Proceed cautiously on the Ravine Trail as there are uneven trail surfaces and steep slopes!
Just ahead on the Ravine Trail are several massive yellow poplar trees that are probably over one hundred years old! The view up the side of one of these trees is an unforgettable vision of the straightness and massiveness of the yellow poplar's trunk. The human-use history of this site suggests that the standing forest was probably cut sixty to eighty years ago. The loggers of this area, though, left a number of older trees to serve as seed sources for the re-growing forest. These "nurse trees" probably included the yellow poplars we have been looking at as well as some oak trees on this part of the Trail.
Looking into the forest to the left you can see one of these enormous white oak trees. Another white oak looms ahead on the Trail encased by dense vines of poison ivy. A magnificent red oak (picture at left), also sporting poison ivy vines, can be seen in the forest to the right. These two species of oaks will, over time, come to dominate the forest ecosystem of the Nature Trail. The abundant oaks of the Trail were undoubtedly used for construction of houses and buildings and the yellow poplars, for softer wood uses like furniture manufacturing.
(Read about White Oaks)
At this observation point we can also see a large sun gap in the tree canopy to the right of the Trail where a yellow poplar was broken in a wind storm and then removed. Its stump is right next to the Trail. In this sun gap we expect yellow poplar seedlings to flourish. Also to the right, framed in the sun gap's space is the huge red oak pictured to the left.
Looking down (for a change!) note the abundant sensitive ferns on this section of the Nature Trail floor. Sensitive fern is replaced by Christmas fern (so called because it stays green in winter) as we descend down the steep part of the Trail into the ravine.
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This page was last updated on July 8, 2009