Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mentor Marsh: Wake Robin, Kerven, & Zimmerman Trails

A long spell of sunny, dry weather over the last two weeks made it ideal to explore the nature trails in my home town. There are several trails that skirt, and go into, the Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve, which is adjacent to the Mentor Headlands Beach State Park on Lake Erie in Mentor, Ohio. The marsh is a remnant of an ancient riverbed of the nearby Grand River. There are several trails in the area, some better than others for viewing the marsh and/or for birding.

The Zimmerman Trail is two miles long, and we began at the Headlands Drive entrance. We only ventured about ¾ of a mile onto the trail. From the Headlands entrance, the trail is a simple dirt/mud trail, very wooded, hilly, and sometimes not very visible due to a few downed trees. We could hear several birds in the area but could not see many because of the heavy foliage. Since the weather had been dry the trail was very dry, but it is evident that the trail would get messy with wet weather. We did not check out the Rosemary Lane entrance to this trail. There is a very nice view of a marsh pond area on Headlands Drive below the entrance of the trail.

The Kerven Trail, located on Corduroy Road, is also heavily wooded, but has a nice overlook of the Mentor Marsh. The trail to the overlook is not well marked and we found the overlook by accident. We realized on the way back to the beginning of the trail that we had to go on the butterfly meadow path in order to easily get to the overlook.

The nicest trail is the Wake Robin Trail, which is a boardwalk that runs through the marsh itself. There is a short but steep hill with a dirt trail which leads to the boardwalk, so be prepared for this short trek down. (There are plans to connect the boardwalk with another overlook nearby which will allow easy access for all.) We spent quite a bit of time on this short (.35 mile) boardwalk because it was very peaceful and there was a great view of all the different marsh plants, insects, and birds in the area. The height of the phragmites - the tall reeds that have invaded the marsh – is very evident once you are in the marsh at ground level; some easily reached 15-20 feet. Phragmites are not native to this area and over the years they have choked off the natural vegetation in the marsh. There is an effort to restore Mentor’s Marsh’s native habitat around the area of the boardwalk, much to the delight of birds (and humans too).

We also spent some time at the Mentor Lagoons Trails and the Mentor Headlands Dunes Nature Preserve Trail and I will post those photos in the near future. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy these photos – some in black and white – from the Zimmerman, Kerven, and Wake Robin trails.

Zimmerman Trail

Kerven Trail

Wake Robin Trail

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