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Imagine the picnics and evening dances that took place here 100 years ago. A Walking Tour of the
Massassauga Point Conservation Area



An Historical, Flora and Fauna, Walking Tour
(Match the numbers below with this map)

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1.  This is the first of many historical sites of Massassauga Point. The dance pavilion built here around the time of World War I was just one of the many social activities the Point was famous for. Yachting, cricket and picnicking were also very popular.

2.  At this picnic area, looking over to Point Anne, you will see the view that made the Point such a popular place.   Steamers regularly transported visitors to the resort, where they disembarked at the Hotel dock. As you walk towards the site of the old Hotel, look for an old path and the hickory trees that once earned the resort the name of "Hickory Nut Plains".

3.  Here is the original site of the Hotel built sometime before 1879.  In 1878, half of the land was owned by the Wallbridge family and they began the era; in 1886 they sold this part to the Anderson family.  A dispute between the families resulted in the closing of the only access road and led to the end of the Point as a resort.

4. Look through the trees along the ground for various foundations likely of the outbuildings and cottages that surrounded the Hotel.  The site of the old well is also in this grove.

5.  This is one of the low areas on the Point and a small, seasonal stream runs through and empties into the Bay. Skunk Lilly late in the afternoon and starting to close. In the early spring look for lilies, violets and mosses. 
Later on, such plants as Enchanter's Nightshade, Wood Anemone, Mayapple and Buttercups can be found in abundance.  Juneberry shrubs entice songbirds and mammals to this area.  Keep an eye out for a Red-belied Woodpecker, not native to this area, as well as any number of  Tyrant Flycatchers, Woodpeckers, Squirrels and Chipmunks.

6 & 7.   The beach and shore areas surround the Point and are generally cool and dry.  The vegetation here needs abundant water and Hedge Bindweed, Canada Anemone, Gill-over-the-Ground, Eastern Cottonwood and Black Willow can be seen all around the Point.  Though it is fully exposed to wind and sun, it is used as a source of water for the animals of the Point and Northern Water snakes sun themselves here. Great Blue Herons and Mallards are also seen and Swallows often dodge the waves on windy days.

8.  A predominant area of the Point is covered by Cedar Scrub, consisting mainly of Red Cedar.  Its ability to survive in shallow soil with little moisture makes it one of the stronger strains of tree, and often crowds out the seedlings of the mature Bur Oak, Red Oak, Red Ash and European Buckthorn.  There are also a number of flowering weeds present in the spring such as Dandelions,  Mint, Hawkweed, Bedstraws and Buttercups. Look for Trout Lilies and Herb Robert
throughout the summer.  Wildlife in these areas is most diverse, from the Blue Jay and Chickadee to the White-tailed Deer and Eastern Cottontail.

 

 

9. As you come upon the deserted Quarry you will first see the marsh and the site of the old dock, where we now have a comfortable bench on which to rest while you enjout the lake vista.  Around the marsh, Eastern Cottonwood, Purple Loosestrife, Square- stemmed Monkey-Flower, Summer Grape, Sedge, Fern Ally and grasses can be found.  As you walk through the Quarry you will see that only Staghorn Sumac, Cinquefoil Species, Summer Grape and the durable Herb Robert manage to survive on the barren quarry floor.  See if you can find evidence of the Coyotes that have been known to den here. Look for tracks and other signs of this animal.
 

10. The Meadows provide food for the deer and cottontails in a variety of plants that can withstand long, dry periods. Viper's Bugloss, Hawkweeds, Yarrow, Skullcaps, Cinquefoils and Goat's Beard are types of vegetation you will see here.  Sedges can be found in marshy areas in the early spring.  The meadows also support vegetation characteristic of alvars - areas of shallow soil over limestone - though they are not technically recognized as such.  Long-plumed Purple Avens, Tall Cinquefoil, Sleepy Catchfly, Mouse Ear Chickweed and Smaller Skullcap are all indicative of alvars. We have also identified death (white) camus, snow berry, narrow leaf jersey tea and wild onions.  This is a fragile, special area and should be appreciated.
 

11. The Ash and Hickory Forest is well worth your while to go a little out of the way to see.  This low lying, wet area supports tree species such as Black Ash, Red Ash Shagbark Hickory, Bur Oak, Ironwood and Basswood.  Its seclusion from the rest of the Point helps this area to maintain its diverse plant life and some of the more unusual vegetation of the area.  Look  for Spotted Joe-pye-weed, Elecampane, White Lettuce, TrilHun:i, Wild Bergamot, Bloodroot and Pipsissewa.Hmm... Interesting little flower.  The more familiar Violets, Mints, Phlox, Dame's Rocket and Mayapple can also be found here. There is a smaller replica of this area near the shore where White Elm trees add to the variety and White-tailed Deer are common.
 

12. The Seasonal Stream found in the Ash and Shag Bark Hickory Forest travels through the Bur Oak Grove as well, carrying the winter runoff into the Bay keeping this low lying area wet throughout the growing season.
 
 

PLEASE REMEMBER:

Take nothing but pictures,

leave nothing but footprints.

DO NOT distrub the flowers!

Remember it is illegal to remove any plants from a conservation area, even if you plan to transplant them!




 

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