Pickering Creek Debuts New Trail

At its Pig Roast fundraiser recently, Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton debuted the first trail loop in the new woods it acquired last fall. Thanks to the generosity of many community members, the Center was able to purchase 63 acres of woods adjacent to its main campus in September 2022.

Over the course of the past year, staff and stakeholders have enjoyed free form walks in the new woods as they considered potential trails and highlights along those trails. The first result of that effort is the New Woods Loop. The loop begins at the conclusion of one of the Center’s wetlands boardwalks, following a path along the wooded shoreline overlooking the head of Pickering Creek. After a short walk, one enters the new woods, dominated by mature Oaks, Tulip Poplar, Beech and Hickory.

The first stop along the walk is Barred Owl Circle, which features a delightful set of benches built by the Center’s volunteer crew. Arranged in a natural clearing in the woods, it provides a wonderful place to rest and contemplate the quiet all around. Aptly named for the regularity of resident Barred Owls calling “Who cooks for you, who cooks for y’all,” summer EcoCamp groups enjoyed this location all summer as one of their starting points for exploration of the new woods.

The first stop along the New Woods Loop is Barred Owl Circle, which features a delightful set of benches built by the Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s volunteer crew.

Camp groups began exploring the new woods with their group leaders this summer, and it quickly became the most popular place that campers wanted to go. They have adopted their own name for it, Echo Woods Circle, because of the interesting echo of voices that occurs as sound bounces across the creek and back. The circle is slightly short of the halfway point of the walk.

The trail continues and casually meanders amongst big trees and runs alongside a wooded wetland. A small bridge crosses a seasonal stream as the trail curls left beneath towering Tulip Poplars. From here, one enters a grove of American Holly before exiting the woods into the Center’s meadow. The trail links up with the Center’s next newest trail, the Meadow Loop. Continue on from here for further adventure through the meadow and onto the meadow viewing platform or head toward the farm pond and back to the parking lot.

“I’ve seen something new every time I have taken this walk,” says Pickering Board President Tom Sanders. This is the first of several trails that will enable community members to explore the woods over the next few years. Debut of the next section of trail is planned for mid 2024.

The trail is three quarters of a mile long from the parking lot, through the woods and back along the meadow trail to the parking lot. Allow 40 minutes for the walk depending on how much time is spent enjoying the sites. During the winter months, Pickering is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.pickeringcreek.org to register for a guided walk in the new woods.

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