On todays episode of our outdoor family adventures, we ventured out to Camp Newaygo’s Wetland Trail!
Nestled in Camp Newaygo, the Wetland Trail is the only one of its kind in Michigan. What makes this so unique is that the one-mile round-trip trail crosses through the heart of a 10-acre sphagnum bog.
What is a sphagnum bog? In most Northern Hemisphere peatlands, Sphagnum is the primary peat forming moss species. Sphagnum has a very interesting physiology – not only can it hold around 20 times its own weight in water, acting as a sponge, but it actively engineers an environment in which it thrives while making conditions difficult for other plants to outcompete it (Amesbury).
Because of the wet, acidic conditions that Sphagnum plays its own part in creating, moss accumulates very gradually over time because dead plants do not decay fully and are gradually overgrown by new growth. On average, Sphagnum peat may accumulate at a rate of around 10 years per centimeter (.39 inches), meaning that today, a bog that began its life at the end of the last ice age might be 10,000 years old and over 10 meters (approx. 33 feet) deep! (Amesbury)
Now that we’ve had our science lesson for the day, let’s talk about the trail! The trail is a wonderful mix of trail and boardwalk. The boardwalk allows you to explore the bogs without ever getting your feet wet! It’s incredible you can experience and explore bogs this close! AND, let’s talk about these views!
Although this trail may be on the shorter side, it is perfect for those looking for a short hike with a beautiful view! It’s a trail everyone living in or visiting Newaygo County should experience at least once.
Bogs are such a wonderful way to introduce children to the diverse environment around them. Their little brains are like sponges, soaking up everything around them. Nature is something, in my opinion, we ALL need more of. I strongly feel like Newaygo County has so many unique places to explore and learn from! There’s no better way to learn than to experience these places in real life. From wetlands to bogs, incredible river systems to prairies, Newaygo County is breathtaking.
Get out and enjoy the great outdoors!
*I am not an expert on bogs, but this man is! I found a ton of great information and resources used this blog from here if you want to learn more:
Amesbury, M. (2013, December 5). Sphagnum MOSS: Bog Plant extraordinaire! Bogology.