Friday, June 21, 2013

Cuyahoga Valley NP Week 4

Horse Trailblazer on patrol!

I started this week off working with Kiel again. We went to one of the trailheads and happened to run into 2 trailblazers on horse patrol. The trailblazers are a volunteer organization that patrol the trails throughout the park either on foot, bike, or horse. They have some medical training and are the "eyes and ears" for VRP. They look out for the people and the land to make sure everything is going smooth and if there is a problem they let dispatch know so we can come out. They are very important to the park! Finding the horse trailblazers at the trailhead was a great opportunity to get a chance to talk to them about the program from their end.

Becky and horse Cricket getting ready for patrol

    I got a chance to hike part of the Buckeye trail. The Buckeye Trail is a trail that runs 1,444 miles through the state of Ohio. It runs right through the park before splitting off and going south or west. It is marked by the light blue blaze The trail is not as maintained as some of the trails in the park, but I found that to be very enjoyable about it.

Blue Blaze marking Buckeye Trail
   I got a chance Saturday morning to ride along with Rose Akins, staff Ranger who manages the permits. If there is an event going on at the park, the people running it need to get a permit to use the park. Rose takes care of allowing the legitimate events to go on that are safe and planned out, and not granting permission if need be. Today there was the weekly farmers market at Howe Meadow that occurs every Saturday morning during the summer. Local farmers bring their produce for purchase and many people love to come for the freshest food around. This same morning there was a charity run going on in the park, right around where the farmers market is. Patrolling the race with Rose was very interesting as she could point out many things I would not have thought about when it comes to safety, and some of the rules there are especially when it comes to the runners running on the street where there is still traffic, and the best way to go about that and many other factors one would normally not even think about.
Beaver art at Virginia Kendall Lake.           Turtle model shot at the Beaver Marsh!

As I was on foot patrol checking out some of the areas of the park I got a chance to spend more time at the Beaver Marsh.  I was here briefly the other week with Kiel on a bike patrol, but this time I walked in so I got a chance to talk to more of the visitors, as I myself was fascinated by the wildlife. The Beaver Marsh is one of the most wildlife abundant spots in the park. I was very surprised to learn that it used to be a junkyard about two decades ago, but thanks to the Portage Group of the Sierra Club, they cleaned it up. Then some time after that some beavers moved in and damed it up, creating the Beaver Marsh! Now there is so much wildlife around it, it has even been cited as an Important Bird Area by the National Audobon Society. You can always find a bird watcher along the boardwalk, if not a whole group, as well as many photographers, interpretive walks and talks led by rangers, regular passerbyers biking or jogging, and yet peace and quiet.

On Sunday I was with Mary Dyer patroling the park in the morning when we happened to notice a box next to the bathroom. We figured it was probably just a box of garbage someone dumped, but when we approached the box and noticed it was taped shut, we realized it was probably something else. When we tapped the box we heard a single 'meow!'. Opening the box expecting one kitten, we found eleven! There was no mother with them, and they were only days old except for the one that meowed was a little older, enough to climb out of the box in the cruiser while we were driving! We took the kittens back to the station and tried giving them food but they needed to be bottle fed because they were so young. After we tried doing all we could for them we took them to the Humane Society who thankfully took them all. These eleven beautiful kittens just need some care and I am sure they will be adopted as soon as they are ready.

The little rascal that tried to escape!

-Jackie Innella

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