Serpentine Outcrops - Significant Natural Communities

Has anyone made a trip out to the Serpentine Outcrops in North-Central VT?

I see that Brown's Ledges is owned by the Nature Conservancy, but I can't seem to find any info on a trail or access. The only map I've found with a trail shown is an older USGS Topo Map.

Are there any other trails that are easier to access so that I can go and see this natural community?
(I'd like to avoid going to the large outcrop shown near the asbestos mine for obvious reasons)

References:
https://www.topoquest.com/map.php?lat=44.83088&lon=-72.45455&datum=nad83&zoom=4&cross=on

https://www.nature.org/content/dam/tnc/nature/en/documents/landshuntingvt.pdf

https://trailsnh.com/hike/n/356552670/Browns-Ledges-VT

Publicado el 26 de julio de 2023 a las 05:59 PM por micholoko micholoko

Comentarios

I'm not familiar with this area but I believe @cgbb2004 is.

Anotado por trscavo hace 9 meses

I've been there but only years ago with three other people. We were scouting it for a potential Botanical and Bird Club field trip but decided that because the access wasn't easy, it wasn't suitable for that field trip. As I recall, we parked near a farm, and while it wasn't total bushwacking getting out there, as mentioned, it wasn't easy. I do think the Hardy Plant Club might have taken a trip out there five or six years ago -- as I recall Everett Marshall and Deb Parella went on that trip.

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

@everett -- any helpful information on this? (though I think Everett doesn't often get on iNat, so we might not hear from him....)

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

I have never been to Brown's Ledges, but I have visited serpentine ledges in southeastern Vermont (on private land), and found some very interesting and unusual plant communities there. If you would consider making this a group expedition, I would enjoy tagging along. I don't have any trail maps for Brown's Ledges, but I am always up for bushwhacking.

Anotado por tsn hace 9 meses

OK -- I just now looked at Google Earth and am reminded that our access was through Butterworks Farm in Lowell. We chatted with the folks at the farm and with their permission drove south through their field to the edge of the woods and then hiked through the woods from there to the ledges. Guess it wasn't that far or that hard, but I don't remember any kind of trail. Of course, that was many years ago, so maybe there's a trail now.

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

@ tsn I think a group expedition would be great! More the merrier. I was thinking about going in the next couple weeks, potentially the weekend of August 5-6 or 12-13, if one of those works?

Anotado por micholoko hace 9 meses

I am available all day on Aug. 5, though I won't have a car that day, so would need a ride. The other days you listed are not so good for me. If you end up choosing a different day, I'll understand.

Anotado por tsn hace 9 meses

I will love to experience your trip vicariously by seeing your photos on iNat!
(Two full seasons camping off-trail for the week and buildiing waterbars, stone steps, etc, for Long Trail Patrol in 1980 and 1981 brought me into the woods, but knee and hip issues keep me off uneven ground these days. Can't quite face idea of surgery...)
Anyway, I'm "following" all of you in this thread so far, so I'll look forward to photos!
Charlotte

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

I'd like to go too but there doesn't seem to be enough known about this place to make a successful field trip. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know.

Anotado por trscavo hace 9 meses

When I was there in the Brown's Ledges area on that scouting trip (I did more digging and see it wasn't that long ago -- 2007), we rambled around up there but didn't really find "the serpentine natural community." Did find a turkey nest, complete with at least a dozen eggs....

The 1989 Hardy Plant Club trip I went on with Art Gilman to the old asbestos mine accessed the mine from Mine Road in Eden, but that's a private road now. However, I do know that other botanists access the mine from Shover Road/Town Highway 21 in Eden. They drive as far as it's drive-able then walk the rest of the way, maybe one half or 3/4 mile? Not sure, I've never gone in that way, so I don't know what the signage is there, but whatever it is (or isn't) I do know botanists go in that way. (I think if signage is there, it's mainly to limit property-owner liability. I believe ATVs make regular use of the old mine roads....)

As for the asbestos, there are two classes, and the one from the Eden mine is less hazardous than the other. The mine (Ruberoid Corporation) was active when I was growing up in Lamoille County, and people used to get crushed stone from the mine for their driveways, including my doctor-dad. As kids, my siblings and I played with little trucks and cars in that stone. And, in the face of local oppostion, the EPA backed down from their plan to designate the place a Superfund site. "The vote at Town Meeting in March 2012 in both Eden and Lowell was conclusive. Both towns voted against a Superfund site by substantial majority" (http://www.edenvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-Eden-Town-Plan-Adopted-Confirmed-1-23-18.pdf).

