2022 Annual Meeting Field Trips

Field trips will be offered after the 2022 Annual Meeting & Program on Saturday, September 17 and will last about 3 hours. These trips are all fairly close to the venue, and could also be done by individuals at any time, such as upon a Friday arrival or on Sunday. Please ask for driving directions if you plan to go on your own.

After registering for the Annual Meeting, each attendee will be sent an email link to sign up for one of the group Field Trips since participants are limited.

Cedar Creek Trail in Natural Bridge State Park

Virginia Greene, a Restoration Projects Specialist with Virginia Natural Heritage, will lead this Field Trip or the Skyline Trail. She is also a nature illustrator with a special love for birds, and is enjoying learning more every day about Virginia’s native plants.

This is a three-quarter mile trail (out and back 1.5 miles) leading under the Natural Bridge feature and ending at Lace Falls. This is a wide, hard-packed trail along the creek, and is level except for the steep steps leading down from the visitor center. Shuttles have been arranged to bypass the steps for those who prefer that. A mix of native and invasive plants will be seen, reflecting the park’s history as a private tourist destination and efforts to restore it to native vegetation. Plants include everything from native American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) trees to a globally rare moss that grows on them. A state rare flower may also be in bloom. The hike can accommodate a large group which should also help with physical distancing.

Skyline Trail in Natural Bridge State Park

This one-mile loop has exceptional views and includes features of the park such as a children’s discovery area and the dark sky area. Management strategies for the grassland areas on the trail will be explained. The hike is a mile long and an easy trail. The trip will be limited to 12 participants.

Brushy Hills

Mary Jane Epps, Assistant Biology Professor at Mary Baldwin University and Jefferson Chapter member, will lead this field trip and will be joined by members of the Friends of Brushy Hill Preserve.

This preserve was set aside to protect the Lexington water supply and has numerous easy paths. The plant life is rich – more than 450 species have been documented. Easy to moderate walking on single file trails. The destination is about 15 miles from Natural Bridge State Park . Limit 12 participants.

Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve

Johnny Townsend, Senior Botanist with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program will lead this trip.

Set within a Department of Wildlife Resources Wildlife Management Area, Goshen Pass preserve includes the northeast facing side of the Maury River Gorge. Highlights of the trail include exemplary Central Appalachian chestnut oak forest and Central Appalachian Sycamore-River Birch Scour Woodland. This is considered a difficult trail due to rocks, roots, mud, slopes and the swinging bridge leading to the trail.

Although the trail is a loop, the guided hike will likely out and back due to its length. The destination is about 30 miles from Natural Bridge State Park. Limit 12 participants.

Sulphur Spring Trail

Butch Kelly, accompanied by his wife Betty, will lead this trip.

An out and back hike on a wooded trail between rock outcrops and a spring fed intermittent stream, the trail supports a diversity of shade loving native herbs and shrubs. The trail is in the James River Face Wilderness Area about a 10-mile drive from Natural Bridge State Park. Limit 12 participants.

Maple Flat Ponds, George Washington/Jefferson National Forest

This trip will be led by Chris Ludwig, Flora of Virginia co-author and retired Chief Biologist for Natural Heritage.

Explore the geology, ecology, and plant life of Shenandoah Valley sinkhole ponds near Stuarts Draft. These ponds support rare and disjunct plants, and are important breeding grounds for amphibians. The destination is about 50 miles from Natural Bridge State Park. Limited to 15 participants.

The walk will start at 2pm and will last 2 to 3 hours. Please bring water, wear sturdy shoes, and optional bug repellent. The walk is mostly on paths over uneven but level terrain for at least 1.5 miles.