It’s the last day of Thanksgiving freedom, so I decided that a bit more exploring was in order. I decided to visit the new Lake Conestee Nature Park recently created by Upstate Forever.
It was challenging finding the public access at first. One map showed access points both behind the old Municipal Stadium and at the dam. These, however, were not to be found. I drove through some very questionable neighborhoods around the lake. Some of these had more square footage in blow-up Christmas decorations than actual housing.
Finally I found the access on the other side of the lake on Henderson Avenue, off of Fork Shoals Road. The parking lot was small, but jam-packed. It seems lots of people wanted to check out the park on this lovely day.
The trail started through a pine forest, then reached a wetlands area at the upper end of the lake. A boardwalk crossed the wetlands to the banks of the Reedy River. This area reminded me very much of the silted upper portions of our own lake right behind our house.
It was interesting to see how close the stadium is to the banks of the river. I think of all those ball games I attended with this right behind, and I never knew it.
This portions of the trail continues along the banks of the Reedy and through the flood plain created by the wetlands. I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t cleaned up dumping that has occured through the years, if they have a current problem with people still dumping, or if stuff has washed down the river into the floodplain. Regardless, there was a ton of trash along the trail. I hope something can be done about the problem.
I encountered several birders along the trail. I also encountered a couple of groups that were unclear on the concept of a nature trail. These groups shouted across the trails loudly to each other. Even the parents didn’t serve as role models, also shouting at each other. One group seemed to be camped out into on of the boardwalks. I waited for them to clear out, then finally had to ask if they would let me pass. Of course, the sound of gunfire from a local range and the roaring racecar engines from the local neighborhood precluded seeing any wildlife, even if the rude people hadn’t been around.
There was a nice overlook that looked out over several beaver ponds. These were on multiple levels, flowing downwards toward the river. I continued on around to another extensive set of boardwalks, then made it back to the car.
Conclusion – apart from the open beaver ponds, the area really did seem like the space behind my house. I’d like to visit either early morning or in the evening to see what wildlife really comes out. I will also be interesting to see what plans they have for future development. I’m really pleased to see that efforts are being made to reclaim the area, even if it isn’t perfect yet.
[tags]Lake Conestee, Upstate Forever, conservation[/tags]