Snake Crossing Road

JeffD

Explorer
Dec 31, 1969
180
0
16
On my way back from my excursion to Lower Forge yesterday, driving on Quaker Bridge road, somewhere between the cutoff to the Mullica River Campsite and the abandoned railroad tracks, driving towards route 206, wiggling across the road, starting near the edge of a bog that abuts Quaker Bridge Road on the right was a snake. It really moved fast! I didn't have a good look at it. If I could ID it as a rattlesnake, I would have purposely run over it. It looked a little dark and slim. Probably wasn't a rattler. It may have seen some of it's friends run over so it knew about cars, as it really booked when I saw it out of the corner of my eye on the side of the road, about ten or twenty feet in front of me. I was driving about ten miles an hour.

The snake seemed to come from out of the bog. Are there water snakes in that area? Are there any poisonous snakes in this area?
 

BobM

Scout
Dec 31, 1969
67
0
6
Jeff, you are too much. You would have run over a timber rattlesnake on purpose.

Why?
 

JeffD

Explorer
Dec 31, 1969
180
0
16
I knew you would respond to my comment about purposely running over a rattlesnake, Bob.

In the real world, rattlesnakes can be hazardous to your health and could ruin your whole day. In areas where people go, I just as soon eliminate them. I realize that rattlesnakes are part of the ecosystem but they are not an inexpendable member of ecological communities. I don't take Captain Planet's advice not to kill a fly that gets in my house and to go out of my way to let it find a new home. I share radio talk show host Jim Gerheart's (101.5 FM) astonishment that the state of New Jersey goes out of its way to protect rattlesnakes.

I think it's fine if they live in remote areas far away from people. When humans are threatened, however, such as a case years ago in California where a bobcat killed a child in a park, the animals should be hunted. Recently, Jim (Gerheart) discussed with callers the case in New York where a black bear shook and killed an infant. I agree with the callers who said that the baby should not have been left unattended, and that the child's guardian acted irresponsibly.

I realize that even when there is adequate habit for wild animals, where their population is within the carrying capacity, away from close proximity to humans, there occasionally is a renegade, disfunctional animal that will attack humans for no apparent reason. In this case, that particular animal should be taken out.

What this boils down to is that the plants, animals, and other resources of this earth are for our benefit, such as the scenic area I described at the Lower Forge Wilderness Campground. Of course, we shouldn't go to extremes to cater to every human whim, and we should be good stewards of the earth. We have dominion over the earth. In other words, the earth belongs to us and our task is to manage it wisely for our use and enjoyment.

At a county park between the edge of the Pine Barrens and a bay or sound or something -- I think the name is Cattus Island Park -- the naturalist explained how they keep mosquitos in check at a section in the park called mosquito bay. This area naturally has been a haven for mosquitos. The park opened some channels so fish could swim in and feed on the mosquitos, keeping their numbers down and thus offering protection to humans. This is OK. But in areas where this can't be done, the responsible thing to do, when humans are threatened by problems such as the West Nile Virus, is to wipe out the mosquitos in the area. I'm not trying to get into a debate about DDT, but I think it was a mistake to ban it. I learned from once source that the West Nile Virus probably would not have come to America if it were not for the ban on this safe, cost effective and efficient chemical. One promoter of DDT actually drank some DDT!

When I was a little kid, my dad once told me that if there was a situation where one had to make a choice between saving a pet and a human, one should save the human.

BTW, I made the comment about running over the rattlesnake somewhat tongue and cheek.
 

German

Scout
Dec 31, 1969
51
1
8
Sorry Jeff, but I also have to take issue with you on this one. For the sake of the argument, you can toss out the fact that all snakes are legally protected in New Jersey, not to mention that Timber Rattlers are one of the two snake species here classified as endangered. It simply makes no common sense to kill them without cause, if any can even be proved. Aside from the recent bite at Lake Oswego, how often do you hear about folks in NJ getting bit by Rattlesnakes, let alone being killed by them? You, and our children, have much more to fear from the human predators that are out there, and can be read about almost daily in the newspapers. Likewise, you are much more at risk driving in your car to your outing in the woods than from any animal, snake or otherwise, that may be found there. If you consider yourself a nature enthusiast, you should accept nature for all it's risks, as well as its wonder, or else stay in the safety of your home and enjoy it on the Discovery Channel.

