Pink Lady Slipper Walk and Damascus Trail Center Native Gardens Tour (Sunday, May 7, 2023)

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Parking is limited at the Laurel Creek trailhead in the Cherokee National Forest. Therefore, we plan to meet in Damascus and, after touring the Gardens, carpool to view the Pink Lady Slippers about 5 miles south. There is adequate parking in Damascus at Laurel Creek Park (127 West Imboden Street) 2 blocks from the Damascus Trail Center. If you plan to come to this Family Friendly event, please send an email to [email protected] before May 5.

First Stop: 1:30 pm, Damascus Trail Center, 209 West Laurel Ave., Damascus, VA. Past president Gail Olson will describe native plant landscaping that she designed in her Master Gardener role. This is the second growing season for this collection of 40 native species. A native plant wetland is currently being installed there. Arrive early to tour the DTC, which has restrooms available.

Second Stop: 3:00 pm, Laurel Creek Trail, Cherokee National Forest, Johnson County, TN, Highway 91, approximately 5 miles south from Damascus, Va. and 9 miles north from Mountain City, TN. Member Ken More, retired Asst. Dir. of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, will lead the walk to see a thriving natural population of pink lady slippers along a short, accessible, hard packed gravel trail. Seeing Pink Lady Slippers in the wild is very special, because these orchids do not survive relocation away from their natural home. We may also see Showy Orchids and Louseworts, among other early May wildflowers. Participants wishing to extend their afternoon of wildflower observations, are welcome to stay longer to explore a nearby more difficult creek-side trail. Picnic tables and a handicap-accessible Porto-toilet are near the parking lot.