2006 Slide Show, Photo 4

What a glorious spring on Isle Royale it was in 2006. Spring in summer? you ask. Well, yes. Spring on the island comes about 4 weeks later than elsewhere in northern Michigan, so in June we are still in spring on Isle Royale, though we call it summer. To repeat, things have been dry, near drought in the Lake Superior Basin for some time. But there has been just enough rain at just the right times to have some beautiful spring conditions here and there, such as along the Tobin Harbor Trail, where I took this shot of a hearty phalanx of bunchberries, or Canada dogwood. Note the dense stand of spruce along this section of trail, not an uncommon site along the northeast harbors. Such thickets are the indirect result of moose gluttony, since their love of balsam fir strictly represses the growth of balsam, which gives spruce the power to dominate. This is changing, though. With the moose population down for almost 10 years now, stands of balsam have once again gained a toehold here and there in areas that the spruce once thought secure for their own kind.

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