Dedication of the Eugene H. Bayard Memorial Trail

In 2021, Delaware Wild Lands (DWL) lost a cherished leader and friend, Eugene “Gene” H. Bayard. As a long-time member of the Board of Directors and a past Board president, Gene’s contributions to DWL and many other organizations were profound and far-reaching. His guidance and vision were instrumental in shaping DWL into the successful organization it is today. Following his passing, Chesapeake Utilities, where Gene also served as a Board member, approached DWL with the idea of creating a meaningful memorial in his honor. This collaboration led to the development of the Eugene H. Bayard Memorial Trail, now showcased at the Roman-Fisher Farm in the Great Cypress Swamp.

The Eugene H. Bayard Memorial Trail features over 50 species of native plants, including wildflowers for pollinators, warm-season grasses, three types of milkweeds, flowering vines, shrubs, and trees. Central to the trail are plots of Atlantic white-cedar and Baldcypress, key focuses of DWL’s restoration efforts. The trail is designed as an active wildlife habitat, frequented by white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, and other wildlife. The milkweeds attract numerous pollinators, while birds and bats hunt insects along the trail, with bluebird, kestrel, and bat boxes enhancing their habitats.

After three years of development, the trail honors Eugene H. Bayard with a dedicated memorial, guiding visitors through diverse native plantings and showcasing the unique biodiversity of the Great Cypress Swamp and Sussex County. The path concludes at the wood line, where visitors can view one of the largest mature stands of Baldcypress on the property, with trees around 150 years old. Additionally, a one-mile wooded loop trail offers varied habitats, including upland beech flats, undisturbed wetlands, and seasonal ponds, providing a haven for amphibians and a great spot to observe winter waterfowl.

Please note that the trail is not open to the public, but we look forward to welcoming guests by invitation for special events at the Great Cypress Swamp. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Chesapeake Utilities for their support in making this memorial a reality, ensuring that Gene’s legacy continues to inspire and educate future generations.

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