I did my master’s degree at East Carolina U. One of my favorite nature places at that time was River Park North, just across the river from the town. I would hike to the very end of the trail, and then there was a sign saying that beyond that point was all undeveloped, enter at own risk. As far as I could tell, nobody but me ever went back there, although it was full of trash – I believe deposited there by the floods of Hurricane Floyd some years prior.
I had a few fun surprises back there. One was a flock of wild turkeys passing by, entirely in the forest canopy. But the biggest treat, I thought, was coming to a depression and finding it full of dead shells of fingernail clams. It was a vernal pool – one in the forest, and not sequestered away in a closed nature reserve, but rather, protected by people’s reluctance to leave the marked trails. That was my only sighting ever of fingernail clams – to this day, I have never seen one alive. My goodness, it was hard to find any useful information about identifying these; but I think they were the Oblong Orb-Mussel, of which iNaturalist currently has only two observations. Too bad I didn’t take pictures then! I go back to that city periodically, so perhaps I shall try to find that vernal pool again.
This blog introduces the wonders of these clams: Woodland clams are a thing