Please join me for a very leisurely walk along the trail at Chaumont Barrens. Below is a description of the area and what you might see. It's a beautiful location especially for those who love to take pictures. So please bring your camera, lots of water, hat, sunscreen, bug repellent and anything else you feel you might need. A light lunch will be provided.
The trail we will take is a 1.7 mile loop owned by the Nature Conservancy. The duration of this hike is all dependent on how fast we move along. There is no time limit.
Bring plenty of water and a hat and sunscreen- the open areas get quite hot in mid-day sun.
Because of the very shallow soil, holes and fissures in the rocks and unique plants there- it is requested that visitors stay on trail and stepping stones where provided and avoid wearing shoes that have deep treads. NOTE: No facilities in the area- the last one would be at the Nice-N-Easy on corner of Rte 12E and MORRIS TRACK RD (formerly Co Rte 125)
Looking forward to seeing you, Anna
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RSVP for meeting location and directions.
Chaumont Barrens Preserve is one of the last and finest examples of alvar grasslands in the world, and is a link in the chain of North American alvars forming an arc from Jefferson County through Ontario, and all the way to northern Michigan.
Alvar barrens are highly unique, prairie-like landscapes that rest atop a foundation of limestone bedrock. Scientists disagree on the reason there is so little soil on alvars—they may have been swept away during a cataclysmic drainage of glacial waters, or swallowed up by abundant fissures in the limestone.
In any case, what remains is a flat rocky terrain of grasslands, limestone woodlands, cedar forests, pavement barrens and globally rare plant communities. Alvar communities are adapted to survive extreme conditions: shallow soils, regular spring flooding, and summer drought.
This particular landscape developed after the last glacier retreated from this area some 10,000 years ago. Melt water pummeled the landscape, cutting deep fissures into the bedrock. Over time, a striking, linear pattern of vegetation – including many prairie-type plants that are rare in New York – grew on this shallow soil. The resulting vegetation mosaic includes fossilized bedrock, deep fissures, rubbly moss gardens, and patches of woods, shrub savannas, and open grasslands.
The bedrock found throughout Chaumont Barrens is about 450 million years old. Scientists say that at that time, Chaumont was at the bottom of a shallow tropical sea near the equator.
If you look closely, you can find the remains of primitive marine animals, such as cephalopods, that lived in the ocean. These creatures were the top predator of the marine food chain and are related to the modern day squid and octopus. Chaumont Barrens supports a wide range of wildlife, including: porcupine, coyote, prairie warbler, clay-colored sparrow, scarlet tanager, golden-winged warbler, upland sandpiper, eastern towhee, whip-poor-will, common yellowthroat, black and white warbler, and cedar waxwing.
In late May, visitors can enjoy a diverse succession of native wildflowers in bloom, especially prairie smoke, which can be seen nowhere else in the northeast. Many other plants also make Chaumont Barrens their home: prairie smoke, blue phlox, bloodroot, balsam ragwort, yellow lady's slipper, early buttercup, reindeer lichen, white cedar, white spruce, and white pine.
Chaumont Barrens is located in Jefferson, New York, within the Alvar Barrens and Grasslands Priority Conservation Landscape.
Download a trail map at: http://www.nature.org/photos-and-video/chaumont-trail-map.pdf
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