Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Friday, December 23, 2011

Solstice gathering

Last night, there was a small gathering to celebrate the winter solstice. After a lot of good conversation and some amount of wine, I noticed that the weather forecast had been a little off: we were having a light drizzle.

Still, no bother: as the night progressed and as people left, C.N. and I lit a small yule fire (mostly chopped wood, and not a full yule log) in the fire circle and ruminated upon various points of life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Coyotes yipping

... a LOT for some reason when I arrived back at the forest. Unfortunately, like all my coyote encounters, I didn't get a chance to pull out my camera to get a recording before they quieted down again. A part of me wonders what it was that worked them up so, but a larger part of me is telling me that I probably don't need to go wandering in the dark forest toward coyotes if I don't actually have to do so.

Foggy Morning

Gloomy would be a good description of this very misty morning. The crow-calls didn't really alleviate the feeling, either.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bird-watch list

The following birds were observed in Saginaw Forest on Saturday, December 17 from 1:00-2:15pm:
Thanks to J.S. for sharing this year's bird count for Saginaw Forest. (Birds ordered based on families, with square brackets indicating my personal assumption of species.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Birders and a new dusting of snow

I woke up (very) late today, and a dusting of snow had already settled on Saginaw Forest. I guess we're back in winter again?

In speaking with some people at the U, I know that there are going to be birders out in the forest today. I wonder what they'll find here, and whether the past days of warmer-than-average weather will mean a different assemblage (both here and in the area).

Thursday, December 15, 2011


The warm weather of the past 36 hours has been quickly turning back toward freezing, and although the rain had stopped several hours ago, things are still quite damp. This morning, too, much of the 1/2" of rain and melted snow had caused the vernal creek to go flowing again. By the time I had left home (indeed by the time I had woken up), all the snow had melted and the sheet of ice that had stared to form on Third Sister lake were gone. (Too, the ice on the frog pond was also gone.)

As I rode back this evening, the wind had picked up to gusts of 35 mph (55 kph), and I heard a couple of trees breaking and falling as I rode through the dark to the cabin. I'll have to check on the main road tomorrow morning to ensure that none of those downed trees are actually across the road. Although a part of me knew that the loud crack-crack-craaaaack sound was too far away to actually be of a danger to me, the fact that such a large tree was falling - and that I was surrounded by similarly large trees all subjected to the same winds - made me cycle just a little bit faster for the clearing in front of the cabin.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Quiet(ish) Sunday

Today, I noticed that there were a lot of ducks on the pond. They weren't there yesterday, and I wonder if they are going to be there tomorrow. I wonder if it was because the now-quickly-cooling temperatures are causing a last group of ducks (and geese) to shift southward.

Ducks on the water

IMG_1442The south side of the lake is icing up, with the ice sheet slowly crawling outward over the open water, up to edge of the tree shade. Will there be a sheet of ice by next weekend? Well, if the nighttime temperatures actually keep dropping well below freezing, then I would say that it's likely!

I also found that - before the snows of Wednesday night - there was an ash tree that had fallen on the boardwalk. Ooops. Gotta go chop that up. But when I got to the boardwalk, I decided that - instead of trying to make it into firewood - I would merely chop it away, because I didn't want to risk ruining the boardwalk with a careless swipe of the chainsaw. After that, I decided to take the wheelbarrow (I had put the chainsaw in the wheelbarrow to preserve my arm - that thing gets heavy to tote) around to the other side of the lake, to chop up some fallen trees that I had been meaning to get to.

After taking out an old felled ash tree, I noticed that the chainsaw was getting significantly more blunt than earlier. Damnable ash: you are such a hardwood to cut! (Pun intended.) So I spent about an hour sharpening the saw and filing to the (hopefully) correct depth.

I really hope that I don't have to deal with too many more ash trees. They are slowly falling; most not across a pathway. However, it remains the most felled tree in the forest these past few months.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chopped up tree

Wood pile!Spent 2.5 hours chopping up the tree. The main bole of the tree is still spanning the creek, and I am worried about it. I'll likely have to chop it up so that it doesn't cause an eventual erosion hazard in the creek.

It was another ash. The past four fallen trees that I chopped up or cut out of pathways were all ash trees. Too: some ash trees have partially fallen, are lying against still standing trees.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Snow and tree downed

IMG_1407A large tree fell across the creek and the path; much larger than I can actually do safely on my own. I called for the big guns; we'll see how long it takes for them to get there.

Also... snow again. This time about 1-2 inches in the front lawn. I guess it really is winter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

No smoking in the forest

smoke-free campusSince January 2011, the University of Michigan instituted a No Smoking rule for all their properties, which includes Saginaw Forest.

We just got the sign just last week, and although there is only one that is placed at the gate, I would hope that the rule makes a good deal of sense, and that there needn't be any further additional warnings about having burning things in a forest.

