For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays. So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!
My work schedule today called for me to drive 2 hours north, take part in a 1 hour meeting (which was actually really interesting and worthwhile but the drive kills me!), then drive 2 hours south only to get sucked into the hurricane that is the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – oh my, the jockeying for habitat restoration money is a sight to see! Anyway, my morning meeting’s focus was Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area (or WMA as we call it in the biz, pronounced “wama”, rhymes with Alabama. You are welcome for some fancy govermentese to impress your friends with!). I knew a mental break was needed between all the driving and the Sandy tasks that were waiting for me at the office, so I decided a lunch run at the WMA in question would be just the thing I needed to get through the afternoon. I was right! Gorgeous property that I need to further explore… and it also made me realize I should make more of an effort to see our state WMAs. I am familiar with some of them, but there are heaps I have never even heard of! Might try to make it “WMA Wednesdays” around these parts as often as possible!
Time to get our WMA on!
Stafford Forge has a lot of old cranberry bogs on site, which are just lovely!
Hi birds! I *think* these were Greater Yellowlegs. I saw them on the way out and on the way back I think I heard the GY call, but could not connect the two for sure. Either way, nice to see some birdies out and about!
Great trails to run around on – I tried some of the smaller ones off this main one, but they were a bit too undulating to be comfortable, like mogul running. No thanks! The main trails were just perfect tho’.
Fire is an incredibly important part of the Pine Barrens ecosystem. We all grew up with Smokey Bear telling us, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”. And did we ever! Fires were suppressed so long and so well in the Pine Barrens that we fundamentally started changing the system. Whoops! Many pine trees, like Pitch Pine, rely on fire to open their pinecones so they can reproduce and without fire, oak trees began to get a foothold. Frequent, small, natural fires (like from lightening strikes) also help keep the understory neat and tidy instead of being overrun with vines, leaves and branches that will fuel a fire into a huge event (which can be very dangerous for the humans living nearby). Today, forest ecologists purposely set “controlled burns” to help keep the forest healthy and keep the fuel level on the forest floor low. The black on these trees indicate there was a fire here, but I am unsure if it was of the natural or controlled persuasion. I suspect it might be natural because the burn line is often lower on the trunk of the tress I have seen that were controlled burned. I also vaguely remember a huge fire in this area from a few years back. Any opinions or memories of this?
Winter and I did pretty well today – there was some ice, but also plenty of water, which meant the temperatures were comfortable enough for me to really enjoy this run! Good compromising, winter!
What did you see on your run today?