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Wade on the Trail with his dog

LMQC’s outdoor blogger, Kaia the Samoyed (and companion to our other outdoor blogger, Teri Stickler), checks out the acquatic activity at Nahant Marsh Preserve, one of the few remaining urban wetlands in the Upper Midwest.

By Teri Stickler and her Samoyed, Kaia

Teri and Kaia cuddle up for a selfie while exploring the trails, lakes and wetlands of Nahant Marsh in West Davenport.

If you have never had the opportunity to spend some time at Nahant Marsh, Kaia and I highly recommend you come, walk, sit a spell, watch, listen and recharge your own battery. Right in the middle of the Quad Cities is a unique site, filled with trails and wildlife and beautiful in every season.

You can hike, bird watch, photograph wildlife, snowshoe, or cross-country ski on the trails. Take Highway 22 south (Rockingham Road) and turn left on Wapello Avenue. You’ll see signs for Nahant Marsh. Once there, enjoy three different trails, Woodland Loop, Marsh Trail, and East Trail. (click here for a map)

Nahant Marsh Preserve is 305 acres and is part of a 513-acre wetland, one of the last urban wetlands of its size remaining on the Upper Mississippi River. Once the historic Rockingham Village and later a sportsmen’s club, the Marsh then became an EPA Superfund Cleanup Site.

December is a great month for a nature hike

In December, we pretty much had the trails all to ourselves. Just us and the “local residents.” Home to nearly 500 different plant and mushroom types, plus mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, including several rare and endangered species. The Preserve is open daily, sunrise to sunset, but if the main gate is locked, the trails are still accessible, just park in the lot out front. There is an opening in the fence to access to the trails.

The day we came, we walked the Woodland Loop first and enjoyed the wonderful, raised Bird Blind. This generous structure is accessible via a wooden boardwalk and is well sheltered from wind, rain, and snow. From here, we quietly enjoyed the view over the marsh, but in a most non-invasive manner. What a wonderful spot to stop and spend some extra time just taking it all in. Maybe bring some binoculars to get a close and personal look over the area. Bring your camera too.

After we left the Bird Blind, we continued to the Marsh Trail and then out onto the Dock.

There is no boating, canoeing or kayaking allowed on the marsh, only the waterfowl get to swim the waters, but what a wonderful and close-up area from which to watch life around and in the marsh. Here again, as you approach the dock area, there is a lengthy boardwalk to take you there.

Understanding the importance of wetlands

Among the residents of Nahant Marsh are Animal Ambassadors like Pancake, the Spiny Softshell Turtle.

An important benefit of marshes like Nahant is that when the river overflows, the marsh will hold the excess water, thus reducing flood water causing property damage. Just as important, wetland plants trap and absorb sediments and nutrients and contain a multitude of microbes that help clean the water.

These microbes break down, absorb and transform harmful chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizer runoff. They eat dead plant material and significantly help with decomposition. Wetlands are also a welcome site to migrating birds as they offer food and shelter for the migrants.

Interested in extending your adventure? It’s just down the street.

If you’re up to doing some additional walking, take the East Trail through Sand Prairie and Bottomland Forest toward S. Concord Street. Upon your return be sure to stop in the Education Center, home to Nahant Marsh’s Animal Ambassadors. The Preserve’s Education Center offers environmental experiences to school and church groups, scouts, seniors, and nature lovers of all ages.

There are turtles, snakes, amphibians and don’t miss seeing Bob, the Three-Toed Box Turtle and Pancake, the Spiny Softshell Turtle. The Center offers a variety of environmental education programs, both on site and on-line. The facility can also be rented.

For more information about Nahant Marsh, check out their website.

Check out Teri and Kaia’s pictures from their most recent adventure …

 

By Teri Stickler and her Samoyed, Kaia

Teri and Kaia cuddle up for a selfie while exploring the trails, lakes and wetlands of Nahant Marsh in West Davenport.

If you have never had the opportunity to spend some time at Nahant Marsh, Kaia and I highly recommend you come, walk, sit a spell, watch, listen and recharge your own battery. Right in the middle of the Quad Cities is a unique site, filled with trails and wildlife and beautiful in every season.

You can hike, bird watch, photograph wildlife, snowshoe, or cross-country ski on the trails. Take Highway 22 south (Rockingham Road) and turn left on Wapello Avenue. You’ll see signs for Nahant Marsh. Once there, enjoy three different trails, Woodland Loop, Marsh Trail, and East Trail. (click here for a map)

Nahant Marsh Preserve is 305 acres and is part of a 513-acre wetland, one of the last urban wetlands of its size remaining on the Upper Mississippi River. Once the historic Rockingham Village and later a sportsmen’s club, the Marsh then became an EPA Superfund Cleanup Site.

December is a great month for a nature hike

In December, we pretty much had the trails all to ourselves. Just us and the “local residents.” Home to nearly 500 different plant and mushroom types, plus mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, including several rare and endangered species. The Preserve is open daily, sunrise to sunset, but if the main gate is locked, the trails are still accessible, just park in the lot out front. There is an opening in the fence to access to the trails.

The day we came, we walked the Woodland Loop first and enjoyed the wonderful, raised Bird Blind. This generous structure is accessible via a wooden boardwalk and is well sheltered from wind, rain, and snow. From here, we quietly enjoyed the view over the marsh, but in a most non-invasive manner. What a wonderful spot to stop and spend some extra time just taking it all in. Maybe bring some binoculars to get a close and personal look over the area. Bring your camera too.

After we left the Bird Blind, we continued to the Marsh Trail and then out onto the Dock.

There is no boating, canoeing or kayaking allowed on the marsh, only the waterfowl get to swim the waters, but what a wonderful and close-up area from which to watch life around and in the marsh. Here again, as you approach the dock area, there is a lengthy boardwalk to take you there.

Understanding the importance of wetlands

Among the residents of Nahant Marsh are Animal Ambassadors like Pancake, the Spiny Softshell Turtle.

An important benefit of marshes like Nahant is that when the river overflows, the marsh will hold the excess water, thus reducing flood water causing property damage. Just as important, wetland plants trap and absorb sediments and nutrients and contain a multitude of microbes that help clean the water.

These microbes break down, absorb and transform harmful chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizer runoff. They eat dead plant material and significantly help with decomposition. Wetlands are also a welcome site to migrating birds as they offer food and shelter for the migrants.

Interested in extending your adventure? It’s just down the street.

If you’re up to doing some additional walking, take the East Trail through Sand Prairie and Bottomland Forest toward S. Concord Street. Upon your return be sure to stop in the Education Center, home to Nahant Marsh’s Animal Ambassadors. The Preserve’s Education Center offers environmental experiences to school and church groups, scouts, seniors, and nature lovers of all ages.

There are turtles, snakes, amphibians and don’t miss seeing Bob, the Three-Toed Box Turtle and Pancake, the Spiny Softshell Turtle. The Center offers a variety of environmental education programs, both on site and on-line. The facility can also be rented.

For more information about Nahant Marsh, check out their website.

Check out Teri and Kaia’s pictures from their most recent adventure …

 

Teri Stickler

Teri Stickler

Outdoor Blogger and Co-Adventurer

Meet Teri Stickler. Teri is a retired Quad-City teacher. She thoroughly enjoys the out-of-doors, sharing most of her adventures with her Samoyed companion, Kaia.