Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Mushroom Walk at Herrontown Woods, Sunday, Sept. 25

Update: Not many mushrooms today, given the dry weather, but Philip will talk about mushrooms nonetheless, and there's plenty of other things to see at Herrontown Woods.

Come one, come all to the merry mushroom walk this Sunday, Sept. 25, at 2pm, co-led by mushroom expert Philip Poniz and naturalist Steve Hiltner. For safety's sake, we'll be digesting the names and stories of any mushrooms encountered, not the mushrooms themselves. We're hoping the mushrooms will rise to the occasion, and yesterday's rain should help. But if they are few, the walk will be more generally about the natural and historic splendor of Herrontown Woods.

Afterwards, there will be light refreshments on the Veblen House grounds.

The walk is free, though donations large and small are welcome to support restoration of the natural and cultural heritage of Herrontown Woods, Princeton's first nature preserve.

Meet at the Herrontown Woods parking lot, across Snowden Lane from Smoyer Park. Maps can be found at http://www.fohw.org/p/maps. html.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Herrontown Woods Gets a New Sign!

Thanks to friend of the preserve, Timothy Andrews, who posted on the Friends of Herrontown Woods facebook page about the decaying preserve sign at the preserve entry on Snowden Lane. He ultimately contacted the county and asked them to replace the sign. He got quick action as a new sign appeared within days, with an attractive font declaring, simply "HERRONTOWN WOODS ARBORETUM."

Some of us on the FOHW board noticed that the sign wasn't visible from one side,

thus commencing a How-many-board-members-does-it-take-to-cut-back-foliage episode, which had a happy ending.

The old sign may well have dated back to the Veblens' original donation of the first 80 acres back in 1957.

It looked a little better on the side less exposed to the elements, but the replacement was greatly needed. That the county is not mentioned on the new sign may relate to the likely transfer of the park to Princeton municipality at some future point.

The "Arboretum" portion of the name dates back to the beginning, though the now 140 acre preserve lacks any traditional cultivation of trees. A stand of white pines planted in Veblen's time near the parking lot has largely been blown down by storms. Any trees that have been planted by our Friends group are native, and are intended to blend into the natural setting rather than be shown off as specimens. Examples are butternuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts and pawpaws planted near the Veblen House.

Thanks again to Timothy for his initiative and the county for their response.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

New, Simplified Color Coding for Herrontown Trails

One longterm goal of the Friends of Herrontown Woods, as it continues to care for both Herrontown Woods and Autumn Hill Reservation, has been to simplify the color coding for trails. As of September, 2016, we now have a fully marked red trail that begins and ends at the main parking lot, and a yellow inner loop that branches off the red trail and features lovely views of the stream, boulder field, and historic quarry sites. The blue trail is now limited to the north side of the pipeline right of way. For those winter and spring seasons when the soil is saturated with water (good for the watershed, not so great for hiking), a trail marked with red and white signs will now provide a way to bypass the wettest parts of the red trail. The red, yellow, blue, and red/white trails are now fully marked. Short connector trails have white markers, and a couple have been closed off to simplify the trail system.

The map below illustrates the changes.

We aim for clarity without becoming too intrusive with signage. Markers vary in height, so when you reach an intersection, give a good look around to figure out which way to go next.

Enjoy the trails, and contact us with any feedback.