Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Marsh and a Mess but a Good Time Anyway

 Willie Wildlife Marsh
(1.5 mile loop, easy) This interesting nature trail system explores a wetland habitat. There is a viewing platform, ten interpretive stops and three boardwalks that traverse the marsh and open water. The trail guide and map is available at the trailhead.
Alas, none of this was true.
The Thursday Naturalists headed north and west this morning to Willie Wildlife Marsh near Gloversville, NY. On this glorious September day, we were looking forward to checking out the boardwalk trails, as described above, in search of interesting wetland plants.
Oh, this was indeed a lovely area with lots of potential, but since this preserve was created circa 1991, the trail system has fallen into disrepair.
Our first glimpse of the marsh was tantalizing and we could see a boardwalk bridge in the distance. However, through his binoculars, Win saw that part of the boardwalk was underwater. So, we changed course to try another trail.
For folks who love the outdoors, this was a discouraging sight to see along our path.
And then we reached the next section of the promised boardwalk trails, only to find that this, too, was impassible.

When a footbridge has lily pads on it, that's not a good sign.
Still later, as we tried to reach our planned lunch spot via another route, yet again, disappointment.

Strike three.

But lest I leave you with the wrong impression, let me state right here that this was still a pretty darn good outing. Any time I get to hang out with cheerful, knowledgeable folks under a clear blue September sky, well, that's an excellent day in my book.
I only write about the sad state of the trails on this state-owned property in the hope that somehow, this might come to the attention of folks with the resources to do something about it. While rebuilding the boardwalks is an unrealistic goal for the cub scout pack that adopted this place, they could do occasional litter patrols here. And perhaps some Adirondack nature groups could nudge the DEC to create a phased plan to restore these trails. The Willie Wildlife Marsh seems like too nice a place to just let go to pot.
So what were the good things we saw today? There were lots of them. Here is a small sample:
Heart-leaved Aster.

Indian Pipe

Whorled Aster.

Hobblebush in fruit.

Hobblebush buds.

Indian Cucumber Root in fruit.

Goldthread (name derived from its golden roots.)
Rough-stemmed Goldenrod

Flat-topped Aster

 The bark of this tree was distinctive and folks thought that should make it easy to identify as a cherry, but it wasn't.

 After much discussion and neck-craning to see the leaves high above, a verdict was reached: it was an ash.

Purple-stemmed Aster

Beavers have been here.
A golden leaf and fallen needles on the water of a shaded cove.
Jack-in-the-pulpit berries

Yellow Spindle Coral mushrooms (maybe?)

And by the roadside, Creeping Bellflower (I think).

Thank you for another good adventure, Thursday Naturalists. See you again soon!