The Pine Barrens Trail Center is open and ready for use. The hedges were trimmed and the shed was cleared of vines and invasive species. We aired out the Trail Center and found the key to post some fresh material in the kiosk. The BBQ grill looks fine as well as the picnic tables. We did more trail work and realized the need for invasive species management, as it's a nature center and should feature natives instead of garlic mustard and oriental bittersweet We need help for weed pulling and for redoing the handicap accessible trail (some kind of crushed concrete could be carted in and spread). For access, please contact Suffolk County Parks for a permit application, allow two weeks for processing time. See More Pictures
Quality Parks Board Member, Pamela Block, attended this week's meeting of the Rotary Club of Port Jefferson. She gave a presentation on Native Plants & Ecological Service. The purpose of the presentation was to form stronger connections and collaborations regarding continued native plantings in the Village of Port Jefferson.
A new idea for native plantings was discussed this past winter with Mindy Block (Quality Parks), Joy Cirigliano (Four Harbors Audubon Society), and Brian Macmillan (Village Golf Superintendent). They spoke about how to feature native plantings that would not only benefit bees, birds, and pollinators, but would also add value to the golf course with eco-friendly certification. Subsequently, Quality Parks spoke with Caren Markson (Village Gardener) for the ways and means to fundraise for continued native plantings.
Towards this end, Quality Parks contacted the Sandra Swenk (Suwasset Garden Club). The Garden Club became a Supporting Member and have requested a presentation as well (in the works). Quality Parks subsequently contacted Dennis Brennan and Bob Huttemeyer (Rotary Club of Port Jefferson) to arrange a presentation on July 11, 2017. All are welcome to support this charity effort for going native in the Village of Port Jefferson.
To print out the presentation, please go to Quality Parks CSA for Native Plants.
An inquiry was made to SC Parks as to where the main entrance is to R.C. Murphy County Park. We learned it was near Swan Lake. Several of us went to investigate. Public access has never been great and is now much worse.
There's a memorial rock with a plaque, but no typical SC Parks signage. The boat put in to Swan Lake is now on the main road. The turn in to the access road is hard to find, sandy, and twists.
That's kind of exciting, but after parking, the road to the lake is flooded in two spots, and the trail to the historic Cranberry Bog is nearly impassable, unless you're ready for a major full body tick infestation. There was a historic native blueberry patch planted in this location, and the adjacent home was once used by SUNY Stony Brook as a research station. Not sure what's happening now to either. Quality Parks is considering how to approach SC Parks to designate a more park friendly entrance either at the nearby the Pine Barrens Trail Center, or some other location. It would be nice to clean up this access point as well. Learn More
Paumanok Path & LI Regional Trails - Ken Kindler approached Quality Parks, MB, for a donation to Friends of Southampton Trails for his continued work of stewardship on behalf of the Paumanok Path. Charity fundraising is difficult. It's tied into marketing for a cause. Quality Parks is working on finding the original logo art work for a T-shirt and sponsors for this T-shirt. We're also working on getting the complete path online via Google Maps. Learn more
- An administrative road had been "upgraded" to a fire road. The magnitude of the impact and my honest response had troubled my sleep. Early the next morning I took pen to paper to work out my feelings.
- On May 23, I attended a meeting initiated by Mindy Block, of Quality Parks, to re-open Suffolk County's Raymond P. Corwin Pine Barrens Trail Center. It was unfortunately closed shortly after being dedicated in memory of Raymond P. Corwin in 2014. As Kara Hahn stated, "There is a group of people interested in using the building. The building is in good shape, so it should be open."
- At the federal public, the EPA's purpose is to: "encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation" , and to: provide "a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved, to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species" . Property rights advocates hold the belief that they can do whatever they want with their land, including privatizing public lands for their own personal profit. Is that why President Trump has an agenda to strip the EPA of its power? Connecting the dots is often mentioned by economist, Robert Reich, who recently explained that corporations are doing just fine with environmental regulations. These federal policies also effect public lands management.
- Met at Pine Barrens Trail Center, attending: Mindy Block, Kara Hahn, Al Krupski, Annelies Kamran, Jane Fasullo, Ken Kindler. A small group of us met at the Riverhead County Center last week to discuss the re-opening of the Trails Center in Manorville. As we introduced ourselves, I was flattered that Kara Hahn recognized me – saying “oh, you’re the guy who helped create the Forsythe Meadow Trail in Stony Brook.” That’s a 36-acre park dedicated to Nora Bredes, A Suffolk County Legislator who died after a long battle with breast cancer in August 2011 at the age of 60. Nora was a champion of drinking water protection and open space preservation.
