What’s happening in the woods near Treetop Quest Philly in West Fairmount Park? We’re restoring the urban forest!
Chamounix Woods, a 10-acre swath of forest bound by Chamounix Drive, Ford Road, and Greenland Drive, is currently undergoing a forest restoration project, led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. The band of woodland wraps around the outside of the aerial adventure course, which opened in 2018 and a portion of Treetop Quest Philly’s revenue is helping to support this project.
While the forest features a few acres of good quality woods, including 1.5 acres of native sugar maples, the rest of the woodlands has degraded due to non-native invasive species, such as Amur cork tree, devil’s walking stick, multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet, and Japanese honeysuckle. These species don’t offer the same benefits to habitat and wildlife as native trees and shrubs.
In addition, the woodlands’ understory has very few seedlings, due to increased deer population and the overgrowth of invasive vines.
That’s why the Natural Lands team at Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy have begun efforts to reclaim Chamounix Woods and reverse this deterioration, because these woodlands have the potential to be a high quality forest that provides valuable wildlife habitat and ecosystem benefits. Here’s how it will happen:
- Work to remove invasive species is underway now through March, so at this point you might notice some trees being taken down. These felled tree trunks will then be used in another stormwater gully repair project at the site and chipped to help promote soil health.
- After that, the site will be seeded with native grasses to prevent erosion and limit takeover again of invasive plants.
- Finally, nearly 1,000 native trees will be planted on the site. The ultimate goal is for the restored forest to increase plant diversity and improve habitat for various wildlife of Fairmount Park.
Stay tuned for more updates as this forest restoration project progresses!
Photo of Chamounix Woods in June 2020 via Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.