Monday, March 8, 2010

A little too much help

As a result of the recent heavy snowfall, a number of trees and limbs have created obstructions on many of the trails all across the sanctuary. A number of these obstructions have been identified and/or cleared on the Easy Loop, Catbird, Chickadee, Lost Pond, and Wood Thrush trails. If, during your visit, you discover trees, limbs, or other obstructions across a trail, please notify the sanctuary staff via phone, email, or making a note on the Visitor Sign-in sheet in the Kiosk. Please indicate the trail and approximate location of the obstruction so that we may be able to more efficiently clear the trail. We can't walk/monitor all the trails as frequently as we'd like to check for these occurrences and often rely on our visitors to alert us of any situation that needs to be attended to.

Until we are able to clear all obstructions from the trails, please carefully make your way around fallen trees, blow downs, etc to continue down the trail. We respectfully request that all visitors refrain from clearing any obstructions using hand shears, loppers, saws, or any other tools. At no time is anyone permitted to cut or remove vegetation from the sanctuary for any reason whatsoever. The sanctuary staff reserves the right and sole discretion to determine what, if anything, needs to be cut from dead, fallen, or live timber that may be obstructing or leaning into the trail. One exception is for any individuals out on the trail that may choose to move any detached branches or limbs to the side of the trail.

This announcement is due to a recent incident in which an overzealous, though well intentioned, individual completely cut large specimens of Spicebush and Witchhazel along a portion of the trails. Both of these species are highly valuable understory trees which are becoming increasingly rare throughout the sanctuary. These and other native shrubs (Blueberry, Pinkster Azalea, Viburums, etc) growing under the canopy of the forest provide vital food resources and nesting structures for a variety of bird species which themselves are declining due to loss of understory vegetation in the forests in our area. Though the cut specimens may have been leaning into or covering a portion of the trail due to stress from the heavy snowfall, this was no reason to cut any part or the entire tree. If warranted, we will carefully prune the tree or shrub in question or potentially reroute the trail in order to create a balance between safe trail access and the wildlife habitat we are managing and protecting throughout the entire sanctuary.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.
-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

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