For some reason, many people have an irrational fear of snakes, one that drives them to want to see even the non-venomous ones killed on sight. There is simply no reasonable threat that justifies this. Most snakes, including Timber Rattlers, will go out of their way to avoid humans. A rattler's venom is for subdueing prey much smaller than us, so they can be safely swallowed, not for defence. The venom is too slow-acting to have any defence value against large animals. When a rattler bites us, as any snake or other animal will in self defence, that venom is just an unfortunate side effect of the bite, and kills few who get medical attention. And I'm sure you know far many more people who have suffered from the effects of Lyme Disease than from snake bites. Are you aware that almost every animal that a rattler preys on is a potential carrier of deer ticks? This is in addition to any other role these snakes play in the food web. Notice I said web, not chain, which is so complex that we cannot calculate all the effects that may occur when an animal is removed from it.

It is sad, however that we have to justify an animal's existence to some people. God, Allah, Mother Nature, or whoever it is that you put your faith in put these animals on this earth and what gives any of us the arrogance to feel that we have a better idea?
 
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JeffD

Explorer
Dec 31, 1969
180
0
16
I don't believe in the "leave it alone", keep things natural philosophy of nature. I remember some guy with a local environmental group in my area once saying [sic] "If you live in Bucks, then live with the mosquitos." I believe we should manage nature to suit our needs. This, of course, does not mean exploiting it, but tending it like a garden to keep it, and us healthy, which means getting rid of mosquitos in areas where there is human contact.

You do make a good point, German, that rattlers eat critters that contribute to Lyme disease. This is the kind of arguments we should have, not that we don't have a right to tame and taylor nature. I don't, however, go in for mutations from mad scientists as found in SWAMP THING.

A few years ago I came across a phamplet from the Pennsylvania Game Commission entitled INVITE BIRDS TO YOUR HOME. The phamplet explained that you can control the kinds of animals that come into your yard by planting certain things -- create a habitat for them. Now, as I've said, as long as we keep dangerous critters away from areas people use such as campgrounds, then that's alright. And it's OK to favor certain kinds of critters. I prefer doves and bluebirds to crows. What would really be insane -- and this happens to some extent -- would be for the government, implimenting an agenda from certain environmentalists and animal rights groups, to not only forbid property owners to kill an animal such as a rattlesnake on their own property, but to provide a habitat for them.

As far as the public domain, I can't see the government going out of its way to increase populations of critters that are dangerous to humans in areas where there would be human contact. As I've said, all animals are NOT inexpendable. You're right, German, it is a food web and not a food chain. There are other critters that can fill the came nitch and ecological role as rattlesnakes. The whole web won't become unraveled if one species is removed from it. I have a problem with environmentalists who want to protect an animal for its own sake, especially at the expense of humans. At the Earth Summit, there are folks who want to SAVE THE EARTH, while they pig out on lobster, caviar, and other extravagant things, but want to shut down industry which would help people, especially in Africa. But this is a matter broader than the Pine Barrens.

Overall, I like the way the Pine Barrens is being managed. The nonsensical restrictions to protect endangered species has been lifted and the woods can't be thinned to properly maintain it. There are lots of roads so fire equipment can readily get in to quench a fire as well as act as a fuel break. Agriculture is alive in the Pine Barrens. One thing I believe we can all agree on is that the Pine Barrens have to be protected from developers.

So I qualify my remark about protecting rattlesnakes. It's OK as long as it's done sensibly. I'm not crazy about the idea. But at least don't increase their numbers close to where people are. There may be few cases of rattlesnake bite because their numbers are low. If people go crazy improving their habitat, the way some bluebirders do for bluebirds, and their numbers get high, they may increasingly find their way where people are. I realize that rattlesnakes will try to get away from you, but hey, things happen. Unlike bluebirds, rattlesnakes are poisonous.

I realize too that there is a balance in nature, and there are problems when one species of plant or animals exceeds the carrying capacity. This is what Texas A&M Forestry Professor Thomas Bonnicksen pointed out. His idea, which he calls restoration forestry, is to manage the forest to recreate natural conditions. This can be done for the animal kingdom. Just don't let the rattlesnakes bother me when I'm taking a leak behind a bush on a hiking trail!
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
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German,

Can you tell us more about the recent bite at Oswego?

