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 TOUR > Swampmap


The map shows that the wetlands area (olive green) is next to Paris Lake on the Georgia Highlands College campus six miles from Rome Georgia, and it is fed by a stream. The Wetlands area is surrounded by open, upland grasslands as well as by groves of coniferous and deciduous trees.

There are stations at points of interest along the raised boardwalk, where you can view habitats and features of the wetlands. The approach to the boardwalk tour, clockwise around Paris Lake, is described below (click "continue" right).



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(below)

The approach around Paris Lake

On a spring or summer walk from Georgia Highlands College's lakeside pavilion (bottom right in the map) around the perimeter path of Paris Lake, you are likely to enjoy the activity of many living creatures as they tend to their seasonal business.


Small fish and turtles break the water at lake's edge, while waterfowl (both wild and domestic varieties) usher their young from place to place. You may observe swallowtail butterflies flitting amongst the grassy water's edge, mockingbirds protecting their (continues, right)



territory, and the sudden staccato chirps and flutters of an anxious killdeer mom distracting you from her nesting site.

The dirt path is marked with tunnels and throughways of busy ant colonies. Even the skeletons of dead trees show evidence of shelter to many species. A kingfisher may be perched on a dead branch, and startle you by its quick flight as it reacts to your presence.

Three species of heron, and an occasional common crane use the lake's edge as their wading buffet.

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The Dam

Stopping atop the dam (north end of the lake), your panorama is magnificent. Directly across the lake to the south is undulating Booze Mountain, named after a family, not an adult drink! Pine trees and typical mixed woodland over the rolling hills give way to patches of the inevitable kudzu.

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Look to the right and over the stand of pines, and there is Georgia Highlands College campus, dominated by the central tower, which may serenade you with singing bells from time to time.

Turning to put the lake behind you, you see the dam slope to the northeast and fan out to a beaver-modified willow swamp. In early spring yellow and white wildflowers of many varieties carpet this sweep. Yellow pollen forms sheets on the water surface in quiet corners of the lake edge. In summer, you will be tempted by the blackberry bushes with the perfect succulent, ready to drop, thumb sized berry ripe for your picking, among the yet-to-ripen red ones--and don't forget the razor sharp and curved thorns that seem to reach out and grab you!

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The boardwalk

At this point, with the lake at your back, enjoy the overview of the boardwalk. From top to bottom, your eyes will take in a beautiful sky over the tree covered Booze Mountain ridge, then homes along Cumberland Drive, then Floyd County Industrial Park and its bordering elevation (remnant of an old railroad berm).

Now let your eyes rest on the timber bridge/boardwalk that is your destination. Follow the length of the 1200-foot walkway as it steps through cattail marsh and willow swamp. Slowly walk the perimeter road as it parallels the boardwalk from above. Search the swamp for signs of beaver activity.

There are fast-running streams that you will hear, slowly meandering and seemingly still waters, and deeper ponds. There is one very large beaver lodge that should be visible from several points along your path. It is best to find it from above so that you will know where to look when you are actually on the boardwalk (continues, right).

 

The pumphouse

Another noticeable landmark is a small, old pump house that was used when the acreage was part of a farm. While you are searching with your eyes, make note of the sounds as well. The man-made sounds of traffic, industry, and even the college's bell tower mix in with the pure sounds of nature.

Many different birdcalls can be heard. Maybe you will recognize the calls of the red-winged blackbirds as they defend territory and seek mates; or the soft coos of the mourning doves, and at certain times, perhaps the bobwhite quail song.

To continue the virtual tour, first click "top" to go back to the top of the page, then click "station 1" on the TOUR menu to the right.

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