I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this gem in our own “backyard” for so long! Blackbird State Forest is comprised of 9 tracts, totaling 5,400 acres! Since there are so many distinct areas, I’m going to cover each tract separately.
|The big pond|
A few tips to navigate this tract:
1) Visit this site, select the tract you’d like to visit and PRINT THE MAP! The trails at the Meadows Tract are wide and clear, but they are NOT marked. They criss-cross each other frequently so it can be easy to get “lost” and end up needing to walk farther than you were prepared for. Some of the trails make a nice loop, so I would suggest highlighting your planned route on your printout and referencing it frequently during your hike.
2) I’m not sure if you will be able to find an address for GPS purposes to locate the parking areas for each tract. I will do my best to get that info for you to make it easier for you to get there. A good address to use for the Meadows Tract is: 90 Cedar Brae Lane Townsend, DE
This tract offers some cool features including (but not limited to):
- A picnic pavilion- D is ALWAYS asking to have a picnic, next time we will have to take lunch or dinner with us!
- Two ponds- Bring your fishing gear for catch and release!
- Beautiful meadows- PERFECT location for gorgeous family photos!
- Wide open lawn areas- Maybe have a birthday party here and play football?
Grammy (my mom) accompanied us on this adventure and she’s always up for anything outdoorsy, where do you think I got it from?? We brought a few of our nature toys along this time as well and put them to good use. A bucket (duh!), magnifying glasses and an insect collection container were the necessities for this trip and our mission was to collect and observe as many different types of insects as we could find. This calls for some log flipping!
I have been waiting all winter to share this activity with you all, and I couldn’t wait any longer! The concept is simple and anyone can do it, even in your own yard. All you have to do is find a log or rock, lift it up and see who’s living under it and gently place it back where you found it when you’re done. At home, you can even “plant” rocks in your flower beds for this purpose. Most commonly, you will find ants, worms, beetles, centipedes and pill bugs (aka roly polys) but in the right environment you could find salamanders, toads or snakes.
As we walked in from the parking area, we first came to a large pond where we heard Northern Cricket Frogs clicking tentatively around the water. From there, we followed the trail in to the forest where we came upon a meadow filled with yellow flowers. There were small white butterflies flitting around from flower to flower and D assigned Grammy to the task of capturing one. Of course, this was easier said than done so he settled for a grasshopper as the first catch. This meadow would be the perfect spot to take photos of your kids right now!
We probably could have spent an hour here just playing in the flowers, but we decided to move on so we could flip some logs and see what else was here. D released his grasshopper along the way and it’s spot was quickly taken by a stunning tiger beetle that we happened upon.
When flipping logs, try to find ones that aren’t heavily rotting because they tend to fall apart when you try to move them. Keep an eye out for poison ivy since you will likely be going off the path a little bit, and remember to always do a tick check when you get home. Happy flipping!
Meadows Tract scavenger hunt, if you choose to accept:
1) Triangle Rock
2) The smaller pond
3) A tree in the middle of two trails
4) A violet
4) A patch of moss big enough to lay on