For a birthday treat Carrol and I visited Clark Reservation for the first time. I heard about the park from several people, and was waiting for a nice day full of spring flowers to hike around.
Clark Reservation is known for it’s plethora of fern species and hosts the largest population of American hart’s tongue fern, Asplenium scolopendrium. This rare fern and ‘Pteridomania’ have a lot to do with why this state park exists today. The fern was first discovered in the states near Clark Reservation in 1807, and since the area nearby has been the largest known population. Clark reservation is also home to a meromictic lake, a rare type of lake that does not mix annually, instead builds up a layer of carbon dioxide rich water on the bottom.
This geologic and botanic rarity of a state park was saved by Mary Clark Thompson. She bought the land in 1915 to ensure that it wouldn’t be taken over by the nearby quarry. The mining ended up destroying another habitat of the hart’s tongue fern adjancent to what is now Clark reservation. She then gave the land to the New York State Museum so it could be preserved in remembrance of her father.
What I was able to experience will keep me coming back for a long time. As always, I focus my camera on the plant life and forget to take the usual photos everyone expects to see after a visit to this visually dramatic park. Maybe when the plant life isn’t the only thing I can see I will be able to take a few of the great views of the lake.