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Iowa

Hanging Bog


Hanging Bog is important for the survival of skunk cabbage, a rare plant that thrives here. A cold-water source feeds the site to create the perfect environment for skunk cabbage. Skunk cabbage blooms very early, pushing through the last of the winter snow. This plant, aptly named, has an unpleasant odor and very unusual blooms.

Why You Should Visit

Hanging Bog gets its name from a series of saturated terraces on the lower slopes of the wooded hillsides. These terraces formed from large deposits of porous lime, called "tufa", which were deposited by mineral-rich groundwater that flows across an impermeable layer of buried bedrock and seeps out of the side of the hill. These unique conditions are ideal for the growth of skunk cabbage.

Location

Six miles northwest of Cedar Rapids in Linn County

Size

16 acres

Conditions

Dominated by porous lime deposits and the notably odorous skunk cabbage. Relatively easy walk, but be considerate as to where walking, some steep ravines. 

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Hanging Bog was deeded to the Conservancy by Leslie F. Clarke in 1968. It was dedicated as a biological State Preserve in 1981.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The preserve is an important educational and research resource for local schools, colleges and universities.

What to See: Plants

Skunk cabbage, marsh marigold and jewelweed are the dominant vegetation on the seep. The surrounding forest is dominated by black maple, red oak and basswood, and supports over 170 species of vascular plants, 23 species of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) and an abundance of ferns.

What to See: Animals

Birds at the preserve include the bobwhite quail, house wren, brown thrasher, wood thrush, American robin, red-winged blackbird and indigo bunting. Mammals here include the short-tailed shrew, white-footed mouse and pocket gopher.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines

Directions

From the intersection of I-380 and Highway 94 in Cedar Rapids:
Take Highway 94 west six miles to Ross Road.
Turn north and go to the end of the road.
To get to the preserve, walk east on a path on the north side of the fence for about 200 yards (look for a sign at the preserve) to a stile.
Cross over the steps.
Relatively easy walk but be considerate as to where walking; there are some steep ravines.

Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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