A short hike to Cliatt Creek where participants will net critters is planned for Saturday. Savannah Riverkeeper Frank Carl will lead the walk, which begins at 10:30 a.m. from the Mistletoe State Park Nature Center.
"We will have a naturalist with us and she'll be able to identify some of the things we see along the way," said Carl, a self-described water enthusiast who loves creek walks. "We'll talk about gullies, the creek, the levy and why it's there, and the erosion problems."
Carl said the walk will take guests to the edge of Mistletoe State Park, a timberland area that was harvested about six years ago. There the harvesting process will be discussed.
"It takes about 600 years to produce a mature natural forest," said Carl, adding that hardwoods grow better in the lowlands, while pines grow faster up in the knolls.
Also included in the walk will be some talk about the lake and creek area, which previously was a cotton field.
"Up until about the 1950s, this land was used to grow cotton," he said. "The lake was started in 1951 and filled in by 1954, so before that a lot of the land around it was cotton land."
Carl said cotton can be hard on the soil because it grows low to the ground and the crop doesn't protect the soil as well as other higher-growing plants. That eventually leads to erosion of the soil. As the Savannah Riverkeeper, Carl makes every effort to emphasis the effects of soil erosion when he gets the chance.
About 15 people participated in last year's Cliatt Creek walk and Carl said this year's turnout will be a determining factor in whether the walk will be conducted again next year.
"We'll be pointing out things as we walk along and when we get down to the creek," he said. "If parents want to let their children play in the creek, they can. It's a rocky bottom, so they won't stir up mud."
Carl said participants will definitely see frogs and may even dig up a salamander or two.
The only requirement for this walk, he said, is to wear comfortable shoes that can get wet.
For information about the Cliatt Creek walk, call Carl at (706) 364-5253.
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