Thanks again for checking out my work at The Springs via these posts! Paradoxically, it’s serious play, entertaining study and effortless labor. I’m so lucky!
Yesterday was the first of September and I had loads off my mind as I drove out to the Kettle Moraine State Forest. I was looking forward to meeting a carpenter, Bryan Menning and trail boss, Don Dane to review some construction projects we have in mind for The Springs. The Kettle Moraine Natural History Association has generously offered to fund:
- 2 new observation decks overlooking springs on the east side of the river
- A new observation deck and bench at the Indian Spring
- A new bridge near the marl pit factory that would cross a drainage ditch and connect the main loop trail with the recently reopened cutoff trail
- A short boardwalk spanning a ditch that drains an old cranberry bog along the cutoff trail
The sites are marked with blue numbers on the map below.
I began the day in chest waders pulling watercress near the Emerald Spring observation deck and a few other places where it was especially thick. Then I headed over to the marl pit area to pull weeds including: Canada Fleabane, American Burnweed, Common Ragweed and Queen Anne’s Lace. I’ve seen fleabane and burnweed dominate the disturbed areas I cleared at the Hartland Marsh and I don’t want to see that happen at The Springs. Common ragweed has some redeeming qualities that I just became aware of via the link above; I’ll have to reconsider pulling it.
Views from the marl pit bridge
American Burnweed at the marl pit factory
I ran into John and Sue Hrobar on the sand prairie and John shared his perspective that, by cutting down weeds like canada fleabane and brush cutting red oak, buckthorn, cherry re-sprouts and other woody brush on the prairie, I’m reducing the amount of organic material produced and thus the amount of fuel accumulating for the next prescribed burn. In the case of the woody brush, that makes sense to me, but I’ve seen how quickly and thoroughly weeds like canada fleabane can dominate disturbed areas, so I’m hesitant to let them go to seed.
Sue captured these incredible pictures of a northern water snake with a grass pickerel in a death grip. I wonder how it turned out!
After pulling weeds down by the Indian Spring for a while, I met Bryan and Don over by the DNR parking area above the Hotel Springs. I’ve been trying for months to find someone with the skill and inclination to build the projects we have in mind and I’m confident that we have the right person. Bryan lives in the neighborhood, knows The Springs very well, and he just completed rebuilding a bridge over the Bark River on the Glacial Drumlin Trail for the DNR.
2 new observation decks overlooking springs on the east side of the river (note the sign with #9 and Emerald Spring has been moved to the boardwalk that leads to the Emerald Spring. #9, described in the Trail Brochure, is the Old Fish Hatchery, so we need two separate signs for these locations.)
A new observation deck and bench at the Indian Spring
A new bridge near the marl pit factory that would cross a drainage ditch and connect the main loop trail with the recently reopened cutoff trail
A short boardwalk spanning a ditch that drains an old cranberry bog along the cutoff trail
Thanks again to Ron Kurowski, from the Kettle Moraine Natural History Association, and Don Dane for being instrumental in the progress of this effort! We’re looking forward to reviewing Bryan’s proposals!
A brief shower blew in from the northwest and, from the looks of these clouds and the distant thunder, we could have had a real storm.
Big Sky Country at the marl pit bridge.
See you at The Springs!
I have mixed feelings about the construction, to be honest. The Springs are turning out to be so beautiful, I almost dislike them being dinged up with structures. But there’s no doubt that the decks will make the beauty more accessible to more people, so it’s all good. Love the cloud pictures in this posting!
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