Somerset County Conservancy has construct a walking and birding trail along the western side of Somerset Lake with viewing areas at strategic locations along the trail. The trail is constructed on the uplands along the western shore to avoid disturbance of the wetlands and marsh areas. The one and one-half mile trail passes through diverse habitats including alders, hardwoods, planted spruce and pines as well as open areas creating viewing access to migrating and breeding warblers, sparrows, thrushes and orioles as well as views of the water. The addition of this trail has increased low impact access to this valuable resource and enhances the experience of the birding community and others who wish to hike through this varied woodland. The trail complements the property’s existing fishing resource and will attract considerably more visitors to one of the crown jewels of the Laurel Highlands.
The trail begins at the parking area off Wood Duck Road by the cove nearest to and just north of the Southwest Regional Headquarters Building. It follows north along the side of Wood Duck Road crossing three drainage ditches; to avoid construction in the wetlands. The trail proceeds around the curve in Wood Duck Road to a point beyond the wetlands where it turns into the forested scrub brush and continues until it meets up with the existing mowed grassy path that follows the lake edge around to the South Boat Launch. After passing the boat launch the trail enters the upland scrub forest and remains in the forest until approaching the wetland at the northern end of Wood Duck Road. At this point the trail exits the woods and follows the side of the road crossing an existing drainage culvert pipe. When clear culvert the trail reenters the woods and continues through the forest emerging at the northern Boat Launch. The trail extends beyond the boat launch on the existing grass path to the terminus.
The trail surface along the lake shore is a grass surface with an occasional marker indicating the trail direction. The trail surface in the wooded scrub forest area is course mulch like substance. The trail is intended to be a low impact, low maintenance, walking path used to observe wildlife and access the lake for fishing.
Pictures below show some of the trail construction by a few of the many volunteers that helped with the project. Clicking them opens up a full size image.