Dolph Nature Area

Difficulty: ????
Part of the SummerGame2014 Game

Dolph Nature Area is a special spot. Ann Arbor's only natural lakes, First Sister and Second Sister lakes, lie within its boundaries, and the area is a birding hotspot due to a variety of habitats.

However, the land and waters have been impacted by human activities, and we'll explore the forces (both natural and anthropogenic) that shaped the land and altered it. Before you head out, print a copy of this map or save it to a device. Start at the Wagner Road entrance.

Look for the "Welcome to Dolph Park Nature Area" sign to the RIGHT, at the start of the main trail. A concise history of land use in the area and the effects on the aging process of the two lakes can be found here. Your first code is the first name of the man the park is named after and the year the land was donated to the city.

Continue to the kiosks and benches. The signs have a lot of interesting stuff, but we're going to focus on hydrology. The left front panel of the middle kiosk ("Glaciers - Ann Arbor Takes Shape") explains how glaciers shaped the area. Your second code is the type of lakes the Sisters are (hint: it would likely be called "black" by a pot)

Move around to the back of this panel ("Lake - The Life of a Wetland"), you'll find an explanation of the process by which a lake slowly fills in over time. Your third code is the name of this aging process.

Follow the trail that runs between the kiosks. You'll drop down to a nice spot on Second Sister Lake. Continue on this trail, on top of a low ridge between the lake and a ditch, and take a right at the four-way intersection (remember this intersection!). Shortly after, the trail will head to the left (ignore the side trail to the right). You'll soon break into more open woods. A few paces farther and bear left at the Y-intersection. [If you go right by mistake, you'll soon come to a signpost pointing the way to a dock or a certain woods. Enter the name of the woods to get some bonus points.Take the trail to the left and follow this trail (be careful not to get on the side trails), until you come to three low benches. (If you get a little off-track, don't worry - you'll come to the overlook and one bench before you get to those three. Either way is OK).

Bear right, and you'll come out behind the bench at the North Slope overlook. You're on the right track when you pass through a stand of pines. Go straight through the next four-way intersection. Now it's a short climb to the North Slope overlook and your next code. Take a break at the bench with the plaque — enjoy the view of First Sister Lake. Your next code is the word that fills in the blank "A humble, generous and ______ man" from the plaque.
[If you wish to grab the bonus code from the post, take the path that starts behind the bench, bear left at the three low benches and continue straight (ignoring side paths) until you come to the post. Head right to get back to the first four-way intersection.]

Now that we're all back on the same page, return to that first 4-way intersection (see why that's important?!) & go straight. You'll exit to the parking lot. The trail you started on will be to the left. You should be next to a sign reminding visitors to clean up after their pets. Head right and look for the next trail. A small wooden post sits in the middle of this trail at its start. Immediately behind the post, you'll find a pair of pale yellow metal posts. This is one of several monitoring wells in the area, a reminder of the need to remain vigilant to protect our environment. Your final code is the well ID, painted in red, read from top to bottom.

360 SummerGame2014 point bonus when earned

This badge has been awarded to 246 players

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