One can only imagine what it might have been like for a Native American hunter to leave his Mississippi River encampment and enter the magnificent, serene valleys of the Root River in the centuries before settlement. Although perhaps partially a victim of altered transportation routes, the town of Forestville, like much of this region, eventually suffered from failing agricultural productivity. The Forestville Store, whose last proprietor was Tom Meighen, was abandoned in 1910, and one can still view the dry goods and sundry items left by Meighen after he lost all hope of selling them.
Today the Root River valley is a rich and productive land, with a healthy balance of forestry, agriculture, and watershed management—a testament to the benefits of wise land use. It is a beautiful area to bird. Key birds: Red-shouldered Hawk, Wild Turkey, Eastern Screech-Owl, Whip-poor-will, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow. Don’t miss: Root River State Trail (rent a bicycle). This eTrail provides information on birding strategies for this location, birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful maps.
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