August 22, 2015, Freeman Trail and Blood Mountain, Union County­

Posted under: North Georgia.

Meet:   10:00 am 

AT Woody Gap to Slaughter Gap, GA

Ovate Catchfly, Silene ovata

Trip Leader: John French

Description:  We will meet at the Byron Herbert Reese (BHR) Parking Area and hike the first 0.7 miles on the BHR Trail, which switchbacks through rhododendron and mountain laurel up stone staircases to Flatrock Gap, where the Freeman Trail begins. The Freeman Trail winds around the south side of Blood Mountain, over a rugged and rocky terrain, crossing several small rocky streams and rock outcrops. Outcrops should be ablaze with late summer wildflowers, such as sunflowers, tickseeds, goldenrods, and lobelias.  We should see two rare species, ovate catchfly (Silene ovata) and eastern figwort (Scrophularia marilandica), in flower. After 1.8 miles, we will reach Bird Gap and the Appalachian Trail (AT). At this point, some of us will  return to the parking lot on the Freeman Trail (for a moderate, round-trip hike of 5 miles) and others may want to continue on the AT to the summit of Blood Mountain and then return to the parking lot on the AT (a strenuous hike of 6.8 miles).

Directions to Meeting Location:  10:00 a.m. at the Byron Herbert Reese parking area on the west side of U.S. Hwy 129 North, about 0.5 mile north of the Mountain Crossing Appalachian Trail Store at Neel’s Gap. Neel’s Gap is 18 (slow and curvy) miles north of Cleveland. There is a $5.00 parking fee to park at the BHR lot; parking is not allowed at the Trail Store.

Bathroom Facilities: None on the trail; bathrooms, snacks, water, etc at the Trail Store.

Walking Difficulty: The BHR trail is moderately steep. The Freeman Trail is relatively flat but there are some very large, tricky boulders to scramble over and several rocky streams to cross. Hiking pole and ankle-protecting boots strongly advised.

Bring: Five dollars for parking fee, and lunch, snacks, and water.  Dress for hot weather and possible afternoon thunderstorms.

Contact: Linda Chafin, 706-548-1697 or Lchafin@uga.edu

 

Sept 12, 2015, Hinds Road Outcrop / Little River Canyon NP, AL (Etowah, DeKalb Cos.)

Posted under: Alabama.

Phemeranthus [Talinum] mengesii (Large-flowered Rock-pink)

Phemeranthus [Talinum] mengesii (Large-flowered Rock-pink)

Meet: 10:00 am – at Jack’s Restaurant, 1502 Noccalula Road, Gadsden, AL 35901

Description: This trip will feature visits to several sandstone rock outcrops in northeast Alabama to see a variety of wildflowers (and tree) that are rare or not even found in Georgia. We will explore Hinds Road Outcrop near Gadsden, then travel to Little River Canyon to Lynn Overlook and possibly other sites for Nuttall’s rayless-goldenrod (Bigelowia nuttallii), Sandstone Tickseed (Coreopsis pulchra), Longleaf Sunflower (Helianthus longifolius), Small-head Blazing Star (Liatris microcephala), Menges’ Fameflower (Talinum mengesii), Boynton Oak (Quercus boyntonii) and other goodies.

Bigelowia nuttallii - Nuttall's rayless-goldenrod

Bigelowia nuttallii – Nuttall’s rayless-goldenrod

Directions: From I-75, exit 290 in Cartersville, take Ga. 20 and then US 411 to Rome. At first traffic signal turn right onto Ga. Loop 1. Follow Loop 1 around Rome, making 1 left turn at intersection of Garden Lakes Blvd. and Mathis Dr. Go past Walmart and Sam’s Club, turn right onto Ga. 20. Go 14.2 mi., enter AL (Hwy. becomes AL-9). Go 14.7 mi. turn right on AL-68. Go 2.2 mi. turn right on US 411. Stay on US 411 to Gadsden, AL (21.4 mi.). At Gadsden turn right on US 431, continue on US 431 for 1.5 mi. turn right on AL 211 (Noccalula Road). Go approx. 1.5 mi. look for Jack’s Restaurant on left.

