Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve Boardwalk

9995 IL-37 Cypress

The Cache River Wetlands: Illinois' Hidden Bayou/Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve Boardwalk
Southernmost Illinois
Written By Southernmost Illinois

Explore Shawnee Forest Country!

This 450-foot easy trail follows an accessible boardwalk that transports you through a primeval flooded forest of water tupelo and bald cypress. Depending on the season, pileated woodpeckers, prothonotary warblers or winter wrens may serenade your stroll, which provides a great view of the State Champion Water Tupelo. This majestic aquatic tree has an impressive circumference of 22.5 feet, and is known for its wide base that tapers into a long narrow trunk and then spreads out at the top like a crown.

Also known as the Blackgum, Sourgum, Cotton Gum, Water Gum or Swamp tupelo, it's species name, Nyssa Aquatica, was inspired by Nyssa the Greek water nymph. The word 'tupelo' means swamp tree in the Creek Indian language. The wood from the base of the tree has been used as a replacement for cork in local fishing nets, and the tree itself is beneficial to honey bees.

Along the boardwalk, a total of 10 tree species are identified. There is a kiosk with interpretive panels providing further information about each. Stop here for the perfect quick introduction to the swamp.

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The Cache River Wetlands: Illinois' Hidden Bayou

Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve Boardwalk

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