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Pasold Farm Nature Preserve

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IF YOU GO

Where: Parking area is on Pasold Farm Drive (off Spruce Cabin Road in Canadensis). Take Route 447 to Spruce Cabin Road. Go 50 feet, cross the bridge. Pasold Farm Drive is on your right. Parking for up to eight cars. The trail is blazed in blue and starts to the right of the information sign.

GPS coordinates: 41-10.735N, 75-15.072W

Note before you go: Hiking is moderately difficult with one short, steep climb, and one downed tree to clamber over. Parts are wet. Wear sturdy boots or shoes. There is an easy 2-mile loop through woods and along a road that can be done in an hour or less.

Fishing in season with licenses; catch and release only.

The preserve is open to the public.

No motorized vehicles, including ATVs.

 

 

 

Find the 'kissing tree' at Pasold Farm Nature Preserve

By Carol Hillestad

On a June morning, Patti O’Keefe meets me, nature photographer Nancy Hopping, and naturalist Raymond Macik at Pasold Farm Nature Preserve in Barrett Township. Patti leads us up a short, steep climb through hay-scented ferns and some wet ground, to our first stop: the remains of the farm’s springhouse.

Cold, pure water, filtered naturally by the earth, springs from the roots of an ancient oak. In the dappled light, it spills into a shallow basin. From there, the water is captured in what’s left of the springhouse -- a solid, rock-walled pit about 3 feet square and 4 feet deep.

We’re all spellbound. The place seems enchanted. And we’re only five minutes into our walk.

Patti – a science teacher, naturalist, and Barrett Township supervisor – was part of the team that preserved this land, helping fellow Supervisor Paul Stotsenburg to blaze the trail.

Patti has walked the property “a hundred times,” she said. “It never gets old. It may not be enchanted, but it’s very special.”

Leaving the spring, Patti points out two unusual trees, tupelo or black gum trees, far north of their normal range. “(Naturalist) Don Miller believes they are more than 100 years old,” Patti said. “How they got here, nobody knows.”

The trail is well marked with blue blazes and takes us along neatly built stone rows, testifying that this was indeed a farm. We see some glacial erratics – boulders left by the retreating glacier 10,000 years ago. On the uphill side of the trail is mixed hardwood forest; below are white pine and spruce leading to stands of native rhododendron.

A highlight for the science classes Patti brings to this 64-acre property is an old white pine she calls the “kissing tree.” Two of the tree’s seven main trunks have grown together in a perpetual wooden “kiss.”

Headed downslope now along a rock ledge, Patti tells us that another parcel of land further uphill may be added to the preserve, which would double the network of trails.

We’ve seen some marvels this hour, but Patti saved the best for last. It’s Brodhead Creek, dead ahead as we leave the woods and come out on Pasold Farm Drive. A quarter-mile of this world-famous trout stream is part of the preserve.

Preserving this land protects wetlands, seeps, and tiny creeks that feed the Brodhead, the direct source of drinking water for thousands of people downstream.

It’s easy walking now along the road, passing the remains of farm-building stone foundations, taking us by a tidy community garden set up along the creek, and back to the parking area.

Photos by Nancy J. Hopping


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