The rule is quite easy to follow: no smoking in the forest.

For more information as to why this property is included (as well as other information about the initiative) in the University of Michigan's smoking ban, check out the U's smoke-free initiative Q&A page.

New thermostat

IMG_1402Today, a very personable guy from Plant Operations (Tom) came out to fix the furnace. The thermostat was faulty, because the alcohol in its bulb had evaporated. Unfortunately, Tom couldn't find an exact replacement for it, and so he replaced it with an industrial grade one that actually has a temperature setting.

This is a nice addition to the furnace, since the previous temperature nob was quite ... annoying: I never knew what a 1/2 setting was supposed to mean.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Updates more "from the records"

Updated the records from Nov 2006 through April 2007.

'Electronic' fishing is rapidly becoming surest way to find fish

Waaay back 1977, the Lakeland Ledger (Lakeland, FL) printed up a story about the new-fangled technology of using electronic gizmos to find fish. In this case, sonar units:
Sonar units are essential to locating most of the concentration points for fish... if you intend to do it in less than a lifetime!
What does this have to do with Saginaw Forest, though? Well, the article closes with a citation of a study that looked at dispersal of bluegill released in Third Sister Lake:
This inclination [of bluegill] not to wander [that was proposed by an Indiana study] was confirmed in another study on Third Sister Lake in Michigan. Of 27 bluegills marked, released, and later caught 12 had not moved at all and 15 had traveled less than 125 feet from their point of capture. Bluegills are just homebodies, it seems.
I can't speak to the methodology of the study (such as how did they track the fish, how did they account for bathymetry, what was their time interval between release and recapture, was Third Sister Lake effectively cut off hydrologically (when the lake level is low, almost no water flows west through the wetlands and into the adjacent property's pond), etc), but it's interesting to note that people had been doing fish behavior observational studies on Third Sister Lake. Perhaps more can be done in the future.

More snow

IMG_1387It appears that we are settling into winter. (Finally.) Snow is on the ground, and it's still below freezing (if only just) at 10 am. The roadway will soon have to be plowed, since (even with solar heating in sections) it will remain too cold to retain enough heat to melt whatever falls on top of it. Currently, this is the only reason why the main road remains uncovered: it was just warm enough to melt the snow as it fell.

Currently waiting for a response from Plant Operations to determine when they'll be coming out to the forest to repair the thermostat in the heater.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Updating past log entries

The caretaker log entries from October 2006 have been included on the blog.

Parking at Saginaw Forest (the short version)

There is no public parking at the facility.

Go to Westview Way and park on the street.

There are no exceptions to the rule. Those who have a gate key or are part of an official event are considered to be on official business and may park at the designated parking place(s) at the cabin.

If researchers (or instructors) can park their vehicle(s) in such a way so as to permit other vehicles to pass, then they don't have to park their vehicle(s) at the cabin.

Even if you are doing research in the facility, you still cannot park at the gate. (NO PARKING means NO PARKING.)

If you would like to report a person who is parking illegally, please call the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety at (734) 763-1131.

Thank you. 

Minor groundskeeping Monday

The forecast for this week seemed to show that today would be the last day -- in the near future - that would be above freezing, and with all the snow melted (and a light drizzle), I decided to take the opportunity to do some small amount of groundskeeping.

I raked the leaves along the trail that that heads north along the creek. LOTS of leaves were piling up, making dirt over the gravel. This causes a slippery path, and also obscures the width of the path itself. I raked up to where the path turns almost due east; up to where there's a small pipe that goes under the path. I raked out all the leaves from the drainage area "uphill" of the pipe. (I had excavated that opening last spring when all the rain and snowmelt started to run down the pathway, eroding it.) Keeping that pipe open is an important part of maintaining that section of trail. (Too, raking away the leaves will diminish the amount of soil accumulation on that section of path.)

I cut away a tree that had fallen into the creek just upstream of the last remaining weir. Had the tree merely straddled the creek, I wouldn't have bothered, but it was lying in the creek bed, forcing a localized scour, which -- when the inevitable snowmelt and rains were to come -- could cause the start of some bad erosion on that section. I also pulled away a lot of the accumulated leaf litter downstream of the weir's spashpool. They had been crammed into the crevasses between the small boulders and driftwood that had been pushed downstream by past floodings. My hand also found a nail (ouch) in among it all. Hopefully, the amount that I removed will facilitate the water flow so that it won't all be concentrated at one small point. Still, because my hand found the nail, I had to cut the work short. (I hope that tetanus shot was a good one!)

