But the park also features a wetlands area behind Ford Randolph, where a family of turtles suns itself on a log, birds chirp from high in the branches of trees and rabbits peek from behind tall rows of cattails. A sturdy boardwalk and gravel path surround the area, providing a serene trail for nature enthusiasts to observe the animals in their natural habitat.
And while most people are unaware of the wetlands and the wildlife and plants that call the area home, members of the environmental and urban forestry committee of the Point Pleasant in Bloom organization are working to promote everything that can be found there.
Anna and Golden Herdman are two of those dedicated committee members. Anna Herdman said they researched native wildlife and plants in the area and then constructed 10 posts to be placed along the nature trail. Each post includes information about native plants that are found along the trail and the various uses they provided during pioneer days. She added that the posts are a nice complement to a sign that features pictures of the wildlife found around the wetlands.
“It’s real neat out here,” Herdman added. “Sometimes you’ll be out here and see a bird you wouldn’t normally see.”
She also acknowledged the host of plants and trees surrounding the wetlands, adding that many of the plants were used for a variety of cooking, sewing and other chores during pioneer days. Herdman added that one of the main purposes of the new signs is to generate interest among students about local history and the environment.
Herdman credited the late Lowell Cook as being instrumental in the project, adding that it was his idea to promote the wetlands and the animals and plants found there. He then enlisted help from students at the Mason County Career Center, who painted the sign. Others helping with the project were Rodney Wallbrown and Joe Supple, who donated supplies.
The committee members also recently planted sycamores near Fort Randolph, and last year they installed nine bird houses along the park’s walking path. Herdman said the continued efforts of the committee and entire Point Pleasant in Bloom organization are just one more way for the group to promote the city.
Last year, Point Pleasant was the first municipality in West Virginia to participate in America in Bloom, a grassroots-level community beautification contest. Judges visited the area in June for an intensive two-day evaluation period, during which the city was judged on floral displays, environmental awareness, landscaped areas, tidiness, urban forestry, heritage preservation, turf and groundcovers and community involvement.
The volunteers’ efforts paid off, and in October the group received special mention in the heritage preservation category during the Seventh Annual America in Bloom Awards Gala.
According to a news release, America in Bloom has been committed to the national agenda of improving the quality of life in America for the past eight years.