|1999||Clarke County||Piedmont Chapter|
Calmes Neck Bluffs is the first VNPS Registry Site with multiple ownership. It features bluffs, slopes and ravines along the Shenandoah River. The rich mesic forest is home to a spectacular diversity of spring wildflowers such as Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) that carpet the forest floor. Throughout the season several rare and unusual plant species can be seen.
From the May, 1999 edition of the VNPS Bulletin:
At the recommendation of the Piedmont Chapter, the VNPS has recently added Calmes Neck Bluffs, in Clarke County, to the state registry of outstanding sites. The site is the first listing with multiple ownership. The leading owner, Fran Endicott, is a longtime member of the chapter who has often opened her property for field trips. Calmes Neck Bluffs features bluffs, slopes, and ravines along the Shenandoah River. Two outstanding natural communities which occur here have been inventoried, with at least eight rare or unusual plant species, including sweet-scented Indian-plantain (Cacalia suaveolens), spreading rock cress (Arabis patens) and riverbank goldenrod (Solidago rupestris). The rich, mesic slope forest is home to a spectacular diversity of spring wildflowers, including harbinger-of-spring (Erigenia bulbosa), twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla), dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne), Dutchman’s breeches and squirrel corn (Dicentra spp.) and expanses of Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). The dry-mesic forest has a very high species richness of woody plants and specialized, rock-inhabiting herbaceous species.
While other areas of Calmes Neck have been developed for residential and agricultural use, much of the portion under registry is relatively undisturbed. The Piedmont Chapter is fortunate in having a member like Fran who is enthusiastic about the natural resources of her property. She is also an expert birder, active with her chapter of the Audubon Society. VNPS is happy to have a chapter which has now registered three of our 13 statewide sites.