Summertime at The Springs

Summer has arrived buzzing with life and heat. Whew, it was hot yesterday as I pulled spotted knapweed at the sand prairie (see white shaded area in the map below). At least there was some breeze and beautiful, billowing, clouds to entertain me and it seemed like a better option than piling brush amongst the mosquitoes and poison ivy in the woods. This is a perfect time to get after knapweed, it’s the nail with its pink head sticking up the highest. The art is to get a diversity of native plants to return and fill the voids left after we pull weeds; this is where knowledgeable volunteers could really make a contribution. I’m envisioning the sand prairie in all its natural glory!

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I started the day with a little walk around and saw that the Transline I sprayed on the young black locust trees at the south end of the loop trail was very effective.

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The Scuppernong Spring

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Michigan Lilies at the Indian Spring

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The Scuppernong Prairie

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There are three projects that would really improve the nature trail: build a bridge over the ditch where the cut-off trail joins the main loop trail at the marl pit factory, rebuild the observation deck at the Indian Spring, and fix the trail junction where the spur to the Indian Spring joins the mail loop trail. Check out this video to see what I mean.

I started the day spraying Milestone on a variety of weeds and buckthorn seedlings on the south end of the loop trail. Then I headed to the sand prairie to pull spotted knapweed.

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There is an unofficial, well established, trail that leads down the sand prairie from sign post #6 towards the channel that carries the outflow of the “Indian” Springs. At the bottom of the hill the trail was overgrown with wild raspberry, nettle and other plants, making it nearly impassable, so I brush cut this to complete a little loop trail over to the Indian Spring.

I returned to the Scuppernong Spring to cool off, get out of the sun and meditate and found a team of engineers hard at work creating a dam to hold back the flow. They succeeded in raising the water level 3-4″ and I couldn’t resist taking a dip! One of those righteous dudes left an excellent “Alaska Denali Park” cap behind and can claim it by contacting me.

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Amanda, Melanie and their crew of volunteers have been hard at work completing he installation of new sign posts #10, 11 and 12.

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The view down river from the old barn site

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Looking upstream from the stream gaging station

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And a few parting shots from the marl pit bridge

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See you at The Springs!

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