From the Director’s Desk: Trails at Landis

By Fred Breglia

Many peo­ple love Lan­dis for its col­lec­tions, class­es, and events, but it is nev­er too late to appre­ci­ate its many hik­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties too. Lan­dis has 10 dis­tinct trails on its prop­er­ty, each high­light­ing a dif­fer­ent facet of the Arboretum. 

The first trail you see upon arrival at the main (low­er) park­ing lot is the Lape Trail. This trail is fond­ly named after Lan­dis’ founder Fred Lape and takes you through the col­lec­tions of beech, wil­low, conifer, maple, oak, lilac, and crabap­ple. Each spec­i­men is labeled, and addi­tion­al sig­nage high­lights insight­ful facts about the plants and habi­tat. One can eas­i­ly spend a few hours leisure­ly walk­ing the Lape Trail, enjoy­ing the many views and immers­ing one­self in nature. While on the trail, wan­der into the unique Choice Conifer” and Pine­tum sec­tions, which include sev­er­al orig­i­nal Lape plant­i­ngs, as well as the fenced Rhodo­den­dron Col­lec­tion. These areas are spec­tac­u­lar for view­ing the less com­mon plants avail­able in today’s hor­ti­cul­tur­al indus­try. Many were plant­ed by Lape in the 1950’s.

Across from the Lape Trail at its far end is the Pio­neer Trail. This trail is named because of all the pio­neer species –species that are the first to col­o­nize a dis­rupt­ed or dam­aged ecosys­tem — that can be found along its entire route. The trail is a favorite of bird­ers who appre­ci­ate the diver­si­ty of birds that can be found in the sur­round­ing habi­tat of fields, bram­bles, and younger trees.

Con­nect­ing to the Pio­neer Trail is the Wood­land Trail, which mean­ders through the small­er of Lan­dis’ two old growth for­est plots. This ¾‑mile trail is a vis­i­tor favorite due to its intact ancient ecosys­tem as well as its acces­si­bil­i­ty to Meet­ing House park­ing. You can eas­i­ly con­tin­ue along the Wood­land Trail to the Big Red Oak and the deceased Great Oak. The trail affords the vis­i­tor a scenic view of the Schoharie Valley.

Just beyond the two oaks is the Acorn Trail. The Acorn Trail is a half-mile long and is home to many young oaks that drop thou­sands of acorns, giv­ing the trail its name. Many vis­i­tors uti­lize this trail as a con­nec­tor from the Wood­land Trail to either the Ancient For­est, the Native Plant Col­lec­tion, or the Bass Woodland.

The Bass Wood­land is about 50 acres of man­aged land donat­ed to Lan­dis. Just over a mile in length, the trail is a mean­der­ing series of loops that leads vis­i­tors through an exem­plary stand of man­aged oak and maple hard­woods. The Bass Trail is giv­en a mod­er­ate dif­fi­cul­ty” rating.

The Native Plant trail com­pris­es almost every plant native to New York State and is orga­nized by fam­i­ly to edu­cate and assist vis­i­tors in plant iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. The col­lec­tions and trail were cre­at­ed and are cur­rent­ly main­tained by its cura­tor, Ed Miller. The trail even­tu­al­ly will lead you back towards the main grounds of Lan­dis, but not before tak­ing you through its newest fea­ture, Nan’s Ferns.” This fab­u­lous fern col­lec­tion is home to twen­ty of New York’s native ferns, and each one is labeled. With­in feet of this col­lec­tion is the Musi­cal Bridge,” where some recy­cled PVC pipe and a pair of flip flops have been trans­formed into an expres­sive instrument!

If your quest for adven­ture includes more dif­fi­cult trails through more remote loca­tions, a 4+ mile hike round trip hike from the low­er park­ing lot will lead you to the Ancient For­est trail. Its topog­ra­phy is only suit­able for the expe­ri­enced hik­er. The trail offers infor­mal edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties through QR-cod­ed sig­nage. It is not uncom­mon to encounter deer, owls, and hawks.

The Ancient For­est trail spurs off at its low­est point, which is the begin­ning of Lan­dis’ newest trail, the Water­fall Trail. This 2+ mile out-and-back trail (includ­ing the Ancient For­est Trail, it’s about 7 miles out and back from the low­er park­ing lot) will even­tu­al­ly lead vis­i­tors to the high­est ele­va­tion at Lan­dis. The Water­fall Trail is apt­ly named because of the dupli­cate falls that flow dur­ing the wettest times of the year. It is con­sid­ered our most dif­fi­cult hike, and hik­ing boots are strong­ly rec­om­mend­ed. This hike can be made a few miles short­er by walk­ing back down Lape Road to the low­er park­ing and your vehi­cle instead of backtracking.

From easy fam­i­ly-friend­ly hikes to more chal­leng­ing hikes, Lan­dis has some­thing to offer any nature lover. More expe­ri­enced hik­ers can link our trails togeth­er for a 10+ mile ALL DAY expe­ri­ence. Maps are avail­able in the park­ing lot kiosk and in the Wel­come Cen­ter at the Farmhouse.

Hap­py Trails!

Summer 2017

Volume 35 , Number 3

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