S.Jones also came out to pick up some brick pavers in his truck. He also took a look at the soil buildup on the north side of the cabin. He agreed with my concern that leaving the soil accumulation alone would not be a good long-term strategy, and commented that it would be a small project to have a team come out, remove some small trees, regrade the slope, and install a collector drain to move the water that is in the ground away from the cabin. What's more, his plan seems to minimize the amount of construction (and maintenance of that construction) that would be needed. Which I think would be a good thing for future caretakers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finishing up the boardwalk

Speaking with some of the project contractors, it presently looks like there will be an addition of a rail along the section of boardwalk that goes over open water. This will conform with ADA regulations. Hopefully, it will also tie in aesthetically.

Also, it looks like gravel will not be put down until the spring - unless there is a major snow-melt and dry-out (while staying above freezing) before then. Therefore, I'll likely have to make up some signage along the lines of, "Pathway unfinished; proceed at your own risk." Or something.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


IMG_1373First (significant) snow of the season. Hopefully some will stick around tonight (ought to with the temperatures the way they seem to be set to be), and then I can get a nice photo in the morning.

Recounting last week

Tuesday: Picked up the lawnmower and chainsaw from Larry's Mower Shop. Fantastic repair and maintenance job!

Wednesday: Processed repair and maintenance receipts at the U. They have a new system is fully automated. Unfortunately, it took longer for me to figure out the system than it did to actually fill in the requisition. However, the repayment is posting through far faster than the 4-6 weeks of the old system.

Cut the rest of the ashThursday: Cut out the felled ash trees north of the boardwalk as well as the larger one across the main path. The chainsaw really cut that stuff up nice and easy, thanks to the repair. Moved seven wheel-barrow loads of ash wood to the barn. Now I've got a bit of wood that can start to dry out for the winter.

(compare this to when I had to leave it before the chainsaw seized up)

I am thankful on this day for people who follow the rules, even on holidays (because the rules do still stand on the holidays). Went to a house of some friends for Thanksgiving, and returned at about 1am.

Friday: Woke up late from the Thanksgiving coma. Stayed in as a tacit boycott of "Black Friday".

Saturday: Had to inform some people that Saginaw Forest is a research facility and not a park, no matter what they might think it is, or thought it was over the years. Yes, it's been a research facility since before you were born (unless you happen to have been born before 1904), and it's never been a park. Then went to watch the game (gotta love that win over Ohio State).

Sunday: Chopped some wood, sharpened the axe, then went to town.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Water sampling in Saginaw Forest

Today is water-sampling day. At 8:30, a water sample was taken from the cabin tap for bacteria and nitrates. Following that, at 9:00, a water sample was taken from the cabin tap for dioxane measurement.

The crew that was testing for bacteria an nitrates will be going to all the University of Michigan properties that are on wells (apparently there are 8 other UofM properties that are on wells other than the SNRE properties of Saginaw Forest, Stinchfield Woods, and the Newcomb Tract).

The dioxane sampling in the 11 wells in the forest will take place throughout today, with the cabin sample being representative of the well up by the gate (which is where the cabin water comes from).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chainsaw ... seized up

Trying to clear more of that fallen ash tree, and about five minutes into it, the chainsaw seized up. It's off to Larry's Mower Shop with it tomorrow for a repair. I'll also be taking the lawnmower there to have it tuned up as well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How long are the trails in Saginaw Forest?

Three loopsWith the completion of the boardwalk structure (and the hopefully quick completion of the connecting pathway), there is a new loop path within Saginaw Forest. The figure to the left is based on a compilation of paths taken using my (rather basic) GPS unit, and as such, it should not be considered an official map of the paths in Saginaw Forest. It does, however, illustrate the three distinct loops that people can walk within the property: Northern loop (~0.5 mi), Third Sister Lake loop (~0.8 mi) and Southern loop (~0.75 mi).

What isn't shown is the walking path through the "Arboretum" section of the facility, where the wooden "teepee" stands. This little detour doesn't add that much to the length of the Third Sister Lake loop.

The pathways are not absolutely correct, because my GPS unit isn't the best one that money can buy (I'm just a poor grad student, after all), and, because of this, the tree cover seriously hampers the ability of the unit to get a good fixed signal. Also, the lengths are rough estimates, made by using the distance tool in Google Earth. Still, I think that it does a good job of showing the rough distances that each of the three (!) loops are.

The length of the "outer loop" is roughly 1.3 mi.
The distance from the gate to the cabin is roughly 0.45 mi.
Distance from the gate to the cabin and along the "outer loop" (returning to the cabin) and then back to the gate is roughly (0.45 mi +1.3 mi +0.45 mi) 2.2 mi.

Now, if someone wanted to do an interactive and informative map of Saginaw Forest to take with you on that 2.2 mile trek, that would be awesome!

