Hughlett Point Hike ~ Dividing Creek ~ Chesapeake Bay
Over the winter holiday break, we took the family hiking at this preserve. Here are some pictures from our trip.
'Welcome to Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve!
NATURAL "LIVING QUARTERS"
This preserve protects 213 acres of forest, wetlands, and undeveloped beach and dunes for your observation and enjoyment. These habitats, or natural "living quarters," are home to many plants and animals representative of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
SOME SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM RESIDENTS
Birds are particularly conspicuous at Hughlett Point. Depending on the time of year, visitors may see trumpeter swans, black ducks, scoters, loons, great blue herons, and egrets, among others. Many of these birds are seasonal residents only.
A HOME FOR A RARE INSECT
Besides birds, the preserve is home to a sizeable population of the rare northeastern beach tiger beetle. You may see the adult beetle scampering over the beach at midsummer, searching the wet sand for insects and other prey.
(The diagram illustrates a) Cross-section through salt marsh. Plants typically grow where moisture levels, soil types, and nutrient availability suit them best. As you look over the marshes at Hughlett Point, notice how certain plants repeatedly occur in certain locations within the marsh. The drawing gives an indication of the range of plant types likely to occur between the bay and the forest.'
'THE CHESAPEAKE BAY
Stand outside on a rainy day. In much of Virginia, the water you see flowing along the curb, ditch, or stream is making its way to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Chesapeake Bay is one of the world's most productive and diverse estuaries -- over 2700 types of plants and animals live in the bay and along its shoreline. This abundant life is dependent on the ground and surface water running from the woods, farms, homes, and businesses of the 13 million people who live in the drainage area of the bay.
The 64,000 square mile area drained by the bay includes parts of six states. As water flows over this land, it picks up sediment, organic matter, and dissolved chemicals. When this fresh water mixture meets the salt water of the bay, the resulting "nutrient soup" nourishes life of all kinds.
Unfortunately, the "soup" is sometimes too rich. When excess fertilizer reaches the bay, it becomes "fat" with algae. Once-clear waters become brown, cloudy, and oxygen poor. all kinds of aquatic life, including fish and shellfish, are harmed by these nutrients.
As property owners in the bay drainage, we can work to reduce pollution and restore habitat. The Chesapeake Regional Information Service (1-800-662-2747) can provide helpful suggestions.'
'Jessie Ball duPont (1884-1970)
Well known for her contributions to this area of Virginia, Jessie Ball duPont (nee Jessie Dew Ball) was born on Ball family property about one mile north of Hughlett Point.
She was the first teacher at Shiloh School in Northumberland County. The schoolhouse where she taught, located about two miles north of the preserve, still stands at the intersection of State Routes 605 and 606.
After becoming the third wife of Alfred I. duPont in 1921, Mrs. duPont made generous financial contributions to area churches, and provided college scholarships for promising local students. She also gave to many colleges and universities, particularly Washington & Lee, and the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennesse.
Mrs. duPont was also an early supporter of historic preservation. Through her efforts, Ditchley, the Ball family home constructed in 1752, was restored. This building still stands on property southwest of Dividing Creek, approximately eleven miles from this preserve.
A salt marsh meadow...
and a great beach!
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Bruce & Jill Anderson
Copyright 2002, Bruce & Jill Anderson