When the weather is right, one of the most satisfying tasks at Camp Salmen Nature Park is to literally create more park for people to enjoy. This is done by clearing brush along some of our trails – by thinning out scraggly understory trees and shrubs, by eliminating invasive plants and by trimming low limbs. This opens up nice views and creates nooks and crannies for people to explore. It’s gratifying to see how the foot traffic of park visitors keeps these new areas cleared. Last spring St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, impressed with the park’s Live Oaks, even got into the act by arranging for some mechanical brush clearing to bring several specimens of this magnificent tree out of hiding.
A lot of this work has been done near the water. Beautiful Bayou Liberty, the small Goldfish Bayou tributary and the park’s wetland areas draw people’s attention, particularly adventuresome children, who just naturally have to go to the water’s edge and take a look. Check out these recently cleared areas next time you visit the park:
The downstream end of our Bayou Liberty Trail, just beyond the Salmen Lodge contains two boat slips that were heretofore obscured by brush. The first one is unique: it’s lined with concrete and is pointed at one end for a boat’s bow. It’s from the Scout Era and apparently held their motorboat and was attached to a canoe house. Next to it is a huge fallen Live Oak with its living twin next to it. Both appear to be old enough to have shaded Joseph Laurent when he built his trading post (the Salmen Lodge) in the early 1800s. Folks are now climbing all over it and getting their picture taken. The trail ends at what we call the Big Boat Slip, built by the previous landowner and now open on all three sides for the curious.
Little Goldfish Bayou is gradually emerging. It’s the park’s only tributary to the big bayou and parts of its banks near the bridge and up and downstream are now visible from different vantage points. More brush is targeted for removal here.
There is a huge clay pit on the north side of our main parking lot that has been hidden behind a screen of invasive Chinese Privet, Cherokee Rose and native Pepper Vine. Most visitors don’t realize it’s there. Because of the pit’s limited drainage it’s full of interesting wetland plants. Look for an expanse of Lizard tail blossoms this spring. It should make a pleasant welcome for people getting out of their cars on their way to a walk in the park.