The Stream Buffer Demonstration Trail at Monteith Farmstead Park is open and ready for visitors. We hope you make the time to go to Dillsboro and walk this “mini” nature trail.
The purpose of this trail is to explain — at the experiential level — why preserving natural land along the creeks here in the Great Smoky Mountains region is so critical.
Yes, buffer areas along streams are critical to stream health — to the fish and to the bugs that the fish eat. So, in a very real way, it is critical for us — because this land and this water are part of us — whether we were born here or chose this special place to live.
OK! If you cannot visit our nature trail — then take a look at the signs that we have posted along the way. The first and final (ninth) sign are posted together — MFP_SouthTrail_Signs
OK! We hope to have pictures to take all you non-western North Carolina folks on a real virtual tour in the near future. Anyway, the challenge is….
What is the “mysterious substance” at the bottom of the food pyramid for mountain streams? What do the aquatic bugs eat to give them nutrients and energy (calories)?
— Make a guess
— Yes, you know it
— Gosh! You forgot?
—You never knew?
The answer is: Leaf Packs — yes, the lowly wads of fallen leaves that accumulate against rocks and under logs — feed the base of our aquatic ecosystem. — Not sunlight and plants (well, not directly). Not diatoms and algae. It is LEAF PACKS… Deciduous trees are soooo important! So don’t cut down those trees next to the stream! Make sure some small saplings are there to take the place of the grand, old trees when their time comes!
So now you know! Don’t forget the importance of trees for shade! And a riparian thicket for dense roots and erosion control. And a path to the creek just to get your toes wet!
(Easter egg: Thanks, Mikki and Kathleen at Resourceful Communities! Come visit us — and walk the trail! It is yours, too, you know! )