The Mighty Oaks of Ottawa Lake

“I got to liberate an oak tree!  It felt great.”  I was struck when Cameron Barker, a volunteer from the UW-Whitewater environmental group S.A.G.E., said that when introducing himself at the State Natural Areas workday at Little Kestol Prairie.

CameronBarker

He was referring to the work he did at the Kettle Moraine Oak Opening back in February and it made me feel as John Nada, the protagonist from the science fiction classic They Live, might have when he encountered another person that could see.

I’ve had that liberating feeling as well these past two weeks cutting buckthorn on the steep hillsides between Ottawa Lake and the campground.  Dick Jenks and I started in the area just below the handicap accessible cabin and worked our way south past site #388 to where the bluff gives way to the beach.

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We continued this past Wednesday and Friday, working both south and north of the cabin.  On the map below, the upper red line represents the area we cleared last year, and the lower line shows where we have cleared this year.

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Alfred Korzybski said: “The map is not the territory”, but the bird’s eye view below will help bring it closer to life.  Zoom in and note the contrast in water color near the shore.  I thought the map was fuzzy there, but it is the surprising emerald color of the water that threw me off.

The views of the lake from the bluff, sans buckthorn, are simply beautiful.  I wish I could show you the pictures I took on Wednesday, but I unconsciously deleted them somehow.  Below are before and after videos and they do capture some of it.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day with a steady west wind pushing waves across the deep blue center of the lake into the emerald eastern shore.

There are some mighty oaks indeed along the shore and bluff below site #388 and I couldn’t wait to get back there yesterday to finish liberating this regal specimen, which, until Wednesday, had been completely encircled on the north side as well.

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The buckthorn look puny compared to the massive oak, but they were huge for their kind.

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It’s hard to capture a big tree in a single photo.  I’m going to have to learn how to stitch multiple shots together into a panoramic view to do justice.

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I then moved to the hillside below campsite #382 to continue the clearing we began in front of the cabin.

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There were some massive buckthorns at the base of the hill.

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Yes, “I got to liberate an oak tree.  It felt great!”

The view from the deck in front of the cabin is glorious; and what a great place to watch birds from!  I accidentally deleted the incredibly classic “sun setting over Ottawa Lake” pics I took on Wednesday, so I’ll leave you with the return of garlic mustard instead.

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I’m not spraying any poison on the garlic mustard, so I’m hoping you will come out and help pull it.

See you at The Springs!

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “The Mighty Oaks of Ottawa Lake

  1. It looks FABULOUS Paul!!! Thank you SO MUCH for tackling this area for me. I have wanted that hillside cleared since the first day I got to KMSF-SU. The campers that use the cabin this summer are going to be so happy! They will finally be able to enjoy the sunsets and watch the activity on the lake without having to look through a wall of buckthorn!

    P Anne M. Korman
    Assistant Superintendent
    Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit
    Bureau of Parks and Recreation
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
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    (•) fax: (262) 594-6222
    (•) e-mail: anne.korman@wisconsin.gov
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  2. Pingback: I Am Not Buckthorn | Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

  3. Pingback: Hognose Snakes | Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

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