Guy
 

German

Scout
Dec 31, 1969
51
1
8
Guy, I don't remember the specific details or date, but it happened about a month ago at the informal swimming area within Penn State Forest. Technically that area is not a bonifide swimming beach, but the state seems to look the other way. Anyway, a man was swimming or playing with his dog, and both the dog and then the man became bit by a rattler. They both needed medical attention, and both are OK, as far as I know. I seem to remember reading in the paper that the exact details of the incident were not clear or consistant from witnesses on the scene. Reading between the lines, it almost sounded like the person may have been trying to catch the snake or something, but that is just conjecture on my part, which came from the couple of articles I read.

Jeff, I am well aware that we have to play some part in managing the environment, and do just that as part of my job. I would love it if we did not have to do so, but we have modified it so greatly, eliminating some species, such as the large predators that once kept deer and goose populations in check, and introduced other species, which have become pests. We have also changed the physical landscape, resulting in habitat that has increased the populations of some species so greatly that we can not take a hands-off management style. But that still does not justify advocating killing animals without cause, or eliminating a species just because a few individuals, who may or may not have any environmental education, feel they have no value in the environment. When there is a real threat to the public, such as the West Nile Virus, all out war against mosquitoes is certainly justified. Those familiar with insects know we stand little chance of wiping them out anyway, and will only reduce their numbers. But when an animal like Timber Rattlers are on the brink of extinction in an area, as they are in New Jersey, we have the duty to do what we can to protect them, ecpecially when we are the cause of their decline. As I said before, who amongst us has the right to decide which species are deserving to remain and which are not?
 

German

Scout
Dec 31, 1969
51
1
8
By the way Jeff, you're right about arguments. They do make life more interesting!
 

JeffD

Explorer
Dec 31, 1969
180
0
16
Indeed, they do, German.

Your comment that the report of a snake bite at Oswego lake was a result of someone chasing after a snake is quite plausible. When I worked in a PA state park as an environmental educator, a small group of people went after a water snake from a causeway in the park. The law enforcement rangers were on the scene trying to keep order. On of them asked me to talk some sense to the people who had been throwing rocks, etc, at the snake, from an environmental point of view. I explained to them, as you mentioned, that snakes are a threat when you threaten them. In another case, a mother brought her little girl, who had gotten bitten by a garter (non-poisionous) snake, into the park office. When they descibed the snake, I new what it was, and although the snake wasn't poisionous, recommended the bite be cleaned ASAP. I told the little girl that snakes, like other critters, usually don't attack people but if you accidently step on them, they may bite. The girl then admitted that she was chasing after the snake, reaching into the brush to try to grab it.

I still feel uneasy about restoring the population of a poisionous critter, though. I think it's great that there are efforts to protect the endangered Pine Barrens Treefrog. I understand your argument about risk, however, we're talking about a risk in a particular place for a particular activity. Remember, a statistician is someone who drowns while wading across a river with an average three foot depth.

I can dig the idea of restoring the forest to its natural state, to some extent. This is what the forestry professor I mentioned advocates. I think, however, that hiking in a area where there are no poisionous snakes is good. Just because they were once in the area, and even though "we" caused their decline, it doesn't mean we are obligated to welcome them back, so to speak. Dinosaurs once roamed that earth but are now extinct. Even though we can't blame this on global warming from factories (joke), the biosphere is still doing OK, despite the extinction of these giants. In short, they are expendible.

It really isn't a small minority of folks who want the flora and fauna of the earth to suit them. On the contrary, the environmentalists, who want to keep the hand we were dealt, are in the minority. I realize that not all of them are extremists -- you don't seem to be, German -- but even the more reasonable ones see nature in a differen light, for better or worse. I remember someone who lived in California told me that in the major national parks and forests there, the vast majority of people flock to a limited area, and that much of the park, where people can backpack, is not crowded. I also remember reading a paper by a professor, in wildlife or forestry or something, at Penn State that said the people who visit remote areas, backpackers and such, are a small percentage of the people who visit the woods. This may have changed since then.

In general, I believe that fundamentally humans have the right to modify the environment to suit their needs, not just to protect themselves from grave danger, such as the West Nile Virus, but from nuisances, such as black flys. It is debatable, however, how far we should go to accomplish this. I believe in the practice of multiple use, where land is managed for recreation, wildlife, water quality, soils (I'm not sure if I missed any). This seems to be the case in the Pine Barrens. I read where the Oswego lake area is more crowded than other areas, and is more condusive to people who like boating and other such activities. The batona trail in general, and the area around Atsion and north is a great spot for those who want solitude and enjoy nature. When I visited these areas, I run into very few people. Sometimes I don't see anyone at all!

