Thursday, November 2, 2017

Take a Fall Adventure!

The leaves are falling, the air is crisp, and fall is here. It's the perfect time to get out and explore all the awesome trails that run through Portland! Whether you walk, run, or bike, take some time before the snow falls to enjoy Portland's natural resources.

While you're out exploring, take note of all the amazing trees and vegetation you come across. You may not realize it, but did you know forests play an important role in protecting our water? Here's a few reasons how:

  1. Trees and other vegetation collect and filter rainwater and melted snow, acting like a sponge and keeping pollutants out of our waterways. When rain or snow fall on hard surfaces, such as roads or sidewalks, it cannot soak into the ground and causes what is called "stormwater runoff." As stormwater runoff makes its way across the land, it picks up pollutants and wash them directly into our waterways. Forests can act as a buffer, collecting and filtering the polluted runoff before it flows into our rivers, lakes, and streams.
  2. Forests help replenish our groundwater supply. Groundwater is essential! Households on wells get their tap water from groundwater. Our groundwater also adds water to our streams during the dry, summer months, and plants  drink up water from the ground when they are thirsty.
  3. Forests help to hold soil in place, keeping it out of our waterways. Soil is the number one freshwater pollutant here in Maine. Roots from trees and other vegetation hold the soil in place, and prevent erosion from occurring.
  4.  Trees help to keep water temperatures cool by providing shade. This is important for certain critters that live in the water, like trout or salmon who need cool water to lay their eggs.
Pretty cool, huh? It's one of the many reasons we love our forests and you should too! Need help finding a trail to explore? Check out Portland Trails for information on 70 miles of trails and green space in Portland.

Evergreen Cemetery is a wonderful spot to enjoy a walk in the woods!
Photo credit: Corey Templeton