Liatris microcephala (Small-head Blazing-star)

Liatris microcephala (Small-head Blazing-star)

Facilities: at meeting & lunch sites

Lunch: bring lunch to eat at picnic tables or fast food may be available.

Walking: mostly short distances on relatively flat rock outcrops, however, very rough terrain.

Bring: Lunch, water, bug spray, camera etc.

Leader(s): Richard Ware (706-232-3435, cell 706-766-5143, gabotany@comcast.net) – Mike Christison (770-973-6482, cell 770-596-3564, mikepaddler@netscape.net).

September 19, 2015, Buck Creek Serpentine Barren, Clay County, NC

Posted under: North Carolina.

Field Trip Leader: Gary Kaufman, US Forest Service Botanist Description:  Buck Creek Serpentine Barren in Clay County, NC just west of the Macon County line in the Chunky Gal Mountains.  A physiognomic patchwork of forest, dense grass patches (over 20 species) and partially open woodland occurs across a serpentine site surrounding Buck Creek in Clay County, North Carolina.  The dominant rock types, serpentinized dunite and olivine, influence the striking vegetation present on this site.  The serpentine plant communities occupy both east and west-facing slopes extending over 300 acres from 3400 feet elevation along Buck Creek to over 4000 feet elevation atop Corundum Knob. One hundred acres within the site is managed by the Tusquitee Ranger District as a Special Interest Area and registered as a Natural Heritage Area with the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.  Plants of interest include Gentianopsis crinata, Parnassia grandifolia, Symphyotrichum rhiannon, Sporobolus heterolepis, & Packera serpenticola. Location & Directions:  From Blairsville, Ga  to meeting site approximately 34.3 miles.  Follow Young Harris Highway for about 11.5 miles taking a left onto GA-515 which becomes NC-69.  Follow for about 4.5 miles to intersection with US 64 in Hayesville, NC.  Turn right following US 64 for about 16.5 miles to a left on Buck Creek road. Meet:   10:00 am.,  by the gated road, Forest Service Road (FSR) 6269, which is about 0.6 mile north of US 64 off FSR 350 along Buck Creek. Bathroom Facilities: None Walking Difficulty:  The hike will follow FSR 6269 for 0.3 mile, an easy climb with an elevation change of 150 feet.  Off trail in the barren the hike about a 0.1 mile hike will progress through a moderate grade with uneven terrain.  A 1-mile hike in similar terrain will be undertaken on the west side of Buck Creek. Bring: Lunch, snacks, & water.  Remember to dress for the weather and wear comfortable hiking shoes.  Dress in layers so that you can adjust to changes in the temperature and your activity level.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera. Contact: Gary Kauffman, gkauffman@fs.fed.us, 828-231-5354

September 19, 2015 10:00 am Moody Forest Natural Area – Sandhill Community, Appling County

Posted under: South Georgia.

Meet:  10:00 am

Field Trip Leader:   Bobby Hattaway

Description:  We will explore one of the richest sandhill communities in the southeastern US. Settled by the Moody family more than 140 years ago, Moody Forest Natural Area is one of the three most ecologically important old-growth longleaf pine forests in Georgia. Adjacent to the Altamaha River in Appling County, the 4,500-acre the Moody Forest tracts contain some of Georgia’s richest examples of the Sandhill plant community including the only known example of the longleaf pine-blackjack oak forest. As many as 300 to 350 acres of the property contain longleaf and slash pine trees that are 200 to 300 years old. In 2014, some of Moody Forest NA sandhill communities were part of a University of Florida research project that is looking at which restoration techniques have been most effective in North Florida and South Georgia.  Moody Forest sandhill ranked 3rd out of 22 sites with 112 species. (Apalachicola National Forest was #1 at 130 species, and River Rise State Park in FL was #2 at 114 species). Other significant ecological jewels on the property include forests found on bluffs overlooking the Altamaha floodplain, cypress-tupelo sloughs with trees over 600 years old, and bottomland hardwoods.