I'm not sold on the idea of protecting the timer rattler, nor of keeping things exactly the way they were. In the case of the dinosaurs, those with nostagia for these giants can always watch JURRASIC PARK.

I believe that we have dominion over the earth.
 

BobM

Scout
Dec 31, 1969
67
0
6
Like I said Jeff, you are too much. You seem to have the same unfounded fear of the avid environmentalist that you do of the Timber Rattler.

If it wasn't for passionate evironmentalists, you wouldn't have the Pine Barrens to meddle with. You'd be facing a huge jetport where the pines are.
 

JeffD

Explorer
Dec 31, 1969
180
0
16
You missed the point, Bob. There are nature people, like that Austrian guy who plays around with alligators and crocodiles, who are really into this sort of thing and are willing to risk live and limb for their interests. Not everybody shares this enthusiasm and are not overly concerned if a single species, especially a harmful one, ends up leaving a area or even the planet. I think if genuses of animals are wiped out that certainly is cause for concern. But I think some folks go overboard on this endangered species thing, even when the claims are legitimate.

Passionate environmentalists who have a reasonable goal such as keeping development out and fostering multiple use and generally promoting good stewardship are good. But the environmentalist whackos who want to set aside billions of acres where you can't cut any trees, put in any roads, foot bridges, etc. and try to force their agenda through lawyers, terrorist tactics, mis and one-sided information through schools, media, etc. are ruining the forests for the rest of us. If it weren't for these folks, we wouldn't have millions and millions of acres burning away each year.

I do think, in very remote areas, where the forests haven't been touched by people and where it would not be cost effective to log or do anything with, we should let nature take it's course. I don't know of many areas like that in the Pine Barrens.

By the way, my understanding is the deer are the primary carrier of the deer tick. The timber wolf aren't around to keep their numbers in check, so hunting would do the job to keep their numbers in check.

I realize that big problems are created when a plant or animal populations exceed the carrying capacity, and if a balance is maintained, problems would be minimized. Sometimes there is a small, isolated area where people don't want any unwanted critters. That's what bug zappers are for. But outside these areas, there are management tools, which emulate nature, that help. My cousins live near a wetland and told me they want to do something about the mosquitos, etc. I suggested putting up bluebird and bat boxes at the edge of their property to bring these critters in to eat the bugs. The bluebirds would work the day shift and the bats the night shift.

By the way, does anyone have any idea of what kinds of snake live near that bog off of Quaker Bridge Road? Don't worry Bob, if it's a timber rattler, I won't kill it.

You forgot to mention that if it weren't for passionate environmentalists we would be eating dog food and the air, land and water would be poisoned.

We are east of Eden, brother, and snakes, like some environmentalists, do more than just talk slick.
 
Z

ZippySLC

Guest
Bob:

There are many groups of environmentalists who are looking to block all human access to natural areas, in order to "protect" them.

California is full of efforts to close down access (both motorized and non-motorized) to natural areas and trails.

Here's one plan to limit access to the Pine Barrens to ATV's. While I certainly don't like the noise they make, it's as much their woods as mine. And frankly, I have to wonder, what's next? Do they ban 4WD vehicles? That sort of puts the kibosh on me going into the Pine Barrens to do any sort of photography, unless I want to hike 20 miles into the woods.

http://www.njpinebarrens.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=6&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

You can also see what the NJ Sierra Club has to say:
http://njsierra.enviroweb.org/njs_sierran/2q2002/sierran-2.pdf

You can see other land-use issues across the nation here:
http://www.off-road.com/land/actions/

Personally, I'm more threatened by a hard-core environmentalist than a rattlesnake.
 

German

Scout
Dec 31, 1969
51
1
8
It isn't easy trying to find a fair middle ground on recreational uses of the woods, but ATVs seem to be a little off center to many. You can claim that it is the driver, not the machine that is responsible for any misuse, but they are just like Jet Skis, not much fun unless you riding them in a way that most likley pisses off everyone around you. Taking a 4X4, or any other vehicle for that matter, down a woods road is a completely different thing from an ATV tearing the heck out of the off-road portions of a piece of woods. I've had many a day ruined by them, and even have had my dog and kids almost run over by them on several occasions, including on public land they were not allowed to be on.

