Boone's Cave Park event postponed until May 17

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Because of potentially bad weather this weekend,  “Your Wild Backyard” has been postponed until May 17. Call 336-752-2322 for more information.

By Paris Goodnight
Salisbury Post
Boone’s Cave Park is a place for adventure any time you’d like to visit. “Your Wild Backyard,” an event hosted by master gardeners, will highlight the native diversity that exists just beyond our backyards on May 17.
As always, you can see where legend has it that Daniel Boone used a small cave as a hideout. He was 16 when his family settled on the banks of the Yadkin River in the spring of 1750. A 1700s style cabin is on the park grounds.
Even though it’s a place to note the history of the area, new things are also going on, according to Park Ranger Sean Bloom.
Planning for construction of a new visitor center by this fall continues and efforts are under way to improve access to the Yadkin River for the Daniel Boone Country Blueway that local paddlers are organizing in conjunction with Davidson County Parks and Recreation.
A new canoe access area from the park will involve a 1,400-foot trail to the Yadkin River, with an average grade of 6 percent, which takes out some of the steep ridges you’d have to maneuver a canoe down to the water now. Bloom said a $5,000 grant from the Adopt a Trail state program would pay for the access area, which would be about halfway between a put-in point at U.S. 64 and the next one downriver at York Hill near where U.S. 29 crosses the river at the former N.C. Finishing Co. That means you could go from one access area to the next in 3-5 hours, instead of needing a 10-hour canoe trip now from one existing spot to the next.
Bloom, a Miami native, said he first saw the park on a canoe trip in 2001 while he was a student at Catawba. The 2005 graduate has been the ranger living on site since February of 2006.
Davidson County took control of the 100-acre park from the state in 2003 and cut out the vandalism and littering that had plagued it for so long. Sheila Zuccaro, the only other part-time employee of the park, said she lived close by but was scared to come to the park before the county took over.
Bloom said magic markers are about the worst vandalism they see at the park these days. He said one goal is to return as many of the trails to natural walkways as possible. “It’s more of a recreation park, but a nature park is the goal for the future,” he said. “We will consolidate a couple of trails and transfer them over to primitive trails.”
As for the wild backyard activities, plans are for Bob Pendergrass with the N.C. Falconers Guild to bring Jeremy, a red tailed hawk, Ellen Hindman to bring Zorro, a gray wolf, for a demonstration and Smokey the Bear may also make a visit. You can hear about where the animals live, what they eat and why they are important.
Salamanders, frogs, bird nests, bobcat skulls and other natural wonders will be on display to touch and see. Scavenger hunts and nature walks also will be offered. Children who complete the scavenger hunt will have the opportunity to take home wildflower seeds or seedling trees provided by the master gardeners.
With any luck, one of those seedlings could reach the height of the other highlight of any trip to Boone’s Cave: the state’s tallest cottonwood tree. When last officially measured in 1985, it was 6 feet in diameter and 154 feet tall. It’s even bigger now and just as impressive. And it’s a nice hike along the water and through wetlands to get to it.
Sponsored by Davidson County Parks and Recreation and the Davidson County Master Gardeners, the event is free and open to the public.
Staff from Dan Nicholas Park, Catawba College, Horizon’s Unlimited, Land Trust for Central North Carolina, and the N.C. Forest Service will have a variety of displays, demonstration animals and information.
Call Bloom, the park ranger, at 336-752-2322 for more information or if you’re interested in volunteer efforts at the park. Boone’s Cave Park, which is off N.C. 150 in Churchland, is open 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. seven days a week.