Shaded and unshaded areas of the Pumpkinvine

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One of the obvious features of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is that it has both shaded and unshaded areas. The shaded areas are where the trail is on the former railroad corridor. The railroad was built on a strip of land that was either 66 or 80 feet wide, and the railroad bed was only 10 feet wide in the center of that larger strip. Over the 100 plus years since the railroad was built, trees grew up in the areas beside the trail, resulting in the shaded areas we enjoy today.

The unshaded areas are the result of the need to leave the old  Pumpkinvine corridor and go around various farm fields because the railroad’s title to the corridor was just an easement that reverted to the adjacent landowner when the railroad abandoned the line or because the corridor split a farm field and the Friends of the Pumpkinvine decided to allow the farmer to square off their field.

The trees along the Pumpkinvine provide us with shade from summer’s sun and a windbreak all year round.

Riding the trail recently on a very windy day, I noticed a major difference in the degree to which the shaded areas blocked the wind, something I hadn’t thought about before. In areas where the trail was shaded only by the trees on the corridor, I noticed a modest decrease in the wind. But where the trail went through a forest, the protection of that mass of trees was much greater. The 20 mph wind in those areas was hardly noticeable. I wish we had more of them.