Human Impacts on the Preserve

It is a well known fact that humans have the greatest ability of any animal to alter their environment. (Beavers are second!) The trash we produce, structures we build, food we grow, even our footprints leave their mark on landscapes around the world. Even in this seemingly pristine natural environment, evidence of past human activities is abundant.

Look to your left and right. You may notice what look like vehicle tracks heading in both directions from where you’re standing. These tracks were not made by a natural force. They are likely skidder tracks from past logging.  

In this case, the skidder compacted the soil making it more difficult for plants to grow.  Mosses and ferns are often the only plants that grow in these tracks. However, the impacts of these residual tracks are not always entirely negative. As a result of the compacted soil, water sometimes collects in the tracks, creating new vernal pools that provide homes for frogs and other organisms.

There are countless bits of evidence left by past humans on the preserve, but you have to look closely to find them. Make your walk a scavenger hunt for evidence of past human use and what it might tell you about who traversed these lands in the past!