Spring Cleaning

It was around this time last year that we met Don Dane and Tim Peters at The Springs and expanded the scope of our restoration effort to include opening up all of the springs that feed the Scuppernong River, and clearing the river itself. Like Neo in The Matrix, who followed the white rabbit to discover the truth, we are also on a journey of exploration and learning to discover “the truth” of what the Scuppernong Springs area was like before the invasion of the white settlers. Terence McKenna coined the term Archaic Revival and it strikes a chord with me.

I had the pleasure of spending Friday, May 24, at The Springs. The northeast winds that arrived the day before continued to blow and the sky was impeccably blue. DNR naturalist/guide Melanie Kapinos and long-time Ice Age Trail Alliance member Barbra Converse, who gives tour of The Springs, stopped out to chat.


Barb asked ‘why do you do it?’ and I really appreciated the opportunity to explain myself. It will take a long time to “revive” this area after many, many years of neglect. As I walk the land and observe the recovery from the burn, I see tons of weeds amongst the good native flowers and grasses. Much of the green you see in the post-burn pictures I have been posting is from buckthorn seedlings, thistle and burdock patches, phragmites, cattails, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed and other invasive plants. The journey back to health for the Scuppernong Springs Nature Preserve and the Scuppernong River Habitat Area will be long and I take every step with joyful anticipation.

Barb led us to these distinctive Oak Gall specimens on the Sauk Campground sand prairie.



As I was spraying spotted knapweed at the sand prarie, I noticed this attractive White Spotted Sable Moth.


And this vibrantly green Lady Fern.


I continued girdling Aspen on the slope behind the Hidden Spring. The fresh air made every breath a pleasure!



I spent the afternoon pulling watercress, phragmites and cattails from the Hatching House Springs and the Hillside Springs. These springs have nice, stony bottoms and look like great trout spawning habitats. I harvested a healthy dose of watercress at the Scuppernong Spring, which has the sweetest cress of them all.

Pati joined me for the rest of the day and we reveled in the beauty.






If you love clouds, check out this site! I tried to capture the wisps floating by.





Sunset at Ottawa Lake.






See you at The Springs!

Jon Bradley Tours The Springs

If you love The Scuppernong Springs and want to share your stories or pictures here, please contact me. Here is the latest from Jon Bradley (Thanks for the awesome pics Jon!).

Today (4/27) was one of the warmer days so far this year. I knew today could be a good day to find wildlife at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail. From the moment I stepped out of the car I knew it would be a good day on the trail. Almost immediately I heard the call of a couple Sandhill Cranes. As I was walking along the Marl Pits I saw two cranes taking off about 200 yards away. Shortly after that I discovered this Common Garter Snake along the large Marl Pit, and two Painted turtles in one of the smaller Marl Pits.



Here is a photo taken at the Marl Pit bridge facing East.


As I got down to the first Vernal Pond before the Indian Campground, I saw something move near my feet. I looked down and saw an amazing Eastern Hognose Snake. This snake is arguably the most unique snake in Wisconsin for many reasons. One of them being that it flattens its neck similar to a cobra.



I had heard that the Eastern Hognose Snake lived around the trail, but have never before seen one. It was hissing pretty loudly, though didn’t attempt to flee while I photographed it. Its important to say that all snakes at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail are harmless to people and most will do everything they can to avoid human contact.


Here are a couple of flowers (hepatica & marsh marigold) I found around the trail. Its nice to see color coming back!



A few more scenic photos:




There were a ton of birds at the Springs today. American Goldfinches, Red-winged Blackbirds, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and Warblers of all kinds. Between the old barn foundation and hotel site, I saw this Yellow-Rumped Warbler.


On the way out, I stopped to check the water level.


It was a fantastic day at the Springs and I hope to be back at least few more times this year. I love seeing the progression of the restoration project. Its nice to see the woodland areas looking more like woodlands and less like “buckthorn alleys”. I have to imagine even some animals will appreciate being able to navigate through the woods better. I unfortunately didn’t get to the new cutoff trail this time but I definitely plan on it this summer.

Thanks Jon!

See you at The Springs!

Friendly Fires

Hi, and thanks again for following our adventures at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail.

We have been waiting for the right conditions to burn the brush piles at the south end of the trail in the area around the Scuppernong Spring and the Hillside Springs and today was the perfect day. Not only was the wind right and the snow cover right but our righteous friends Carl Baumann and Steve Brasch were able to join Lindsay and I. Although we’ve had a lot of snow and rain lately, the piles were bare and pretty dry and they readily took the fire.

Here is the scene before we started burning.

Carl and Steve followed behind Lindsay and I using leaf blowers to fan the flames we ignited, which really got the piles going and saved a lot of propane.

Here is the crew (Steve, Lindsay, Paul and Carl from left to right).


The winds were pretty swirly down by the piles but as the smoke rose, it was blown away from Hwy 67 by a predominately northeast breeze.

After the 42 fires were “mopped” up, Lindsay, Carl and I took a walk around the trail and we filled Carl in on the details of our plans for the future. It was a splendid day and great fun to work together.

See you at the Springs!