I'm not saying they should be banned outright, but there is a place for everything, and with true wilderness areas becoming more and more rare, these are the wrong places for them. A better solution is seen at the ATV park in Chatsworth. Not only is this area set aside just for these types of vehicles, but it is an old gravel pit, which provides the type of terrain that they are more fun to ride on. The place is about maxed out by users, it is so polular, I hear. There are plenty more abandoned pits, that are not favored by other outdoor types, that this could be expanded to. There's nothing wrong with them being banned from certain areas, if a reasonable alternative is provided.
 

BobM

Scout
Dec 31, 1969
67
0
6
So Bruset, you chose this opening on rattlesnakes to rap environmentalists for leading the charge to try and stop off-road vehicle damage?

You are dead wrong about having to hike 20 miles into the pines to take photographs in the future. I don't see where they are banning any licensed vehicle from any roads in the pines. I have a dual-sport mototcycle that is licensed, and I can go anywhere without doing the sort of damage some people do. All you gotta do is park it close and walk in.

Here is excerpt from an email I wrote that highlights the damage one perfect idiot did about 3 weeks ago. I fully realize not every off-roader thinks like this guy does, but how much public relatiions damage for the off road vehicle community do you think this guy did?

.......In my search for a photo of the elusive yellow orchid I decided to try a feeder stream that I stumbled upon last year. This stream rises clean and pure from white sand and builds quickly to a clear,
cold, rivulet. This stream is only about 300 yards long, and grows to just 2 feet wide by the time it reaches the main creek.

This is one of those streams that flows even in this type of drought. It is that close to the aquifer. It is also prime habitat for several endangered or threatened plants, including Carolina Club Moss, Yellow-Eyed Grass, and is a station for thousands of Bog Asphodel. Thats right, thousands. If fact, some say this stream holds one of the state's largest populations of Asphodel. There are also dense stands of curly grass fern. Even in our unique pine barrens, it is a unique ecosystem.

Imagine my shock and disgust to find that, seemingly the day before,
several large 4-wheeled drive trucks had ripped through that little
stream with careless abandon. Virtually hundreds of Asphodel seed heads are torn loose and laying on the ground. The trucks rode up the stream and back, up and back...several times, then went up and down the side of the bank, gouging up curly grass fern, club moss, and yellow-eyed grass, and leaving them torn and matted on the ground. When looking at the destruction, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut.

Here is an overview photo of just one third of the destruction:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/teegate/photos/destruction.JPG

When they made the following pass, they managed to leave one seed head
standing:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/teegate/photos/loneseed.JPG

On this pass, they forgot to destroy this clump of Asphodel, but as you can see on the left side, they did get a few:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/teegate/photos/clump.JPG

This clump of Asphodel has few survivors (note the reflection of seed
heads in the bottom of photo):

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/teegate/photos/reflection.JPG

These double tracks are proof the trucks were huge, probably jacked up
with fat ballon tires (note the horned bladderwort at left):

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/teegate/photos/doubletracks.JPG

In addition to the plant destruction, the trucks changed the entire
geography of the stream. Where it used to gently slope down to the main creek, with depths from 1" to 4" deep, the trucks gouged out several holes up to 3 feet deep and 15 yards long. That is what really hurts. It will take this stream 20 years to return to its former status, if it ever does.

And all you complain about Mr. Bruset is the noise.....thats a shame.
You better hurry out and get your photos of rare plants. Looks like the good ones will be run over soon.
 
Z

ZippySLC

Guest
German:

You're right in comparing them to jet ski's and such where the real "thrill" of riding them is probably done in a way that is offensive to others. I also like the idea of having a designated spot for them as well. The problem is, even in areas such as abandoned quarries and such, there still are instances of rare plants, etc. Nature will eventually reclaim that land.

I'm 100% against unlicensed ATVs/motorbikes on State land. I think that if you eliminated that much, you'd be in better shape. But by making a blanket ruling, you're throwing the baby out with the bath water. There will never be a 100% perfect solution, but by banning a group of people from using the Pine Barrens, you set a very dangerous precident.
 
