Thursday, August 20, 2015

Canal Wildflower Walk This Saturday

I'll be leading a walk along the canal this Saturday, August 22, starting at 8:30am. Morning light adds to the freshness of this landscape. We'll meet along the towpath just west of Harrison Street, where there's a nature trail sign. All are welcome.

Wildflowers have been at their peak this past week--a perk for all of us who haven't fled Princeton in August--and there should still be a good show this weekend. We'll focus on the nature trail loop that I "catalyzed" back in 2006, when I alerted DR Canal State Park staff that there were some wonderful native wildflowers that were getting mowed down between the towpath and Carnegie Lake. The park staff reduced mowing to once a year (less work!), added a broad, well-mowed trail that connects in multiple places to the towpath, and the native flora has responded by growing in greater abundance each year.

The nature trail threads through Princeton's closest approximation of an oak savanna, where there are enough openings between trees to allow summer wildflowers to prosper underneath. All of these Hollow-stemmed Joe-Pye-Weeds are facing north, towards a gap in the tree canopy.

We'll see how natural and cultural influences--from canal building to hurricanes--have combined to shape this diverse, dynamic floodplain habitat.

Parking: There are two small parking lots at either end of the Harrison Street bridge. More distant parking is in the Lake Lane area, just off Harrison St. north of the lake, and at a lot on Washington Road just south of the towpath. If you get there late, it should be easy to find us along the trail loop. This link should take you to a map.

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