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Volunteers see improvements at Nature Center

  • ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Dan Kunkle talks to volunteers who were bused to the new arboretum as part of a volunteer recognition day.
    ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Dan Kunkle talks to volunteers who were bused to the new arboretum as part of a volunteer recognition day.
Published July 03. 2014 04:00PM

An offer was made for the Lehigh Gap Nature Center to buy 1.6 acres of land in East Penn Township contiguous to the 756 acres presently part of the center. On June 22 as part of volunteer recognition day, a bus took volunteers to see the improvements that have been done on the site.

The center's board discussed whether to buy the land or not. The cost was $17,000, the price requested by landowner Doug Gause. A grant was received to cover the cost.

Ron Kline was in favor of the purchase and said it would not only permit another trailhead but provide a place for an arboretum. The present trailhead for the L&E trail does not have adequate parking, which the new site would, and a trail connects the two.

After the decision was made, Kline said many trees and shrubs were purchased from Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery. A committee decided what would be used, and volunteers did the planting.

Center Director Dan Kunkle said there are many organizations where volunteers are important, but here, volunteers are the Nature Center.

For six years there was a Lehigh Gap Nature Center sign waiting for a place to be put, and this is where it was finally used. There are 130 trees and shrubs that were planted.

Kunkle said the shrubs are hard to identify and will be signed. Many of them are berry-producing for wildlife food.

Caretakers are needed to keep the new plantings from being overwhelmed by other plants that have been growing there.

Gause liked rocks and piled many of them into cairns, which were used as focal points for the plants. He lined up the boulders, which the center returned to a more natural position, some of which can be used as seating.

Board member Bill Mineo said the Lenape revered snakes, and the trails loop and circle around like a snake trail. The trail loops also allow the largest number of plants to be seen close up.

Kunkle said the arboretum is something new for people who want to get involved in the Nature Center.

It provides a useful trailhead in Carbon County and is three miles from the Osprey House, but there is a bikeable trail to reach it rather than just the three-mile hike, which becomes six miles until people walk back. There is a large parking lot.

To get there, cross the Lehigh River near Bowmanstown and turn immediately onto Riverview. At the stop sign turn left, an immediate right, and the first left.

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