Virtual Nature Trail

Observation Point 13 As you approach the end of the Wildflower Trail you will see a cluster of magnificent oak trees. If you stand with your back to the entrance of the Oak Trail you directly face a white oak. Just to the right and behind this tree is a second white oak and just to its left is a double northern red oak. The differences in the barks of these two oak species should be very apparent. The white oak has a bark with regular, vertically arrayed, platy columns of dark bark while the northern red oak has flattened stripes of grayish bark that run up the length of its trunk.

White Oak Bark Red Oak Bark

The Oak Trail The Oak Trail winds its way back through a dense stand of northern red oaks and white oaks along with some sugar maples and hickories and a dense under story of spice bush and dogwood. There are abundant acorns and especially acorn "caps" along this section of the Trail. In the spring before full leafing of the trees it is obvious why there are so few intact acorns and so many empty caps: the trees here contain several large nests of the eastern gray squirrel. The Trail's population of gray squirrel is concentrated here in this oak-rich area. These animals take advantage of the rich production of oak-mast and are very active in the dispersal and burial of acorns throughout this upper trail area.
(Read more about gray squirrels)

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