Thursday, December 01, 2011

Forest after the Flood ...

In 2007 I featured Fontenelle Forest, a local forest preserve adjoining Bellevue, Nebraska. Fontenelle Forest is the largest unbroken tract of land within a {mumble} mile radius. You can see the original posting HERE

The Wetlands is one of my favorite sections of the Forest.

Wetlands, ca. 2007:

I had described the Wetlands as "Fallen trees, mossy ponds, rickety bridges, reeds, rushes, cat-tails, lilly pads ..."

Although I visit the Forest semi-regularly, I have not seen the Wetlands since the Great Flood. During the recent Saint Martin's summer I did venture down there and I was quite astonished in what I saw.

At the entrance to the Gifford Memorial Boardwalk, things looked more or less normal.

The most obvious sign of anything unusual was a very thick coat of dried mud covering the Boardwalk, with signs of recent footprints, indicating recent use.

However, after venturing a few hundred feet into the Forest, it was very obvious that things were not normal.

The Boardwalk, one of two equal-access trails in the Forest was buckled and was off its footing in many places.

This next photo best shows the depth of the flooding.

Notice the high-water mark, the "bathtub ring" about 6 feet or so up the tree trunks.

Repairs are in progress!

Recent tire tracks show the repair work to the base of the trail, and parts of the Boardwalk have been salvaged and stacked ready for re-assembly.

Sections of fallen trees, once blocking the path of the Boardwalk, have been removed, as we see from the recent saw marks and sawdust.

The area surrounding the Great Marsh is still damp from the muck left over from the receding flood waters.

The Great Marsh itself has a very normal look to it, for this time of the season.

The flood has taken its toll on the signage along the path of the Boardwalk.

Some signs have escaped with only minor damage.

Others appear to be damaged beyond repair! :(

Speaking of signs ...

I guess I should have read the bottom-center note before venturing on the Boardwalk, huh? :)


Anonymous said...

Omababe, thanks for the photo tour of flood-damaged Fontenelle Forest. I remember leading a class of Bible-school students down its paths when I was 19, and sliding down a slimy slope after a rainfall (not intentionally).

I wanted to let you know I made some extensive comments on your 2007 (?) Vinton Street blog. My family lived in the Vinton/Deer Park/Spring Lake area from 1962 to 1980, and it brought back many memories.

I enjoy your work! -- Brian Nelson

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to know if there are any native carnivorous plants in the area. Looks like a suitable spot for sundews (Drosera) if nothing else.


Omababe said...

>I'd be interested to know if there
>are any native carnivorous plants
>in the area.

Good question, and I sure don't know! However, I'll ask the next time I'm in the Nature Center or run into a guide.

I'm not aware of any. I'm really a city kid and not outdoorsy at all. I did spend the last 1/2 hour googling and I can't find any reference to any indigenous to the area. The range of a few does include Nebraska, so some may be in there.