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West Branch Nature Preserve
This 91 acre nature preserve contains one of the most important wetlands in Mecklenburg County. The preserve was purchased in October, 2008 and is home to a diverse array of amphibians and uncommon plants.

Location and Directions
West Branch Nature Preserve is located in northeastern Mecklenburg, north of Rte. 73

Directions
From I-77, take exit 25, Rte. 73/Sam Furr Rd. Proceed west on Rte. 73 for 5.8 miles. Turn left on Summerswalk Blvd. Proceed three-quarters of a mile on Summerswalk Blvd. to the intersection of Leavitt Lane. West Branch Nature Preserve lies just the north. There is no public parking and there are no public amenities.

History and Description
This 90.3 acre preserve in northern Mecklenburg County was purchased in October, 2008. It holds a significant wetland with a diverse array of amphibians. In fact, nearly every species of amphibian that has been found in Mecklenburg County has been documented here. There is also a population of beavers at the site.

Wetlands are extremely important for their ability to serve as flood control, filter pollutants, trap sediment and gather nutrients, and be a nursery and home to many species of plants and animals. Waters from West Branch Nature Preserve flow into the Rocky River, and thus this preserve helps maintain the health of the Rocky River watershed.


Education and Programs
Current access with guided walks led by Park and Recreation staff.

Amenities
There are currently no public amenities.

Trails
None

Flora and Fauna
One of the most important species of wildlife in the preserve is the beaver. Although beavers are most active from dusk to dawn and are not usually seen, evidence of their presence is everywhere in the form of dams, gnawed trees, and stick lodges.

Nearly every species of amphibian in Mecklenburg County has been documented in West Branch Nature Preserve. The wetland also harbors a great diversity of plants and other animals. A complete assessment of the preserves biodiversity is still being undertaken. Maidenhair fern was discovered here in October, 2008.



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