Big Meadows Mammalogy Field Trip Notes

 

by Tom Long    May 13, 2013

big meadowsMany wildflowers can be found at Big Meadows; some provide wildlife food. It is believed Native Americans and early settlers kept the meadows cleared to attract game and perhaps for grazing livestock. For historical reasons, the Shenandoah National Park keeps the meadow in open using a 3 year cycle of burn, brush hog, and fallow. Otherwise, it would soon be a thicket of locust trees.

Park Ranger, Rolf Gubler, described the exclusion fencing used to protect rare plants like Canadian Burnet from the huge deer herd — 100-150 deer per square mile in the Big Meadows area. Blue flags warn deer of the fencing.

This "high rise" bear den near Big Meadows housed a sow and a couple cubs a few seasons ago. The nearby trail was briefly closed.

This “high rise” bear den near Big Meadows housed a sow and a couple cubs a few seasons ago. The nearby trail was briefly closed.

This deer exclusion area protects grey birch at one of its southernmost locations in the United States.

This deer exclusion area protects grey birch at one of its southernmost locations in the United States.

Also protected are marsh marigold.

Also protected are
marsh marigold.

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