Location & Directions:  From Baxley (about 15 minutes):1) From the main intersection of US 341 and US 1 in town, travel north on US 1 about 7.6 miles to Asbury Church Rd, and turn right. 2) Travel down Asbury Church Rd. 1.7 miles to Spring Branch Rd., and turn left (dirt road). 3)Travel down Spring Branch Rd. 0.8 mile and turn right onto East River Rd. (dirt road). 4) Travel down East River Rd. 0.7 mile; just past the “Tavia’s Trail” parking lot, stay left to remain on East River Rd.; travel 1.0 mile and turn left into The Nature Conservancy office parking lot.

From Atlanta (allow approximately 3.5 hours travel time): 1) Take I-75 South to Macon, about 80 miles; 2) Take I-16 East (Exit 165) on the left towards Savannah; stay on I-16 for 90 miles. 3) Take the US Hwy. 1/state route 4 exit (Exit 90) to Lyons. 4) Turn right off the exit ramp onto US 1/SR 4 south 5) Stay on this road for approximately 35 miles, passing through the town of Lyons, to the Altamaha River bridge. 6) Continue another 3.0 miles past the bridge, and watch on the left for Asbury Church Road. 7) Turn left at Asbury Church Rd and follow directions from #2) above (From Baxley).

Alternatively from Atlanta: Up at #2), instead of traveling I-16 all the way to US 1,  some might prefer to get off it earlier and take GA 19 S. at Exit 54 (Dublin Exit) which runs into 179, then US 280 and then S 221/GA 56S. This is a total of about 57 miles from I-16 to US 1. Then Take US 1 South to Asbury Church Rd. which is 3 miles past the Altamaha River bridge. Then see #6 above.

Meet At:  The Nature Conservancy office parking lot

Bathroom Facilities: at the office.                                                                                            

Walking Difficulty: This hike is easy to moderate.

Bring: Lunch, snacks, insect repellent, sunscreen & water.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.

Contact: Bobby Hattaway; cell phone on day of trip – 912-481-3011; botanikman@g-net.net

September 26, 2015, National Public Lands Day / State Parks Day, Various locations throughout the state

Posted under: Uncategorized.

This year the state parks have claimed public lands day as their own. While this day of volunteer service originated in the National Parks, the Georgia State Parks have fully embraced and rebranded it as “State Parks Day”.  Now you can chose from many state, federal, county or city parks to offer a half day of volunteer work.

We have not chosen one particular park location as the BotSoc volunteer site. The choice is yours. Check if your favorite park has a work day scheduled.  If so, register to volunteer. If you have a BotSoc t-shirt, hat, or logo patch, wear it to the event.  Please mention the Georgia Botanical Society programs to other volunteers.  That way the park you select and BotSoc will benefit from your service.

Among the state parks that have already listed volunteer events for state park day are:

Black Rock Mountain in Mountain City,  Don Carter in Gainesville, Cloudland Canyon in Rising Fawn, Fort Mountain in Chatsworth, F.D. Roosevelt  in Pine Mountain, Gordonia-Alatamaha in Reidsville,  Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge, Indian Springs in Flovilla,  Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site in Dallas, GA,  and Sweetwater Creek in Lithia Springs to name just a few.

Check the web site for your favorite state park or volunteer at a location that is new to you.  Just go to http://gastateparks.org.  Click on “Park List”  to discover the volunteer project scheduled for State Park Day at each location.

Whichever park location you chose for your volunteer work, please, take photos and/or write a trip report or describe a special encounter to share with the rest of us. We’d love to hear about it.

Contact:  Maureen Donohue, marinadono67@gmail.com

 

 

October 3, 2015, Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Helianthus porteri & Lichens, Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Coweta Co.

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Helianthus porteri

Helianthus porteri, Photo by Richard & Teresa Ware

Field Trip Leader:  Tom Patrick

Description:  We will explore granite outcrops for fall flowers, including Confederate Daisies, Helianthus porteri, and have a special guest to identify lichens.  This new state park has several hiking trails, some of which have montane longleaf woodlands with numerous herbs reminiscent of a prairie landscape.  Also of interest is the floodplain and low terrace along the Chattahoochee River.  We will have access to park facilities and you can see the unusual raised platforms used for riverside camping, plus observe the huge nest of a bald eagle.

