GPS 45.0027 N, 92.9036 W , Trail Head at Northeast Corner of Parking Lot
Following this trail North you will see large pine trees on your right (east side of trail), these were planted about 1975. On the left (west side of the trail) is the older oak/maple forest. Buckthorn removal efforts are underway in this area, with the aim of restoring the native undergrowth. Watch for pileated woodpeckers making 3-4″ holes on the standing stumps and dead limbs.
Stop # 12 A Plantation You Say?
Sunfish Lake Park is a beautiful natural area, yet humans have had an enormous impact on the park over the years. According to “A History of Sunfish Lake Park”, thousands of trees were planted in the park in the 1970’s. You can often distinguish a natural forested area from one that has been planted by the arrangement of the trees in rows, called plantation trees. There is an example of this in the grove of conifer trees on the trail just to the north east of the parking lot. After the saplings are planted, as time goes on they are thinned out so they have room to grow. Trees planted in this manner are usually of the same species so the area lacks natural diversity and changes how the forest looks. Sometimes these types of trees are planted for windbreaks or erosion control. Unfortunately, sometimes if the plant is not native, it can overtake an area and upset the delicate balance of an ecosystem. Invasive buckthorn is one example. It is a type of shrub or small tree originally planted as hedges now growing out of control in many woodland areas.