by Tom Long May 13, 2013
Many 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.