This past Sunday, Noah and I made our way back up to Summit County to enjoy the beautiful fall day and knock a few more trails off our Hiking Spree forms. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that these parks mean the world to us. Living up there, most of our free time was spent exploring the parks and trails along the Cuyahoga River, we lived very close to the gorge and the giant sandstone cliffs never ceased to amaze and inspire. These parks also spurred Noah's ambition to go back to school and get a degree in Natural Resource and Wildlife Management - which is why we moved back to Wooster - last year he graduated at the top of his class (I'm super proud of him).
So, while we don't live in Summit anymore we still make a point to venture up that way and participate in the Hiking Spree and reconnect with all that we love so much. Sunday we hiked a few of my absolute favorites - the Chuckery, the Overlook, and the Glens trails.
The hiking was lovely, the weather splendidly fall-like, and the people friendly.
But since starting this blog and my journey into meeting and knowing all the plants I come across, I'm amazed at the number and size of invasive species we saw on our hikes. I never noticed, or I never knew before just how bad it was. I had to key out a grove of 8ft tall honeysuckle bushes because I couldn't believe they could get so large, the O. bittersweet was thick around as the trees it's weighing down, and on and on. BUT you can see where teams of (I'm assuming) volunteers have come in and are fighting the good fight, the constant fight, fighting back these overtaking species allowing native species to have a chance.
I know that I know just the tip of the iceberg that is park and land management but I'm glad to see the progress being made. With just the little experience I have with invasive species, I know it's a constant ongoing process, an uphill battle, but that moment in the spring when you see one of the early spring ephemerals blooming that hadn't had a chance due to shade of the invasive, then it's worth it.
You never know what's waiting, just under the soil, for the right conditions.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.