Haskell Run Trail
National Park Service
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Boston Heights, Ohio (Summit County)
Park at the Happy Days Visitor Center lot on State Route 303, just west of Route 8, several miles east of Peninsula, Ohio.
Length: 0.5 miles.
Duration: 1 hour.
Accessibility: no (stairs, steep slope)
Long Spurred Violet
The Haskell Run Trail is a short loop trail directly behing Happy Days Visitor Center. The trail is accessed from either the southeast corner of the visitor center parking lot, or from the northwest corner of the front lawn of Happy Days. As you descend from the ridge to the stream valley, you will see that the floodplain is sprinkled with small wetlands dominated by the large green leaves of skunk cabbage. Along withthe skink cabbage, you may see marsh marigold nestled in these wetlands. On drier land above the cool stream you will find spring ephemeral wildflowers such as rue anemone.
These wildflowers are called spring ephemerals because they appear early in the season, take advantage of the sunlight befoer the other native plants begin to shade the forest floor, then wither away when the forest darkens with the coming of spring's tree leaves. These flowers are adapted to exploit resources that are going unused for that small window of sping from March through mid-May when all else is still nestled in winter's slumbering grip.
As you hike along the nature trail, you will also see a number of other wildflowers such as the long-spurred violet. This pale purple flower is easily recognized. Can you guess what the distinguidhing characteristic of the long-spurred violet is? Take a look at the picture to the left. See that long spur sticking upo behind the largest violet? That spur is part of the flower and is of course why it is called the long-spurred violet. While the people who name plants can't often be accused of creativity, they at least make it easy for us to remember some of the more common flowers.
You may notice as you hike along the trail that large areas of the slope have slid into the stream and a number of trees have fallen over. This is from the flooding of August 2003. While this may look like a disaster to us now, the slumping of the slopes and the falling of trees is part of the natural cycle of the area. Periodic episodes such as floods are a blink of the eye to nature. Thinks change then things change yet again in the forest and along streams. The ecosystem will adjust and recover. Look at it as an opportunity to see how the ecosystem progresses after such an event.
Keep dogs on leash at all times.