Confederate Daisies

Confederate Daisies

Location & Directions:  The park is northwest of Newnan off Bud Davis Rd., right on Flat Rock Road for one mile, then into the park.  Directions:  From Carrollton and north, take Hwy. 16 east crossing into Coweta Co., toward Newnan, pass the power plant area and take the first right, Wagers Mill Road to the second stop sign.  Follow signs to park.  From south or east take I-85 to Newnan, exit at Hwy. 34 (Exit 47), follow Hwy. 16 west (or the bypass) thru Newnan, but connect again with Hwy. 34 west toward Franklin, take a right at Thomas Powers Road for 6.5 miles, turn right onto Flat Rock Road.  Follow signs to park. Mapquest address: 425 Bobwhite Way, Newnan, GA, 30263.

Meet At:  10:00 am,  at the new park Visitor Center.

Bathroom Facilities: Yes.

Walking Difficulty: Short morning and after lunch hikes, all easy to moderate.  Picnic lunch at park facility.

Bring: Lunch, snacks, & water.  Remember to dress for the weather and wear comfortable hiking shoes.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.

Contact:  Tom Patrick, 706-476-4541    <tom.patrick@dnr.state.ga.us>

October 3, 2015, Ohoopee Dunes Fall Wildflowers, Emanuel County

Posted under: Southeast Georgia.

Field Trip Leader:  Mincy Moffett

Description:  We will explore various habitats, as well as view wildflowers and interesting flora found at the Ohoopee Dunes Wildlife Management Area (ODWMA).  Diverse habitats include classic Kershaw-sand xeric dunes, sub-xeric dunes and sub-xeric ecotones with longleaf pine, hillside pocosins, broadleaf evergreen/ericaceous drains, slope (hammock) forests, rosemary balds, beaver ponds, pitcher plant seeps, and a beautiful blackwater stream floodplain.

The ODWMA, managed by DNR, contains three (3) separate tracts.  The three ODWMA tracts, plus two (2) additional conservation tracts (one each owned by TNC and the USFWS), comprise what is informally referred to as the Ohoopee Dunes Natural Area Complex (5 tracts total).  We will begin our field trip at the northernmost unit, the ODWMA-McLeod Bridge Tract.  We will next explore the ODWMA-Halls Bridge Tract as time permits.  The drive time between the two tracts is 10 minutes.  The location and timing of lunch can be a group decision made on site.

Location & Directions:  We will be meeting at the Ohoopee Dunes Wildlife Management Area – McLeod Bridge Road Parking Area (Emanuel County – w/nw of Swainsboro).  All directions are given from the perspective of US-80 on the western side of Swainsboro.  A Google Map link is provided.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zTGflH4vvBdg.kaZN5HF7jZyI&usp=sharing

Locate the intersection of US-80 and Old McLeod Bridge Road (CR456).  Old McLeod Br. Rd. is located 2.75 miles west of downtown Swainsboro (US-80/US-1 Intersection); 1.5 miles west of the US-80/US-1By-Pass; and 6 miles east of US-80/US-221(SR171) intersection.

From the intersection of Old McLeod Br. Rd and US-80, travel northwest on Old McLeod Br. Rd for 2.6 miles.  The ODWMA parking area will be on the right.  Landmarks include Woodchuck Rd. (dirt) at 1.1 miles and a powerline r-o-w at 1.7 miles.  If you cross the Little Ohoopee River (on Old McLeod Br. Rd), you have gone too far.

Meet At:  The parking area/kiosk for the McLeod Bridge Tract (ODWMA) at 10:00 am.

Bathroom Facilities: none 

Walking Difficulty: This hike is easy to moderate.

Bring: Lunch, snacks, & water.  Remember to dress for the weather – early October on the dunes can bring temps in the 80’s.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes.  Dress in layers so that you can adjust to changes in the temperature and your activity level.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 (Veteran’s Day), 10:00 AM Sparks Creek, FDR State Park Meriwether and Harris Counties

Posted under: Middle Georgia.

