Saturday, April 6, 2024

Urging eclipse travelers to respect the Park, refrain from littering

Jake turkeys strutting

Well, the eclipse is coming Monday, April 8, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket as it may be cloudy or even raining…hate to dampen your parade, but it could happen. Looking at the weather prediction for that day, it looks good on the computer, but you never know. The area that I pick up litter along the highway has been mostly clear of snow for a couple weeks now, but I’m going to wait until after all these eclipse travelers are gone and only hope they take their litter with them.

Just yesterday, March 31, I went north checking traps and the ice was out of most of the lakes along the way. I even stopped at the Seventh Lake Lookout to see if I might see a Loon, but I saw none and very little litter there either. When I came home around 3 p.m., there was a big, colorful bus-type motorhome parked there. I almost took a picture of it, it was so colorful. When I went up that way today, April 1, the parking area was a mess. I don’t know if it was from that party, but if many of the eclipse watchers leave as much as I found there today, the roadsides will be a mess (more like when we travel through Pennsylvania on Route 81 in the spring.) So please take your litter back home with you.

I keep hearing there are going to be port-a-johns set up along the highways, but I didn’t hear anything about garbage cans. It is going to be such a great happening, let us not spoil it by leaving the place a pig pen. The roadsides are not looking too bad this spring, so I can only guess that we didn’t have as many fall and winter visitors as we had such a bad winter sports season with so little snow cover. Only three weekends (now four counting last weekend,) but that snow was worn out by Saturday night as the trails were down to dirt and roads that are used were mostly bare when the sun came out.

Amarylis blooming

Amaryllis blooming. Photo by Gary Lee.

Many of these visitors will be going into the backcountry to see the eclipse and they need to be careful of any fires they may have. With only one day of sunshine, the leaves from last fall dry out and with a little wind, a fire can spread extremely fast. Just last week in Luray, Virginia a brush fire got out of control and burned twenty to thirty homes in that area. If you do have a campfire for warmth or cooking, make sure you put it dead out before leaving the area.

DEC released the bear kill figures for 2023 and this was an increase slightly compared to the 2022 hunting season, with the greatest harvest density occurring in the areas of the Catskills. An estimate of 485 bears were taken in the Northern zone and an estimate of
871 bears in the Southern Zone. This represents roughly 6-percent more bears harvested in the Northern Zone and a 1-percent increase in bears taken in the Southern Zone. Hunters harvested more than ten bears per 100 square miles in Wildlife Management Units
(WMU)3A,3C,3K,4R and 4W.

Notable Numbers; 16.1: The number of bears harvested per square mile in WMU 3K, the greatest bear density of any WMU. 550 pounds: the heaviest dressed weight bear reported to DEC. 668: The number of hunter harvested bears from which DEC collected teeth to determine the bear’s age in 2023. 25: The age of the oldest bear harvested in 2022. 1: The number of bears harvested in WMU 7A in 2023. This was the first bear ever reported harvested in that unit since DEC first began tracking bear harvest information in 1970. (This information is from the DEC Newsletter.)

I got an amaryllis bulb in wax from JoAnn Rudd for Christmas, and it bloomed once. I removed the wax covering and put the bulb, which had no root, in a pot of soil and it shot up another flower shoot and it just bloomed last week. I think some of the little birds that came north early may not have made it through the snow and cold of last week. I did hear several birds doing some mating songs the last few days. They were Black-Capped Chickadees, Brown Tree Creeper, and yesterday, a Winter Wren. Some bigger birds, like Common Ravens, may be on a nest already and my Turkey flock is certainly showing signs of spring.

We will see how big this eclipse influx will be, but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo at top: Jake turkeys strutting. Photo by Gary Lee.

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Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons. The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures a weekly blog. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, "Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds."




3 Responses

  1. Jeff LaMarca says:

    “Harvested?” If the DEC is ashamed to say that these bears were killed, maybe they shouldn’t allow people to kill them.

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