Deer Park Nature Preserve includes 1.5 miles of trails throughout the property. The trails take you through a woodland area with lots of shade and birds. On the edge of the wetland area where aquatic life thrives and through the grassland/prairie area where pollinators flutter about. The main loop is constructed of decomposed granite while the inner loops are mown trails. The mown trails have wooden posts along the trail so you can easily find your way back to the main loop. Visitors are likely to see signs of or even experience a variety of flora and fauna that make the Deer Park Nature Preserve their home.
Throughout the establishment of the park. It is clear that wildlife is abundant on this property rabbits, armadillos, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, butterflies, birds and bees have all been found. Whether it’s their tracks on the trails or actual sightings. Bat houses are installed and once occupied and at full capacity. The bats have the potential to eat 6 million mosquitoes per night! The Deer Park Nature Preserve also features a diverse variety of native trees and plants spanning across the entire property. Carnivorous plants have been seen as well in some locations! We just ask that visitors please enjoy these flora and fauna from a distance so as not to disturb native habitats.
Visitors to the Deer Park Nature Preserve may also see ever changing native landscape over time. Many invasive species are on the property and are being controlled and removed over the next several years. One of the invasive species. The McCartney Rose looks pretty with its delicate white flowers but is covered in thorns. It is found throughout the 38 acres and just off the pathways in many cases. In addition to the rose, Poison Ivy, Chinese Tallow, and other invasive flora have been identified. In restoring this tract of land to its original intention. These invasive species will continue to be thinned out, removed and monitored on an annual basis.
While visiting the park, we ask that visitors please stay on the trails. Sensitive vegetation during the restoration of the site means foot traffic on trails will be detrimental to the process. The wetland area has recently completed the first year of an intensive Chinese tallow maintenance program. As Chinese tallow is highly invasive. It has filled and choked out the native wetland vegetation. A trained contractor had the delicate task of chemically eradicating and removing a large amount of the Chinese tallow that had taken over the wetland area. Now that this invasive removal process has begun. The emergent seed bank of native plants is able to thrive again. Restoring the wetland will give the millions of migratory birds a place to rest and be viewed closer than ever before in our area.
This wetland is a true wetland meaning water runs off the land adjacent to it filling the wetland area. Because of this, after heavy rainfall events, some trail sections may be closed due to impassable conditions. The main loop will remain open as it has a boardwalk over sections of the trail that are saturated the longest.
A small sensory garden is at the Northwest entry to the trail system. An added bonus to walking the trails at the Nature Preserve is that you can partake in Geocaching. The City is working on providing geocaches in several areas around the Nature Preserve. When visiting the facility, please refer to the park rules and map signs at the entrance to the property for more information.
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