Trail Guide Map 3
Dennis Ave to Forest Glen Rd

The trail from Dennis Ave to Forest Glen Rd is .5 miles long. South of Dennis Avenue, the hiker-biker trail passes briefly through a meadow— pause to look for wildflowers—, then plunges back into the woods. After about a quarter of a mile, Wheaton Branch joins Sligo. A very pleasant quarter-mile side trip on the unpaved path on the right side of the Branch leads to a sturdy vernal pool, carved out by the government a decade ago for the convenience of amphibians. A “vernal” pool usually dries out by late summer and thus can’t sustain fish that would eat the amphibians. The park, alas, does not teem with amphibians, but we do have a reasonable assortment (on the FOSC website check out "Plants and animals/ amphibians", for a list PLUS actual recordings of frog calls).

A return to the main trail is accomplished by walking a short block up Woodman Avenue, where a bridge is available to carry one to the other side of Wheaton Branch. Note the stream restoration techniques that have been used. They not only stabilize the stream bed, add water critter habitat, and look nice too.

Printable Map 3

Shortly after returning to the main trail, a playground appears on the right. A side trail over the Creek delivers looks at two small storm-water ponds. Both contain Wood Duck houses that are occasionally used. The ponds are also home to turtles, mostly "sliders". This wetland also contains a couple of fenced areas called "deer exclosures". They are sadly demonstrating that the over-abundance of deer in the park is having a bad effect on the diversity and succession of plants in the park. This area was also the site of a one-time government experiment to see if goats could be used to manage non-native invasive plants. As was suspected, the goats ate pretty near everything, which made the project impractical (but adorable).

The last part of the main trail in this portion of the park passes by woods on the left (by the creek) and a meadow on the right. This edge area is typically a good place to see a variety of song birds and hawks. Baltimore oriole nests have been seen hanging in the trees.