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A pretty view awaits visitors to Emmons Pond Bog. The history of the pond and bog dates back 11,000 years when the retreat of the last glacier left a depression that was soon filled with water.
From the trail, a somber and striking view – blackbirds, frogs, perhaps a few flowers, dead trees, resulting from beaver activity that raised the water level. The rising water did no damage to the floating bog but killed many trees around it, including the poplars, the beavers’ principal source of food. The resulting lack of food caused the beavers to abandon this site.
The preserve loop trail starts downhill across a meadow, crosses a brook and enters the woods. Here you will find the sign-in box and an interpretive sign. Follow the trail down to the bog to a 200-foot boardwalk loop. This short trail allows you to look at bog plants up close without damaging the sensitive vegetation. Once you complete this loop, return to the sign-in box and follow the orange markers. This 1.4 mile long trail circles the pond in a counter clockwise direction. When the trail returns to the open meadow, walk to your left to get back to the starting point.
Sphagnum moss, which can absorb up to 25 times its weight in water, makes up most of the floating mat around the pond. The absorbed water doesn’t circulate, and the mat blocks out the warming sun. With plant decay slowed, the open water turns the color of tea because the plant material steeps in the cold acidic water for decades. Nutrients, which would normally be released by decay, remain locked up in the dead plant material.
Other bog plants that can survive in this environment are leatherleaf, buckbean, cottongrass, pitcher plant and sheep laurel. A short boardwalk allows visitors to observe this fragile habitat without damaging it.
This 140-acre preserve is located in Davenport, Delaware County, NY.