The Pine Barrens would be paradise, if only there weren’t ticks. If you are alert, you can keep from coming in contact with poison ivy, but ticks are so small they can easily grab a ride with the means of conveyance never being the wiser. Some deer ticks and Lone Star ticks may carry diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis and Erlichiosis.
You can greatly reduce the risk of contracting these diseases by preparing for your hike in advance. For years, I have spent more time in the woods, than out. I periodically test for Lyme Disease, and have never contracted it. When I come home from the woods, I check my entire body for ticks. They grab on anywhere from the shoe laces to mid thigh. They then start traveling straight up, looking for a place to attach. Looking for them and flicking them away has become almost an unconscious act.
It has been my experience that DEET based insect repellents have little effect on ticks, so use a repellent containing permethrin and follow the directions. The instructions on the aerosol can that I purchased direct the user to apply the spray 4 hours prior to donning treated apparel. Spray your socks, sneakers, and pants. People with chemical allergies should seek medical advice regarding use of permethrin. Clear tape is useful for removing ticks from clothing. Also, quick wiping with a rag and isopropyl alcohol will remove large numbers of larval ticks from untreated surfaces.
Stay on paths and try not to brush against vegetation. It is common to see ticks near the ends of high grass. Inspect for ticks periodically. If you see a tick on your clothing, pluck it off and flick it into the woods. They are very “grabby” creatures so it takes a very determined flick to get them off your finger. Immediately before re-entering your vehicle, check yourself and have someone check you for ticks. To remove ticks that have attached, do not use petroleum jelly, a hot match, or other products. Use fine-pointed tweezers to grasp the tick at the place of attachment, as close to the skin as possible without crushing the tick. Gently pull the tick straight away from your body. According to the Center for Disease Control, if a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of contracting Lyme disease is extremely small. An itchy red spot always develops on me, even if the tick was only attached to the superficial layers of skin for a short time.
Mid to late July the larval ticks emerge. The Lone Star larval ticks hatch in large numbers and cause hikers to have mysterious bumps that itch for weeks. People have been calling them chiggers, but every sample I have sent to Suffolk County Vector Control has been identified as Lone Star ticks. It took me a while to develop a method for dealing with them, but it is effective. Wear light colored long pants, and light colored shirt and socks. I use women’s white knee-highs over my socks, because the smaller ticks will easily travel through the thick weave of treated athletic socks. Always tuck your pants into the socks, and shirt into pants.
Late last summer I treated my clothes as described above and started refreshing the paint on the yellow blazes heading southwest from the DEC 104 parking lot. The trail was nearly closed-in by blueberry and scrub oak even though several groups of volunteers trimmed the trail back in the early spring. As I walked through a portion of trail with dense lowbush blueberry plants rubbing against my pant legs I began to notice I was picking up splotches of red on my pants. When I looked closely, I realized the splotches were comprised of hundreds of tiny, dust size individual creatures.
If my pants had been untreated, they would have rapidly spread out looking for skin. After a short while, they would have become so spread out I wouldn’t have seen them. If I took my pants off in the house, without first putting them in the drier, they would have spread out, and hung around until they found a human or an animal. A women broke up with a friend of mine over this. Unfortunately, for my little six legged friends (in the larval stage they only have six legs, like mites), they landed on treated pants. They rapidly crawled on top of each other to avoid the permethrin-treated cloth and literally dripped off of my pants.
At one point my pants looked like they were splotched with red mud, but it all “dripped” off. When I returned home there were hundreds of dead “specks” in my shoes, between layers of socks and in the outer creases of my clothing, but I didn’t get a single bite. Find out from your trails organization what trails they have recently maintained. If you stay in the center of a well cut trail, you won’t pick up ticks. Often, a trail cut on either side will have a ribbon of grass in the middle. I find, when I maintain a trail, three passes with the mower, the last one in the middle of the trail is a prudent practice.
Quality Parks is a professional organization sponsoring projects to improve both business and environmental conditions by balancing social, economic and environmental concerns. We disseminate information, develop and provide experiential learning opportunities, and support efforts designed to stimulate, encourage, educate, and involve the general public in natural resource stewardship practices. We are a federally registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, since 2000, based on Long Island, NY.
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