Lake Shenandoah

Description

Elevation: 1303 ft.

Lake Shenandoah is known locally for the spectacular waterfowl it can attract during migration and in winter. However, the rich diversity of resident birds makes a visit worthwhile any time of year. There is an easily followed trail in place that hugs the edge of the lake, providing easy access to the entire area. Species to look for during the spring and summer include green and great blue herons, black-crowned night-heron, mallard, wood and ruddy duck, and belted kingfisher. The scrubby bushes and vines, around the lake are good places to search for indigo bunting, gray catbird and song sparrow, while fish crow may appear anywhere along the bank. Barn swallow and tree swallow nest nearby and hunt over the lake. Also, be on the lookout for red-tailed and -shouldered hawk overhead. In addition to birds, the lake provides habitat for several species of dragonflies, including eastern amberwing, widow skimmer, common whitetail, and common green darner, as well as an abundance of painted turtles. Various butterflies species found in the maintained pollinator gardens around the lake include eastern tiger, spicebush, pipevine, and red-spotted purple swallowtail, silver-spotted skipper, monarch, pearl crescent and various duskywings.

A visit to the meadow along the western arm of Lake Shenandoah is encouraged for those who want to learn more about meadow habitats, pollinator species like honey bees and Monarch butterflies, the importance of controlled fires, and other wildlife living in the area. This area was restored by the Virginia DGIF and partners, who transformed it from mowed parklands into a meadow habitat suitable for pollinator conservation. Beginning in the spring of 2015, DGIF staff and volunteers prepared the area and planted wildflowers and grasses attractive to pollinators. Wildflower species include bee balm, smooth beardtongue, Brown Eyed Susan, lance-leaved coreopsis, purple coneflower, and swamp milkweed. Continued maintenance in conjunction with the Virginia Master Naturalists and the Lake Pointe Homeowners Association has lead to the success of this project. Other restoration efforts have included prescribed burns to control woody vegetation and stimulate growth of native plants. Additionally, interpretive signs, outreach programs, and community meetings have been supported by a number of organizations and groups: the Rockingham-Harrisonburg chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the Shenandoah Valley Beekeepers Association, the Virginia Master Naturalists, the Grassland Working Group of the Fire Learning Network, Rockingham County, the city of Harrisonburg, and teachers from local schools.

Note: To access the site, a Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.

Directions

Location: Just south of 1922 Massanetta Springs Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Coordinates: 38.38185, -78.83929

From I-81 near Harrisonburg, take exit 247A and merge onto US 33 E/E Market St toward Elkton and continue for 2.6 miles. Turn right onto SR 687/Massanetta Springs Rd. In 1.9 miles, turn left and proceed to the parking area overlooking the lake.

From the Previous Site on the Lost Shoe Loop of the VBWT:

Leaving Lake Campbell, turn right on Rt. 687 and continue south 0.7 miles to the stop sign at the intersection of Shenandoah Lake Road. Continue straight 0.4 miles to lake parking on the left.