Much like Baileys Harbor in Door County, this area also is made up of ridges and swales. The trail starts in a dune ridge forest thick with Pine, Ash and Cedar trees. It doesn't take long until you move into an open shrub swamp heavily populated with Sweet Gale and Leatherleaf shrubs.
The boardwalk trail was constructed by the Youth Conservation Corps and NPS staff during the summer of 1989. Did you know that wetlands filter, purify and release surface water? They help control flood waters and protect water quality by recharging groundwater. It's not just the plant and animal community that benefits from protecting special places like this one.
Michigan has already lost over 70% of its wetlands. Amazing. The native Anishinabe (Ojibwa or Chippewa) people made good use of wetland habitat. The plants were used in dyes, medicines, for weaving and building. You might know that cattail leaves were used for weaving mats, but did you know the stems were eaten like potatoes?
We were on the lookout for the frogs we could hear, but never actually saw one. We also didn't see any Pine Marten or Beaver, but we did see some spots where perhaps they traveled through the vegetation often. Maybe if there were more beavers out in the wild we'd have more wetlands again?
|Katrina and Joe scanning for frogs|
Best time for viewing wildlife is always early in the morning or just before sunset so besides a few birds flitting about our only wildlife sighting was a water spider.
To continue with this week's theme of highlighting other bloggers I encourage you to read Ranger Kathryn's post from a month ago. In it she talks about the services maybe some people take for granted that our National Park workers provide and that always welcome reminder to treat others with respect and kindness. I know when we visit the parks I go out of my way to tell the rangers and other staff how much I appreciate their helpfulness and dedication.
On a personal note, yesterday the temps were in the 60's (yay!) and I went for a run. For the past two months I've only been able to run for 3-5 minutes at a time before resting. I thought it was probably heat related and sure enough, I ran 15 minutes without a struggle. I took a potty/hydration break at the gas station and turned around and ran another 18 minutes. To be fair, my legs were jelly for that last minute, but I ran exactly 3 miles in 33 minutes! What is the summer heat keeping you from doing?