Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kendal's First Camping Adventure - Day 3 - Secret Trail

On Bennett Avenue, on route to Black Oak Trail, we saw a raccoon crossing the road. We also saw another trail -- one that isn't marked on the map!

Of course, we had to hike it.

The Deer Enclosure Trail is just a short little walk into the woods and around the perimeter of the deer enclosure.

We didn't see any deer -- which is actually the point! The deer enclosure doesn't enclose deer -- it keeps them out.

What it does enclose is a small patch of Carolinian forest on which deer have not been allowed to graze since 1978. The Rondeau peninsula has a higher population of deer than the forest there can sustainably support. Inside the deer enclosure, the forest is regenerating and the area is thick with bushes and sapplings. Outside the enclosure, the forest has been overgrazed and much of the undergrowth is just grasses and flowers. (The open area didn't look as bad as on the photos on the Deer Enclosure sign, however. We couldn't find recent numbers on the deer population, but it looks as if park management practices have started to bring it under control in recent years.)

Sustainable ecosystems are a delicate and complicated balance!

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