Field Trip Leader:  Hal Massie

Grass-of-Parnassus, Parnassia asarifolia

Grass-of-Parnassus, Parnassia asarifolia

Description: The focus of this trip to FDR State Park will be to see a spectacular display of kidney-leaf grass-of-Parnassus, Parnassia asarifolia. In past years, this display has been at its best on or about Veteran’s Day.  The site is a boggy springhead on the south side of Pine Mountain.  Gentiana saponaria, soapwort gentian is another possibility for this wet area.  We’ll walk down part of the Pine Mountain Trail to Sparks Creek, hopefully with colorful fall foliage and a late wildflower or two along the way.  After the grass-of-Parnassus population, we will cross Sparks Creek and walk upslope on the trail to see a couple of American chestnuts, Castanea dentata.  Near the crest of the ridge we will see scattered montane longleaf pine.  Eventually, we will come out at the Boot Top Trail parking area on the road to Dowdell Knob.

Pine Mountain style boulder field

Pine Mountain style boulder field

Directions: From the Atlanta area, Take I-85 south to Exit 41 (I-185), and head south on US 27Alt.   Stay on US 27Alt all the way through the town of Warm Springs, then up the side of Pine Mountain.  Just as you top the crest of Pine Mountain, you will see GA 190 and the eastern entrance to FDR State Park.  Turn right onto 190 (heading west) and go just under 2 miles to the Rocky Point Trailhead parking lot on the left.  From the south, take US 27A north from Columbus until you crest Pine Mountain.  Turn left onto GA 190 and go to the Rocky Point Trailhead parking lot.

Walking: Easy to moderately strenuous.  We’ll walk about a mile on the Pine Mountain Trail on a gradual downhill slope to Spark’s Creek.  The trail is rocky, but well-used and well maintained.  After Sparks Creek, we will continue west on the Pine Mountain Trail until we reach the Boot Top Trail. This portion of the trail has a long uphill stretch.  We will finish at the Boot Top Trail parking area.  Total hiking distance will be 2.4 miles. We will arrange a shuttle to take us back to the Rocky Point Parking Area.

Gentiana saponaria

Soapwort Gentian, Gentiana saponaria

Facilities: There are no facilities at the eastern end of FDR State Park.  Last facilities will be in Warm Springs.  However, we have managed to place trees, rocks and tangles of vegetation at regular intervals for your privacy and convenience.  There are public bathrooms at the park headquarters on the west end of the park.

Bring: Comfortable walking shoes, $5.00 parking fee or annual pass, water, camera, binoculars to see features high in the trees, and a lunch to eat somewhere along the trail.  You can probably leave the bug spray at home this time.  Dress for the weather.

Leader Hal Massie 478-957-6095 (C) massiefarm@aol.com.  Should have good cell reception the day of the hike.

Photos by Hal Massie

 

November 14, 2015: Geology and Natural Communities: Contrasts across the Fall Line and the Story of Providence Canyon, talk and walk, Stewart County

Posted under: Middle Georgia.

Providence Canyon

Providence Canyon

November 14:  Geology and Natural Communities: Contrasts across the Fall Line and the Story of Providence Canyon, talk and walk

Time:  1:00 (talk at Oxbow Meadows); 2:00 (walk at Providence Canyon State Park)

Leaders:  Bill Witherspoon and Leslie Edwards

Location:  Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center (for the talk); Providence Canyon Outdoor Recreation Area (for the walk).

Description:  Two related events:  First, a talk at Oxbow Meadows will describe the geology of the Fall Line and ways in which that geology influences the formation of different natural communities.  This will be followed by a walk in Providence Canyon that will explore the geologic story of the Canyon and some of the natural communities there.

Difficulty level:  moderate to easy

Facilities: Restaurants near both locations

Directions to Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center:   http://oxbow.columbusstate.edu/driving_directions.php

Directions to Providence Cayon Outdoor Recreation Area:   http://gastateparks.org/ProvidenceCanyon#direction

Contact:  Leslie Edwards,  edwa1616@bellsouth.net

December 5, 2015, BOTSOC Annual Holiday Party, Sandy Creek Nature Center, Athens, Clarke County

Posted under: Northeast Georgia.

