Saturday, August 28, 2010

Marsh Experience in The Woodlands Texas

There is one amenity in Cochran's Crossing that is very unique in The Woodlands. It is part of Shadowbend Park but is isolated from the rest of the park by Lake Woodlands Dr. This sits on a pond and was designed to retain the marsh that is prevalent in the Southeast Texas piney woods.
 On this particular morning, there were mothers strolling with their babies, young parents out with a child, elderly people walking for exercise and others running or walking their dogs. After crossing the street, one finds this bridge at the nearest point from Shadowbend Park. Stop at the bridge to find turtles and an occasional snake. This is a bog of the marsh. Keep going and you will find the entrance to the Marsh Experience.
The boardwalk will take you over the marsh adjoining the pond. On a hot summer day, this was dry but after rains, this area typically contains a wetland. As you walk along the boardwalk, you will follow a self instructional tour of the marsh. 
There is an attempt to have several plants of the same species  behind each sign.  I noticed this in several cases but it was not consistent.

It may be difficult to sort out some of the material since part of it is seasonally dependent.

I think you would agree that this is a tranquil and beautiful place. Sometimes I find fishermen out on the boardwalk but not on this day. In the Fall this can be spectacular.
There was one gentleman on the boardwalk with me, getting his morning exercise.

There were no creature except a turtle to behold on the warm day. It was too late in the morning, but the forest does yield small animals in the night and very early morning.

On one side of the boardwalk is the pond. You can find bass and blue gill perch in this water. 

Then from the pond to the north, the marsh is sometimes wet and other times dry. Bogs remain all year long.

Unfortunately we have an unwanted species in some of our parks and as far as that goes, this tree exists in private yards as well.   This highly invasive tree species is the biggest threat to out prairies and forests. It was introduced to the United States in the early 1900's and is quickly consuming our  lands. The Chinese Tallow is banned from being sold at nurseries now, but the harm has already been done. One mature tree produces 500,000 seeds a year and also propagates by its roots.  A root serves as a propagating "runner" just below the soil surface. It's seeds are not useful to birds' nutrition and in fact displace nutritious food, possibly making weaker seed-eating birds in the ecosystems of the western world. This tree needs to be eradicated from the ecological systems of our public forests and private lands.

Getting there:
Simply go to Shadowbend Park and park your automobile. It is also accessed from the pathway system. Then cross Lake Woodlands Dr and you are there.

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