Z

ZippySLC

Guest
Bob:

Firstly, you can call me Ben. We've talked on Barry's list before.

The thread turned into a land use discussion. So I did not just decide to come in here and rap environmentalists.

I also don't photograph rare plants. I am admittedly not an expert on flora and fauna, although I really should get a little more familiar with the species in the Pines. I photograph the ruins of the towns and industry in the pines. Most of that is far removed from public roads. For example, I wouldn't want to have to walk to High Crossing from Friendship or the Carranza Memorial. That's quite a hike. Even the walk from Batsto to Washington is a little much.

Looking at the photographs I share your concern. That is certainly not responsible land use, and not within the mantra of Tread Lightly (http://www.treadlightly.org) or the Blue Ribbon Coalition (http://www.sharetrails.org) which I both support. Unfortunately, there are people within the 4WD/Off-road community that give the rest of the group a bad impression. There are plenty of clubs that do positive things such as trail cleanups, etc. Do I think that we should ban all motorized (ATV's as well as 4WD trucks) access to the Pine Barrens? No. Do I think that eventually that will be passed into law, yes. What does this mean? It would mean that only forest service vehicles would be allowed into unpaved areas in State Land.

So this is not a dig at environmentalists who would like to see the environment kept in a pristine state, but at those who would like to see a blanket ban on ANY motorized access within State Forests.

Here's a link to the law about to be passed banning all ATV's (licensed or not). How long do you think it will take before I can't take my Jeep there?

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2002/Bills/A2500/2238_I1.HTM

(For the record, I don't own an ATV, and my Jeep - a 1990 Jeep Cherokee - is totally stock with no lift or special tires. But it would be treated just the same as someone with 35" mud-terrain tires)
 

JeffD

Explorer
Dec 31, 1969
180
0
16
It is disgusting what some disrespectful people do to the land. The destruction you discribe, Bob, is bad. Destructive people should be punished for their misdeeds. Did you actually see the vehicle that did this? If so, I hope you got it's licence number and reported the perpetrator.

I too have a problem, BB, with punishing the group because of what a particular individual does. I've encountered this in the workplace. Two clowns were making personal long distance calls on the company telephone. Everyone knew who they were. But instead of confronting the abusers, the boss posted a memo that said that anyone using the phone for any personal calls will be charge $50. It didn't matter if a guy, because he needed to stay longer than his usual shift, needed to call home.

I also would have a problem with keeping private vehicles of all non paved roads. Except where the sand roads are right at the water table, vehicles have very little impact on the road. Of course, they may run over a snake (sorry Bob, I couldn't resist). If cars and other licenced vehicles were banned from unpaved roads, this would create problems, even for people who want to park to go hiking. For example, where would people park if they wanted to pick up the Batona trail at Quaker Bridge? On the side of the route 206 in Atsion? Or at the ranger station lot only when it is open?

I agree, German, that the key to maintaining the health of the land and its flora and flora is to designated certain areas for particular uses. Gravel pits above the water table and away from streams, where tires won't create ruts and damage the plants and contribute to conditions that choke up a body of water, is a good place for ATV's, etc. The U.S. Soil Conservation Service maps out areas, decribing the kind of soil, etc., by type and recommends useage in each of these sections. This is something environmental educators should teach the public. I remember once at a meeting of representatives of park and recreation in my county, someone from a recreational park told the group about her plans to put in a baseball field. The rep from the soil conservation distict asked her if she consulted a soil type map. She hadn't and this was new to her. I believe the park person looked into consulting such a map. Julian, the head of parks and recreation for our county who organized this informal council, told us that the goal was to exchange ideas and find ways to solve problems, much like, in his words, a town meeting like they have in New England. This is what we need for the Pine Barrens, and we have somewhat on this bulletin board.

I don't think we can, or should, "protect" every single plant and animal in the Pine Barrens. Plants are starting to colonize the sand roads in many places. I'm not concerned about them. Nor do I care much if one poisionous species becomes extinct in the Pine Barrens, as long as there are others to maintain a healthy ecosystem. But I don't think vehicles should be allowed to joy ride, willy-nilly and thus damage sections of woods or meadows outside of unpaved roads. The unpaved roads serve as a corridor to experience the Pine Barrens. There are plenty of them, so, other than places such as the gravel pits, there is no reason to drive off these roads. There are cutoffs in many places along the sand roads for cars to pull over to allow another car to pass from the other direction. There are also places to park of the sand roads that don't block the way.

