter Ground Nut, a native bean, growing near the lakeshore.

An anonymous beetle on an ironweed blossom.

A flowering Winged Sumac, whose leaves will turn radiant red in a couple months.

A goldfinch gorging on something in the cutleaf coneflowers--maybe the immature seeds. All of these wildflowers were getting mowed down until the state park ranger, Stephanie Fox, agreed to reduce mowing of areas away from the trails to once a year in the dormant season. This turned out to be a great way to save fuel and time while allowing an impressive variety of native wildflowers to prosper.

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