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Forests are fascinating places. Whole new worlds unfold to anyone who takes time to explore them. Across Cole Creek you will find a typical mixed hardwood forest. Here you can discover for yourself the many marvels in a bottomland forest which are more intriguing than you might expect. Time means little in a forest, but a 15 minute adventure along this short trail will take you through the last days of a Tupelo-Bald Cypress swamp and into the first stage of a mixed hardwood bottomland forest. Water Tupelo thrives in lowlands and swamps because it can survive with its roots completely submerged underwater. The swollen base, called a buttress, helps support the tree. Bald Cypress, another swamp lover, is easily recognized by its knees. It was once thought these knees were breathing organs but it is now believed they merely give additional support to the towering tree. As the swamp is filled, other species of trees are able to survive and reproduce. Beech, hickory, red oak, chestnut oak, ash, elm and many others comprise the mixed hardwood forest that is taking over the area. Cole Creek will always be here but as the swamp fills in and the hardwood forest becomes established the creek will be more and more limited to its banks. Someday the area will be a hardwood forest with a creek running through it, all evidence of the swamp gone.


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