Bald Eagle Closure in Effect Until July 31, 2014
Returning bald eagles are actively tending to last year's nest within the Pinery Narrows area in CVNP. To protect the eagles from human disturbance, the area surrounding the nest tree will be closed until July 31, 2014. More »
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) Bridge Construction Closures
Rockside and Canal Visitor Center boarding sites will be closed through Apr 27. From Jan 18 - Mar 16, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Brecksville stations. From Mar 22 - Apr, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Peninsula. More »
Closure on Fishing Will Remain in Effect for Virginia Kendall Lake
Due to the government shutdown, we were unable to survey the fish community in VK Lake as scheduled. Our survey partners (ODNR) will not be able to get into the lake until early spring of 2014. Therefore, the closure on fishing will remain in effect. More »
Visiting a forest is always new and exciting—even if you’ve been there before. Who knows what creatures you’ll see or how it’s changed since your last hike there. Old trees die and fall, making new sunny spots where plants and young trees sprout up. Farmers cleared much of the Cuyahoga Valley forest a century or more ago to plant crops. Most of the trees you see now are what have since grown back. It’s called a secondary growth forest. Some kinds of trees that once lived in the region have disappeared, too. Both elm and chestnut trees were once common, but died out from diseases decades ago. Today tree-destroying exotic insects like gypsy moth and the newly-arrived emerald ash borer are changing forest ecosystems.
Even a few months can make a big difference in how a forest looks. A trail you know well in summer can be hard to recognize in winter. The forest ecosystem along the Oak Hill trail system and the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center (CVEEC) is a mixed forest. It has both deciduous and evergreen trees. The forest’s tall oak, hickory, and beech trees are still bare in early spring. This gives wildflowers like spring beauty and mayapple time to peek up through the sun-soaked forest floor. By the time the tall trees have leafed out into a shady summer canopy, most of the woodland wildflowers are finished making seeds. Seasons also affect how an ecosystem works.
Deer for All Seasons
Under the tall oaks and hickories are shorter understory trees like American hornbeam and sassafras. Like the other deciduous trees, they drop their fall-colored leaves as the days grow short. With the other trees leafless, the evergreens like pines and spruces really stand out—especially against a snow-covered background. Something else more easily spotted in a winter forest are deer signs. In the early winter, male deer scrape up tree trunks as they rub their antlers against them. The bark scraping is a way to mark territory. Later in the winter the bucks’ antlers fall off. Sometimes you see them on the forest floor, but they don’t last long. Squirrels and mice eat them for their calcium. Deer spend the winter eating tree buds, leaving a trail of hoof-prints and pellets in the snow.
Did You Know?
Lock 27 along the Ohio & Erie Canal became known as Johnnycake Lock after several boats ran aground due to flooding. While stranded, supplies ran low and canal passengers and crew ate only corn meal pancakes, known as "johnnycakes".