The Pine Barrens is there for different interests. It's not there just for the ATV enthusiasts, or the dirt bikers, or the environmentalists, etc. A balance must be struck, and compromises made. This is the concept of muliple use, which seems to be the case in the Pine Barrens. As more people use the Pine Barrens, solutions to problems need to be worked out so compatable uses can be accomodated.

I like the idea of the town meeting.

Other thoughts: I think it would be a good idea to put small bridges in places where sand roads dip. This not only would allow cars to drive further, but would prevent off-road vehicles from degrading the soil but digging ruts into it. This could be done where sand roads cross streams, etc. This is the same idea as putting boardwalks in bogs, so that people could enjoy the bog without tearing it up. Of course, the Sierra Club may not like it. After all, there motto is take nothing put pictures, leave nothing but footprints. (joke)

Seriously though, just recently the Pine Barrens has started to create a better balance between the interests. As many of you know, they lifted nonsensical endangered species regulations, which obstructed logging. It seems to me like the restoration forestry practices that Texas A & M Professor of Forestry Thomas Bonnicken advocates is being practiced in the Pine Barrens. Dr. Bonnicken once had a leadership role with the Sierra Club. But like other environmentalist organizations that start out good, are taken over by the extemists -- the kind you found at the bogus Earth Summit. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, preached responsible logging. Today, the Sierra Club doesn't want ANY trees cut in public forests. They invoke the endangered species act, which tree huggers abuse to halt logging. I'd hate to see this sensible balance of interests reversed.

I believe the timber rattler (to get back to the subject) was one of the obstacles to logging in the Pine Barrens. Again, even if this critter is legitimately endangered, I wouldn't give it's protection much priority. There are other fish to fry, and beer to make.
 

ghendri

New Member
Dec 31, 1969
2
0
1
By the way, my understanding is the deer are the primary carrier of the deer tick.

Wrong the primary carrier of the deer tick is the whitefooted mouse. It is called a deer tick because it has what looks like antlers on its head. Guess who's job it is to eat the mice...you got it THE RATTLERS! PLEASE LEAVE THE SNAKES ALONE!!! They got work to do.
 

JeffD

Explorer
Dec 31, 1969
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They're called deer ticks because they look like they have antlers on their head? That's a new one! Never heard that before.

Studies have shown that where the deer population is kept in check, the risk of Lyme Disease diminishes. Conversley, when there is an overpopulation of deer, the risk of Lyme Disease is great. This is why some parks that normally don't have hunting as part of it's recreational plan have special deer hunts to thin out the deer heard. I remember reading that mice have something to do with tick transporation, but I don't remember them being the primary carrier.

There are special places for the conservation of wildlife, including snakes. When I recenlty took the wildlife drive at the Edwin Forthsythe National Wildlife Refuge, one snake was in the process of crossing the road, another, much smaller snake was getting ready to cross. I stopped the car both times and got out to take a closer look. I watched the snakes slither off into the brush and suddently dissappear. My problem is the lengths to which the state goes to "protect" the so-called endangered snakes. For example, loggers were (I'm not sure if they still are) not allowed to cut timer if there's a chance that they will disturb the snakes' love life. It's a matter of perspective. Some folks have a problem when someone wants to put in a road to relieve congestion and for the safety of a community when it just involves going through a 50 feet or so corridor through snake territory. Beam me up, Scotty!

In the case of wildlife preserves, humans and snakes can get along fine. At the Forsythe refuge, I could walk some trails and drive around the refuge and enjoy it. I went about my business and the snakes' theirs. That's more than I can say about nasty critters such as ticks, yellow jackets, greenheads, black flies and mosquitos. It would be nice if the state sprayed when the numbers of these varmits are high. And as far as mosquiots and West Nile Virus is concerned, bring back the DDT, an effective agent to control mosquitos and disease that, if used properly, has minimal effects on wildlife and none on humans. The problems that did occur in the past with DDT was the overuse of it, where it was broadcast indiscriminatly over large areas. DDT was demogogued to death.
 

westyvw

New Member
Dec 31, 1969
27
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Jeff, after reading most of your comments about how to manage the Pine Barrens, I think the best thing you could to is move to Alaska and never come back.