Lovely evening view

IMG_1177The evening view from the boardwalk is quite nice, indeed. I stopped on the boardwalk last night while taking back some more cut ash to take this photo, complete with overhanging branches of a largish buckthorn. I don't know if I should be trying to take out the buggers or not; they have become rather ubiquitous along the shoreline, no doubt due to being shat out by all the birds that eat these diarrhea-inducing berries. Too, as many of them have matured to berry-bearing state, I doubt that I would be able to actually stem (heh-heh-heh) their spread too much: future caretakers will have to continue to keep an eye out for new recruits.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cut about seven feet of fallen ash

IMG_1176An ash tree had fallen just north of the new boardwalk, and this one was -- large though it was -- small enough for me to handle with my chainsaw (unlike the one that fell further north on the old pathway). Still, these ash trees are hard to remove. I had to top up the chainsaw twice before I got it all done, and I'll have to sharpen the chainsaw. Still, it's a good little bit of an addition to my firewood.

The path is now open, although not fully cleared. I was unable to finish clearing the whole path before dusk, and I didn't really relish the idea of using a chainsaw in the dark while standing on a muddy path.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weather nice for this weekend.

The weather is supposed to get into the 50s this weekend. That should be nice: another weekend of trekking around the forest before it will (likely; finally) get to be late-November cold.

It's surprising how many of the invasive trees and shrubs are still holding on to green leaves. I think that I will try to chop some more of them back now that they stand out all the more... They should turn into nice firewood.

Also, the old wooden retaining wall immediately to the east of the cabin is finally in terminal-failure condition. However, unless I build something soon, I'll likely have to wait until the spring to get onto it (and hope that not too much erosion happens in the meantime). Maybe I can build up something with the bricks? Hrm....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bricks used for Dana Building

Landscape Architecture professor S. Jones came out this morning to take a bunch of brick pavers for use in the redesigned Dana garden. He may take some more later. However, most of two pallets have been taken. Their re-use is a good thing. I wish that I could find more uses for them.

Engineers in the forest

Another semester, and another bunch of engineers came to the forest for initiation. Small fire and some chanting under the full moon. Happily, they were able to burn off some of the brush that I cleared last week.

Mice in the cabin again

Argh. It must be fall. Not because the leaves are mostly off the trees. Not because the weather is (finally) getting cold enough to put frost on the window. But because there are mice once again in the cabin. I've put the traps back out, but I have to find something better than peanut butter to put on the snap-traps: the buggers just nibble it out softly enough that it doesn't actually trigger the trap.

I continue to use the live traps, though.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Board walk completed, but...

The structure of the boardwalk itself is completed. It's actually quite a nice structure, and will make walking around the forest a lot nicer: the views of the lake are quite good.

The only construction portion of the project is the creation of the gravel path on the north side of the boardwalk, connecting it to the path.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Boardwalk planking done -- low railing to be installed

IMG_1111The boardwalk planking is effectively finished, and they are starting in on doing the low rail that will run the length of both sides. (The rail isn't going a hand rail, but something more like a low guard rail about 4" high that runs along the length of the boardwalk; a rail very similar to that on the dock.) I asked about the depth of the screw anchors used in the boardwalk area, keeping the idea of the amount of muck found in that area in mind. The guys told me that most of the anchors had to drill through 20 feet of unconsolidated muck after punching through the root mat and before reaching hard ground. That's a lot of distance between root and ground!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

IMG_0904I saw an end-of-the-season monarch butterfly. The wave of warm weather brought out a last hurrah of insects. 

Axes are sharp, silly!

IMG_0925I was chopping wood for (future) firewood, and I stumbled with one chop, and thump! it went onto my foot, puncturing my shoe. Oh, shit. I took off my shoe (which was perforated) and checked the sock: no cut there and no obvious bleeding, but it kinda hurt. Still, I finished chopping up the wood (more carefully), brought it back to the barn, piled it in the barn, and walked back to the house.

Taking off my sock, I noticed that the skin was split where the axe hit it. Luckily the cut wasn't any stronger!

Setting up for SNRE Campfire

This Friday (day after tomorrow) is SNRE's annual Campfire event. On Monday, I mowed the lawn back.
Yesterday, the pumpkins (for carving)
Pumpkins for 2011 campfire
and the straw bales (for sitting around the campfire)
Straw bales
were delivered. Today, water (for drinks), the port-a-johns (for 'evacuation'),
the tent (for covering the food), tables (for placing food upon) and lights (for illumination, of course)
 were all delivered. Tomorrow, the caterer comes at around noon and student volunteers will be showing up at around 1:30 to help with various things that need to be done (including hauling and setting up a log for the saw competition, collecting more wood, and chopping up some of the bigger stuff). I hope that things go as well tomorrow as they have been going so far (knock on wood).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Boardwalk coming along

I had a look at the boardwalk progress this morning, having returned from an out-of-town trip. The pathway of the boardwalk had been flayed and the pilings had been sunk. Today George and Eric were starting on the wood. I doubt that the structure will be done by the end of the week, but we'll see I suppose.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mowed lawn, seeded (some more)

This morning, I re-seeded part of the lawn, using up the rest of the grass seed that I purchased a few weeks ago. Hopefully, there will be some rain to germinate them (and let them grow enough before the campfire). The morning dew these days does gather and stay for much of the time.

