Walking in Beauty
November 15, 2023
Prairie trail coming in 2024
The Clear Lake Nature Preserve prairie trail is coming next year.
The prairie was planted with a mix of native plants conducive to the prairie and wetland landscape. Some of those plants are taller than me when I am traveling through the western part of the property. Expect a wide trail to accommodate the swaying wildflowers and gentler slopes than the hills at Brennan Woods.
A plus is that prairies are already adapted to hot, dry weather. In a four-part Climate Adaptation for Land Trusts course hosted by the Land Trust Alliance, I learned a little about how to predict climate change over time and plan for it. The Land Trust Alliance provides a suite of climate change resources on its website. Other resources include the tree atlas at fs.fed.us/nrs/atlas, the Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation tool at globalchange.gov and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science.
Grasslands, like the prairie area of Clear Lake Nature Preserve, can adapt to a wide range of temperatures. Their root systems are drought resistant, holding moist soils in place to absorb water for longer lengths of time. That makes the diverse vegetation planted over several years in cooperation with Blue Heron Ministries safe from dried-out soils during the hot seasons. These deep root systems also allow for accelerated nutrient uptake for longer periods of time.
There are a couple of low, wetland areas in the prairie. This summer and fall, those areas remained relatively dry, but the trail will avoid the wetlands due to the potential for major precipitation events as the years progress.
Diverse native plants sway in the fall breeze at Clear Lake Nature Preserve with Brennan Woods to the east.