The Value of a Swamp

I live near a swamp. I am surrounded on two sides by swamp actually. There is about four to six acres of swampland on the edge on my property near the creek and across the creek is National Gamelands with one of the biggest swamp areas around. The swamp is known as the Ackley Swamp and has national recognition for having wonderful wildlife and rare plants.

Living near swamps has given me an appreciation for their beauty and use. Many people feel they are just a waste of land that breed’s mosquitoes but they give a lot to the ecosystem and have a rare beauty that is breathtaking at times.

I walk my swamp a lot in the fall, spring and winter. In the summer its beautiful but the snakes enjoy it so I leave it to them!
When I do walk in the swamp I carry a gun and rope. I have never needed the gun in my swamp yet but in my Uncles swamp in Florida I did. I carry it to scare snakes away and just in case there is a rabid raccoon. I carry the rope for quicksand. I have two small patches that I know of in the swamp and the mud alone can take you shoes off in the wet season.

So what do I find so fascinating in the swamp? The vegetation. I see plants in the swamp I have never seen anywhere else. It’s just a beautiful place, particularly in the morning when the sun reflects off the creek and water and filters through the trees creating amazing shadows. I feel like I step back in time in the swamp. It’s easier to relate to the land and see it for what it is. There are also hundred year old apple trees, and foundation remain of a very old building and an old Indian trail that has been marked and runs along the creek bank.

We also have amazing birds including Blue Heron, owls and eagles. There are otters, deer and other wildlife. I am not too crazy about the Coyotes or the Raccoons but they need places to live too. As long as they leave me alone they can share the property.

TheRoger Tory Peterson wildlife Center is not too far away and they credit the Ackley Swamp with being a home to many interesting birds. It has become a important and valuable birdwatching area.

Probably what interests me the most about the swamp is I have been told by the conservation department that is was the very end of a glacier many centuries ago. That is what left the swamps in this area and the huge ravines on the other side of the property. History always catches my interest and the old trees, rare plants and fossils that lay in the swamp just emphasis it unique character and beauty.

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Denise

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