Then, this afternoon (after doing some errands), I mowed back the lawn. That sucker's really growing quite fast now that it's not hot and dry. I've got to think that the regular trimming helps out, too, but that might be some wishful thinking on my part.

About two hours of work today.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A day in history: Student outrage over 1,4 Dioxane

Way back on March 1, 1988, The Michigan Daily published an unsigned opinion piece about the 1,4 dioxane that was discovered under Saginaw Forest:
Polluters should pay
In 1986, 60 families living near the Gelman Science facility on Wagner Road in Ann Arbor were put on bottled water because dangerous levels of 1,4-dioxane were found in their wells by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It was also found that the chemical had been leaking into the groundwater beneath the Saginaw forest.
Numerous studies have shown that dioxane causes cancerous tumors in rats. It was also linked to birth defects at the Love Canal, a chemical dump.
Gelman has since hired three law firms to help them fight a State lawsuit for damages resulting from their irresponsible handling of dioxane. The company's lawyers have been trying every trick in the book to absolve Gelman of the blame.
Gelman's tactics are contradictory. Gelman refuses to admit that dioxane is harmful to people. At the same time, they maintain that Gelman is not at fault for damages resulting from dioxane because Dow chemical company, where Gelman obtained the dioxane, did not properly instruct them on how to handle it.
Whether or not Dow provided the proper instructions, it is ludicrous for Gelman to play the innocent victim in this case. The evidence suggests that Gelman knew that they were doing something wrong, and that they did it anyway. A company does not create the second worst toxic waste site in the state of Michigan by accident, according to the EPA.
  • Gelman has known that there was a problem with the way they were disposing of dioxane for a long time. At least three times since February of 1981, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) distributed memos warning that dioxane was carcinogenit, and that the chemical could leak from its sewage lagoon and spray irrigation system into the groundwater.
  • Two former employees of Gelman told the Ann Arbor News that they had been told to dump chemicals in what they thought was an improper manner.
  • The company resisted performing studies and installing monitoring equipment that could have detected groundwater contamination before toxic chemical wastes migrated off company property.
  • Gelman sprayed wastewater onto company land without a permit starting in 1972. It did not receive a permit for doing this until 1976, and this permit did not allow for spraying dioxane.
  • Gelman has been extremely slow to deliver important data to the DNR. In July 1986, a hose carrying wastewater ruptured, spillint 18,000 gallons into the ground. Gelman didn't inform the DNR for 10 days, and the spill has still not been cleaned up.
Gelman exists to make a profit, and proper disposal of toxic waste costs money. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to monitor the activities of the private sector, and watchdogs such as the DNR lack the resources to deal with all the companies that are threatening people's health and lives. Moreover, it is the companies that can afford to hire the most lawyers, as well as the most expensive ones.
Everybody knows that a corporation will try to get away with whatever it can. But it has to be hoped that this will be one of those rare cases in which the company will be forced to clean up its own deadly, multi-million dollar mess.
Today, this remains an interesting piece of the history of Saginaw Forest. The caretaker back in 1987 wrote an entry about the "Gelman thing" -- something uncharacteristic in the tone of his entries (which mostly focus on stuff occurring inside the forest, and not wider issues). The relationship between the University of Michigan and PALL Life Science (who acquired Gelman several years ago) is normalized, and the extent to things that I've had to deal with PALL and 1,4-dioxane is quarterly monitoring visits from their techs and conversing with the security firm they hire to ensure that they know when SNRE students will be parking in their lot for the Homecoming campfire events. The only additional thing to this is when several monitoring wells were sporadically drilled from August 2010 until March 2011 (four sets of well holes drilled, three sets of wells installed). Hopefully, the "Gelman thing" will continue (with regard to Saginaw forest) to resolve itself into the future.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Humidifier helping

Although no longer so hot, it remains relatively humid, and the dehumidifier is working to keep up. Today, I emptied out the 50-pint reservoir (6.25 gallons, 23.6 liters) that was emptied only two days ago. It keeps the interior of the cabin relatively dry and definitely mold and mildew free.

... there it goes again, cycling on.

