~ Erie Bluffs State Park ~
|Erie Bluffs State Park is a 540-acre Pennsylvania state park in Girard and Springfield Townships, Erie County, Pennsylvania. The park is the largest undeveloped stretch of land overlooking Lake Erie in Pennsylvania. It is one of the newest Pennsylvania state parks.|
It is therefore highly prized as an example of the wild nature that once stretched up and down the coast of Lake Erie. This 1 mile stretch of coastline is at an elevation of 636 feet. It features bluffs approximately 90 feet tall, patches of old-growth forest, rare, endangered and threatened plant species, a "world-class" steelhead fishery, a savanna ecosystem, wetlands and several archaeological sites.
Although preservation of the old growth hardwood forest was a main reason for designating Erie Bluffs for protection, many wildlife species call the bluffs home including:
80 species of birds in the park included two Bald Eagles, a cerulean and hooded warbler, and an Acadian flycatcher
a colony of more than 3,000 bank swallow found nesting in the bluffs is believed to be one of the largest colonies of bank swallows in Pennsylvania
19 species of mammals, including White-tailed deer and red and gray foxes. The mammalogists noted that they did not find any Norway rats or house mice. This is significant because both animals are alien to the area and would only be present due to development by man
4 species of bats, including the European pipistrel, little brown bat, big brown bat and the red bat
302 species of vascular plants and 92 species of fungi
Entomologists found 477 taxa of land-dwelling insects, 172 species of butterflies and moths and 32 taxa of spiders
14 different reptiles and amphibians
7 species of fish
|Same tree, different angle|
Not as calm as below
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|It was a huge limb that fell from the tree on the right|
|Beautiful Lake Erie|
|We found countless interesting rocks along the shore. My usual practice is to collect one interesting rock from each place I visit. At times I will collect a couple, one of which is always from near or in the water. The rocks shown were too large to harvest.|
|Four colors of Lake Erie|
Tan, green, aqua and deep blue
Lake Erie through the forest
~ Presque Isle State Park ~
The recorded history of Presque Isle begins with the Erielhonan, also known as the "Eriez", an Iroquoian speaking Native American tribe who gave their name to Lake Erie, and includes French, British, and American forts at various times, as well as serving as a base for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet in the War of 1812. With the growing importance of shipping on Lake Erie in the 1800s, Presque Isle became home to several lighthouses and what became a United States Coast Guard station. In 1921, it became a state park, and as of 2007 it hosts over 4 million visitors per year, the most of any Pennsylvania state park.
The Presque Isle peninsula formed on a moraine from the end of the Wisconsin Glaciation and is constantly being reshaped by waves and wind. This leads to seven ecological zones within the park, which provide a classic example of ecological succession. A National Natural Landmark since 1967, the park has been named one of the best places in the US to watch birds, and protects them in its Gull Point State Park Natural Area. The new Tom Ridge Environmental Center at the entrance to the park allows visitors to learn more about the park and its ecology. Presque Isle State Park has been chosen by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Parks for its list of "Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks". Presque Isle State Park is my favorite place to visit, when I am home.
|The photo on the left is not some eroded hoodoo cliff of the western USA, but an eroded sand pile on Presque Isle. Each year they dredge out the sands from the channel to the bay and pile it up for replenishing the beaches. It's an ongoing struggle to keep the park from disolving into the bay.|
As you can see by the photo on the right Lake Erie was in a state of calm while we were there.
Presque Isle Light from the beach
A closer look
~ Pennsyvania's Appalachian Mountains ~
|In Pennsylvania the Appalachian Mountains are flattened out and rounded by erosion showing their age (some 480 million years old) as North America's oldest mountain range. The northern end of the Blue Ridge Mountain section of the Appalachians is in Pennsylvania. These photos were taken on our drive up from Harpers Ferry.|