For more history, also see:

https://www.wcax.com/2022/08/13/brief-history-belvidere-asbestos-mine/
https://www.vtcng.com/stowe_reporter/news/local_news/eden-mine-eligible-for-superfund/article_2d6a91e4-052b-591c-b158-c1e0400d22bb.html
https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/mine-your-own-business-two-towns-weigh-the-pros-and-cons-of-superfund-listing/Content?oid=2183658

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

@cgbb2004 thanks for the info!! My main worry is wind kicking up dust and particulates associated with the tailings from the mine, but maybe i’m being overly cautious?

If it is widely used and known, I am willing to check out the access used by other botanists by the mine.

Anotado por micholoko hace 9 meses

@tsn let’s plan for August 5! I can definitely offer a ride.

I’m willing to give the access used by other naturalists by the mine a try, the larger outcrop might prove to be a better example of the community.

Anotado por micholoko hace 9 meses

@micholoko -- not widely known and used because I believe signage is probably discouraging, but I do know that people with botanical interests visit the area, again, though, rarely. One botanist in particular (well-known in plant circles, though I can't mention his name here) has rambled around up there for years without any negative health effects. I think the issue to discourage visiting is more the question of venturing on private property (without permission?) than with potential negative health effects....

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

@cgbb2004 Awesome! I especially want to see the Green Mountain Maidenhair Fern!

I am mainly going off of the mapping done on the ANR Atlas.

Here is a couple screen grabs from the ANR Atlas:
https://imgur.com/a/NY3SJnc

^ Is this the one you're talking about?

Anotado por micholoko hace 9 meses

Yup -- that's the place:
https://imgur.com/a/JJ7ludR
The green marker indicates an observation seen from the Shover Road/Town Highway access.
The red marker indicates a plant seen on 1989 trip from Mines Road access (right by a house and now marked Private).
There's a lot of Adiantum viridimontanum up there.
(Let me know if you can open the link to a photo? I've never used imgur before, so this is my first attempt....)

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

I'm able to see it! Thanks, I'll try to do more digging!

Anotado por micholoko hace 9 meses

@micholoko -- thanks for letting me know the link to the image works! What a handy app :-)
I just now read whole thread to husband (another local like me for decades). His comment: "You don't have to worry about dust this year!"

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

@cgbb2004 That is very true! With all the rain :) thanks!

Anotado por micholoko hace 9 meses

:-)

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

I’m not a candidate for a Brown’s Ledges or old-asbestos-mine, serpentine-habitat field trip, but Tom @tsn and I have corresponded about possibly starting the day at a small, easily-accessed, serpentine “micro-habitat” where I photographed Adiantum viridimontanum in 2019: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28199564

I’m leaving it to Tom to coordinate our possible meeting August 5.

For those who might go to Brown’s Ledges or the old-asbestos-mine, I also have some thoughts/information:

1) Yesterday, my husband and I took a quick drive over to Eden and checked out the Shover Road/Town Highway 21 access to the old asbestos mine. We drove ~2 miles on town-maintained road to the snowplow turnaround and then another mile to the large, sandy turnaround, where the road turns into an ATV trail (which clearly has seen a lot of ATV traffic). That last mile by vehicle is eroded and rough, but we did OK in our Rav. I do NOT recommend it for a car with less clearance.

At the point where the ATV trail starts, I saw no signage prohibiting further access (it is an old town road, after all). Google Earth shows it to be just about half a mile to the edge of the old mine.

With all the rain we’ve had, there were big pools of standing water at the start of the ATV trail and probably a lot more pools requiring walk-arounds over that half mile to the mine. There were also a lot of deer flies!

2) Re Brown’s Ledges: if not a call or email to the Nature Conservancy, might contacting Butterworks Farm provide information on access? http://butterworksfarm.com/contact/

Staying tuned....

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

Great ideas, Charlotte, and thanks to you and your husband for doing a scouting trip! I like the idea of starting the day with a "warm-up" stop at a smaller, easily-accessible serpentine location. Michael, I will contact you separately to work out car-pool logistics and timing, then will circle back to Charlotte.

Anotado por tsn hace 9 meses

@cgbb2004 and @tsn - Thank you for making this outing a successful one! I learned a lot and had a ton of fun.

Plenty of other wonderful places in VT to visit, let's do it again soon!

Anotado por micholoko hace 9 meses

Agreed! Thanks to you and Nate too.

Anotado por tsn hace 9 meses

I second that! I had such a good time introducing you folks to the north country (well Nate already knows it :-). Anyway, I will be up for at least a "warm-up" outing and perhaps even see my way clear to just a bit of a walk -- I'm always OK heading back by myself in the woods if the going gets too rough. It looks like you guys had a fabulous afternoon exploring, and I am loving seeing all your observations!
Cheers!
Charlotte

Anotado por cgbb2004 hace 9 meses

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