Origin of Saginaw Forest

Looking at a Google timeline for "Saginaw Forest", I came up with the following newspaper article from The Evening Argus on February 9, 1904:
The Saginaw Forest Farm
Eighty acres of land has been given to the University of Michigan to serve the needs of the department of forestry. The gift was made by Arthur Hill, of Saginaw, agent of the university, and one of the citizens of the state most active in the lumbering operations now nearly closed by the failure of the timber supply. This land will, it is hoped, be of great assistance in studies that shall in time result in reforestering those parts of Michigan and neighboring states that cannot more profitably be devoted to other purposes. The tract is situated a little over a mile west of Ann Arbor, about half a mile from an electric railway line. It is a typical piece of the low hilly land of the drift district, and contains as geart [sic] a variety of topographical and soil conditions as could probably be found in an area of this size. Its soils vary from heavy clay to sandy gravel, and in addition to its many other good features it contains a lake of clear water, 40 or 50 feet deep and covering 12 acres.
The tract is to serve as an object lesson in forestry and is planned to provide for: --
  1. An arboretum of all useful forest trees suited to Michigan.
  2. Demonstration areas for seed bed and nursery work.
  3. Model plantation of forest trees.
  4. Special experiment in forestry, such as the various methods of propagation of special kind [sic] of timber and the raising of particular kinds of forest poduct [sic], as well as for other practical purpose.
Owing to the important part that Saginaw has had in the lumber industry, the track has been christened "The Saginaw Forest Farm." -- U. of M. News letter.
Of the four points listed above, numbers 1 and 4 are really all that can be said to be continued from this original set of "object lessons in forestry". However, it's an interesting thing to come across the (I presume) original press release for the forest.

For those interested in the mention of the electric trolley (that was established before 1904, obviously), doing another web search for "electric trolley" and "Ann Arbor", I found a link to a book, Electric Trolleys of Washtenaw County, which describes their rise (in the 1890s) and fall (in the 1920s), to be replaced by buses.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

LOTS of rain

Loads of rain fell this afternoon and evening. It -- luckily -- didn't bring down any trees along the road. I really didn't want to rev up the chainsaw while fighting against mosquitoes at the same time. ... while standing in the rain. (On the plus side, I had obtained a car jack, which will allow me to get some leverage on downed trees so that they don't pinch the blade of the saw while trying to cut through them.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mowed grass, kayak picked up

I came back home this afternoon and mowed the grass. Hopefully, all this mowing after the rains will help "thicken" the grass so that it will be more robust for the end-of-October homecoming event. The re-seeded area is coming back S-L-O-W-L-Y... Oh well, perhaps it will get better as the rains come more frequently.

Also, this afternoon, E.W. came by to pick up his wooden sea kayak. We had a chat about various things as the mosquitoes buzzed around us, battered by the wind in order to get a blood meal. The kayak was stored in the barn for several years, and I hope that E.W. can find a place to store it.

There are also several shoots of purple loosestrife coming in around the lake... Urgh. Maybe I'll get some students to come out at the beginning of the semester.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Biting flies and purple loosestrife

The weather is perfect for all the biting flies that are buzzing around throughout the forest in the late afternoon. It makes maintenance annoyingly "piquant", and it makes me not actually want to do things outside, despite the lowered temperatures.

... and that's a bad thing, since I have noted several clumps of purple loosestrife around the lawn (near the lake) as well as in the wetland on the west side of the property. Without removing them, they will just take over the area in a few years, and -- as "lovely" as the flowers may seem to some -- their larger-picture problem (of taking over an area) far outweigh the "beauty" of their flowers. (In case it wasn't clear, I don't agree with the perception that they look nice. True, they look nicer than some other flowering plants, but they are -- to me -- far from pretty.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nope: fishing isn't allowed...

The other day, I met three gentlemen who were fishing in the lake. Although they had a state fishing permit, that is not adequate. I discussed these points with the men, and they were very happy to comply, moving -- presumably -- to fish at Fist and Second Sister Lakes.

There is a nice large sign on the south side of the lake that informs people that fishing is not allowed. (There is also plenty of notification of this point online, but not everyone researches things before coming out to the forest.) Just because there isn't a sign on the north side of the lake does not make it allowable there. As the sign says: No Fishing.

If you want to fish in Third Sister Lake, here is the long and the short of it: Unless you are doing sanctioned research, it is illegal, the police may be called, and you may be issued with penalties.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pulling water out of the air

Although the temperatures in the forest are a few degrees lower than at the road, the forest's very breathing means that the forest is VERY humid, and in the cabin, keeping the dehumidifier going is the only thing that allows me to sleep at night. Of course, the dehumidifier is pulling out lots and lots of water: about 5 pints/hour. Of course, this could be decreased if the cabin were made more air-tight. Ah well, at least it looks like the heat's broken.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rains, heat, and the cabin

The heat of last week was hardly bearable, even though the forest remains a few degrees cooler than in town. I had to retreat to the coolness of the downstairs, keep the use of the stove to a minimum, and run the dehumidifier (because at least it would be a "dry heat").

The rains have helped bring down the night-time temperatures, although it also brought a surfeit of humidity, which means that I have to make the choice of damp-and-slightly-cooler versus dry-and-slightly-warmer. I've been choosing the latter, in light of my dislike for mold.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Odd white oil on the surface of TSL

I walked outside today and noticed that there was something on the surface of the lake. At first, I thought that it was some ripples from the breeze, but then it was shaped in the wrong way, and it also wasn't rippling. Indeed, it just seemed to sit there on the surface of the water.