Come one and all to the BotSoc annual holiday party on Saturday, December 5, 2015, at the Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens.  It  is located at  205 Old Commerce Rd, Athens, GA 30607; the phone number is (706) 613-3615.

The party starts with morning coffee at 10 am and will last until 2 pm.  We will have access to the nature center at 9:30 Satuay morning for set-up.  As usual we will enjoy a pot luck luncheon together so bring a festive appetizer, entree or dessert to share.  After lunch we will explore, on a leisurely walk, some of the  225 acres of woodlands and wetlands that contain  4 miles of trails.  Should you feel energetic that day, you may wish to continue to North Oconee River Greenway and Cook’s Trail which connect with the Nature Center’s trails.  More information on the walk and the leader will be  available in the December newsletter, on the web site and in the weekly email.

Following are directions to the Sandy Creek Nature Center:

FROM ATLANTA:  Head north on I-85 out of Atlanta.  About 13 miles north of I-285, merge right onto GA Hwy 316/University Parkway toward Athens.  Stay on Hwy 316 for about 40 miles. Just outside of Athens, you will cross the Oconee Connector but stay on GA 316, getting into the left lane and bearing NORTH on GA Loop 10 (the Athens bypass). Once on the Loop,headed north,  drive 7.5 miles to Exit 12/ US Hwy 441/ Commerce.  At the end of the exit ramp, turn left (north) onto US Hwy 441/Commerce Rd.  Drive north about 1.5 miles and turn left onto Nature Center Road at the sign for Sandy Creek NATURE CENTER and drive to the T-intersection. Turn left and drive about 0.5 mile to the  Education & Visitor Center  and the parking lot. (If you go too far north on Hwy 441, and see signs for Sandy Creek PARK, turn around and drive back south for about 2 miles.)

FROM POINTS NORTH: Take US Hwy 441 south toward Athens.  About 20 miles south of I-85, you will see signs for Sandy Creek PARK on your left. DO NOT TURN IN THERE. Continue south on US 441 for another 2 miles, watching for signs for Sandy Creek NATURE CENTER, and make a right turn onto Nature Center Road. Drive to the T-intersection, then turn left and drive about 0.5 mile to the  Education & Visitor Center  and the parking lot.

FROM POINTS SOUTH:  Take US Hwy 441 north toward Athens. Watch for signs for GA Loop 10/Athens Bypass, and turn left onto the Loop heading WEST. Stay on the Loop about 10 miles (the next exit will be numbered 1, then 20, 18, 15, 14, 12.). Leave the Loop at Exit 12 / US Hwy 441/ Commerce.  At the end of the exit ramp, turn left (North) onto US Hwy 441/Commerce Rd.  Drive north about 1.5 miles and turn left onto Nature Center Road at the sign for Sandy Creek Nature Center and drive to the T-intersection. Turn left and drive about 0.5 mile to the  Education & Visitor Center  and the parking lot. (If you go too far north on Hwy 441, and see signs for Sandy Creek PARK, turn around and drive back south for about 2 miles.)

IMPORTANT:  If  you get lost on the Loop (and, believe me, it happens a lot), remember that you are looking for US Hwy 441 NORTH out of Athens. AND you are looking for the Nature Center — NOT the park.

Walt Cook will be leading our walk at the holidayparty and will join us for lunch that day.  He has a  BS, MS in Forestry and a Ph.D in Forest Aesthetics. He moved to Athens in 1971 to teach at the Worrell School of Forestry at UGA, and he retired in 1996.  Since then, he has been designing, building, maintaining and hiking foot trails in Georgia and South Carolina. He co-founded the Sandy Creek Nature Center in1973.  He has been an active Board member of the Oconee River Land Trust for 22 years, is a member of the Benton MacKaye Trail Association, and currently maintains trails at the Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens once a week.

Trip Leader: Maureen Donohue, marinadono67@gmail.com