Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Close Look at a Cranberry Bog

I am always fascinated by Cranberry Bog's. Cranberries are one of the only three fruits that are native to North America, they grown in the wild on long vines in sandy bogs and marshes. In the U.S., Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries, responsible for half of the U.S. production. Massachusetts is the second largest U.S. producer, small volumes of production occur in Southern Argentina, Chile, and the Netherlands.  It is fascinating to visit a bog throughout the year to view how this tasty fruit is harvested. In New England, during the Fall, the bog is flooded with up to 18 inches of water the night before the berries are to be harvested. Each berry has a tiny pocket of air that allows it to float to the surface of the water.

The Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place is home to the last remaining active cranberry bog in the town of Foxborough, MA. You can witness the bog throughout the year to learn about the cycle of a cranberry, we visited in the beginning of April. We are excited to go back in the fall to see the bog as it becomes harvest time. 

The trail is a half-mile trail through a working cranberry bog, wetland pond, and woods. The bog itself is a 32-acre cranberry wetland system with paved trails through a protected habitat with native wildlife. 

It is located at the south entrance of Patriot Place, just before Bass Pro Shops. Follow signs for “The Nature Trail at Patriot Place." Admission is free. The trail is open from dawn to dusk. 

Our Aussie enjoying Bass Pro Shop
Dogs are allowed on the trail, they are also welcomed at the Bass Pro Shop, Bass Pro Shop hosts special Dog Day events. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Hidden Gem

The Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve is nestled in the scenic coastal town of Niantic Connecticut. The nature preserve spans over 400 acres of varied terrain. There are several miles of hiking trails. 

Our hike took place a day after rain and the wet moss that blanketed the preserve made us feel like we entered an enchanted forest. The preserve abuts Clark's Pond and the Niantic River, it is a unique and beautiful place.

The miles of trails that run throughout the preserve, provide endless opportunities for birding and wildlife observations. We could not resist pulling out our camera. What impressed us most was the unique rock formations and vegetation.

Monotropa uniflora

Also impressive was the Quartz pit, what a treat to see quartz in abundance amongst the borders and beautiful fauna, we also stumbled upon a rare find, the Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant (or ghost pipe), Indian pipe or corpse plant. 

Southern pine bark beetle trap

We were fascinated by a trap we came across, its purpose is to trap the southern pine bark beetle. This invasive beetle preys upon pine trees, an infestation of this beetle would be devastating to the preserve. This finding provided an opportunity for our children to see first hand the efforts to ward off a devastating invasive beetle. This was a great learning moment.

It is important to note that there are steep sections and cliffs throughout the preserve. Trails are well marked. Dogs are welcome in the preserve but it is requested that they remain on their leash and under owners control. 

Trail Map:
Access to the Preserve
A hike through this enchanted preserve is a perfect outing for hikers and dogs! 

Aussie overlooking Clark Pond