Going out on the dock didn't help much, either, except to recognize that it was definitely something on the surface (or just below) out toward the middle of the lake, and -- from what I could tell from there -- nowhere else in the lake. "Hrm.... Hopefully it's not pollution," I thought to myself. Best get into a boat to check out what it was.

I got oars out of the barn, pulled out one of the boats, and paddled slowly out to the white slick. As I approached it, the slick seemed to disappear as its whiteness became muddled with the reflection of the sky. On went the polarized lenses and I saw that it, indeed, was something floating just under the surface.

Looking out over the lake, I also noticed that there was a rippling on the water, and this, too, was something not being kicked up by the wind. Intrigued -- a small part of the back of my mind thinking of lake monsters -- I paddled slowly to that stationary rippling.

As I approached, pulled the oars out the water and peered over the edge of the boat.... and there were what looked like bass -- a shoal of them -- swimming together near the surface, and -- as I approached -- the group swam away from the boat, away off to another part of the lake.

I don't know what that white substance was, but it wasn't actually oily on the surface, but just below it. Perhaps some milt or other spawning juices...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Fishing, No Swimming in Third Sister Lake

The sign stands at the entrance to the dock: "Please No Fishing, Swimming." It's old and hand-made. And it's more than just kitch art: it's part of the rules of use of the property.

If people wish to swim in a lake, then I wish that they would find a lake that isn't Third Sister Lake.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Coyotes in the forest

I got a call this morning to let me know that there are coyotes (a mother and her litter) in the forest. They startled her, and the mother started to keen at the woman and her dog.

As a forested area, it's not surprising that wildlife would use this area as a refuge, and -- what with seeing two coyotes during the winter -- I'm not too surprised that they have had a litter.

Other semi-cryptic animals that are native to the area that I've seen in the woods are foxes, deer, possum, groundhog, and turkey in the woods (no sign of the wild pigs though), as well as some rather odd (non-native) animals as well (a peacock and a muscovy duck).

Right now, I'm not going to take any measures against the coyotes. They are primarily crepuscular, and most people are not going to be around while they are out and about. People do have to remember, though, that Saginaw Forest is not managed for public recreation, but for ecosystem research. Hopefully, it will be another reason for people to keep their dogs on-leash.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Turkeys again

This time, I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye while inside and saw a turkey chick clambering up the retaining wall just outside the window. I was able to take a short video before the mother took all three chicks further away from the cabin and path.

So, at least now I know that I have a breeding pair out here. Exciting!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nope, Saginaw Forest is still not a dog park

I came across two women with their four dogs off-leash. One of the two said that she had been told that Saginaw Forest is a dog park.

uuuuuhhh.... nope. Not a dog park, which is why there are all the "All dogs must be on leashes" signs around the property.

If you want to take your dog to a dog park, then they are quite easy to find on Google:

  • Copper Leaf Dog Park (3.9 miles south @ Ann Arbor-Saline & Pleasant Lake)
  • Olson Dog Park (5.0 miles northwest @ 1551 Dhu Varren Road)
  • Swift Run Dog Park (6.1 miles southeast @ Platt & Ellsworth)
  • Paw Run Rec Area (8.1 miles north @ 6660 Zeeb Road)
A brief description of the parks can be found at the Ann Arbor Dog website.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Boardwalk plans moving forward

The contractors for the boardwalk came out today for a site visit. It looks like the plan's going forward.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Berm Fixed

During the heavy rains and winds of May, the berm that went to the north side of the property ended up being washed out.

Washed out berm

Today, U-M Plant Operations came out and fixed the berm by filling it in with lots of new gravel.

Fixed Berm

It isn't packed down, but I'm sure that having a few researchers drive over it will help.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The "trifecta"

There aren't that many rules of public use in Saginaw Forest, but yesterday, I encountered a group of 18-20-somethings who appeared to either bey really trying to break them or were completely oblivious of them.

I was doing rounds at 6 when I encountered a dog walker who said that there were three guys that were fishing on the north side of the lake. Yeesh. So, I knew to keep an eye out for them. Sure enough, there they were, getting ready to start fishing, a bag of beers in the water, and one opened. I informed them that they were not allowed to fish in Third Sister Lake (mono-fecta), were on the property after public-access hours (di-fecta), were drinking alcoholic beverages on university property (tri-fecta). (I suppose if they really wanted to shoot for more, they could have had their dogs off-leash, camping, cutting trees, hunting, burning wood, and riding horses and/or ATVs, too.)

They said that they didn't know that they were on university property (however, I question this assertion, since it turns out that at least one of them lives nearby). However, they were willing to leave, informing two of their friends (who were just showing up) that they couldn't actually stay and had to go somewhere else.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oof-dah! TONS of rain.

The creek is swollen and beige with sediment, flowing into Third Sister Lake. I wonder how many trees will fall tonight...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Work day recap

It was all-in-all a pretty good day: four students and two members of the local community (and a son of one of those two members) came to help out with the removal of garlic mustard, honeysuckle, and buckthorn; the trimming of the shoreline trees-cum-shrubbery; the removal of some downed trees; and the burning of most of the invasive plants and shrubbery. (I was, of course, out there already...)

Afterward, there was a small grill-out session (during which I ate an obscene amount of food), and then a row around Third Sister Lake.

I hope that more of these could be organized throughout the summer... and into the fall, if possible. There is surely a lot more that can be done throughout the 80 acres, and I am hoping that I might be able to continue partnering with the other caretakers, as well as to try and make some connections with the caretakers and administrators of the Nichols Arboretum.

We shall see. We shall see.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Work day tomorrow

The main body of this post is going to be long-winded (possibly because I'm a PhD student and I like to be long-winded).

The Twitter version, though, is this:
2MOROW: #SaginawForest workday 12-5pm: Cut invasives & deadfall Bring gloves/tools. 5pm-late grill & campfire. Park @ 3900WLibertyRd/call me

This is a reminder of the work day at Saginaw Forest tomorrow from 12-5pm... followed by a grill-out. The weather tomorrow should continue to track the continuous rise that we've experienced throughout this week, and looks to be in the mid-70s with very little chance for rain (or snow or sleet, or hail). Indeed, it looks like it will be a great day, and I urge you to come out to the forest tomorrow to help with some maintenance of one of SNRE's properties.

Many of you are likely familiar with Saginaw Forest through the annual campfire event in the fall and/or through various classes that use Saginaw Forest as one of their field sites. There are been many interesting ongoing research and management projects taking place in Saginaw Forest, and the maintenance of the forest for its multiple goals of research, teaching, and recreation is always in need of additional assistance.

To wit, there are a few specific things that I would like help in addressing tomorrow:
  • Getting rid of garlic mustard
  • Excising invasive barberry, buckthorn, and honeysuckle
  • Chopping up deadfall trees (some for the eventual use in this fall's campfire)
If you can help with any of these things, that would really help me with helping to maintain one of (at least what I biasedly believe to be) SNRE's jewels, and one of the oldest forested lots (artificially planted though it may be) in Michigan and, indeed, in the Midwest.

Afterward, there will be grilling and (if the weather continues along as lovely as the forecasts say it ought to) a campfire, so if you can't work during the day, then do come after 5pm. The only thing that I ask is that, if you do come after 5pm, please bring some food to share with those who toiled during the day (volunteer workers, basic grilling foods -- burgers, dogs, veggie burgers, and some veggies -- will be provided to you, courtesy of the outer-property caretakers).

Saginaw Forest is located at 3900 West Liberty Road just west of the Liberty & Wagner intersection. Since vehicular space at the forest is limited, I urge people to carpool or (as I do) cycle. To get here from inside Ann Arbor, the directions are quite simple:
  1. Locate Liberty Street/Road
  2. Get on it
  3. Head away from State Street (i.e., go west)
  4. Go 750m (0.46 mile) past Wagner (i.e., 2.6km/1.6mi past Stadium)
  5. Turn in at 3900 West Liberty Road (be careful of cars parked illegally at the entrance)
  6. Take the dirt road to the cabin (i.e., take a right at the one and only fork in the road)
  7. Park as close as you can to other vehicles (if you are the first, park as close to the edge as possible)
If you bike, then you can park your bike in the barn.

If you don't want to park too close to other cars, then you can park in the far-western lobe of the Liberty-Wagner Business Complex or on the street at Westview Way, and make use of the "user-generated entrances" located near each unofficial "parking zone".

I hope to see you tomorrow!

Apparent lapse in WM payment

Apparently the payment to Waste Management (WM) had lapsed at some point during the last month, and the bi-weekly recycling pick-up didn't take my recycling. (I knew it was recycling pick-up day because my neighbor had put out their recycling bin.) This had happened last year, too. Thing was: last year I received notification. There was none this year.

Ah well. Must report this before it becomes a serious problem.

Foggy morning

It's a foggy morning. However, unlike previous mornings of fog and gloom, this is a humid morning of greenness that could almost remind one of Star Wars' Dagobah. Okay, minus the strange creatures that one saw fly across the screen in Empire Strikes Back, but still, a verdant and steamy fusion that, in any other year, would mean that it would be a hot and humid day. This year, due to the cool weather of the past few days (dipping almost back to freezing at one point), this foggy morning's supersaturation is does not augur a sticky, sweaty, mosquito-filled day.

... and since it is the day before the Saginaw Forest work day, this is a good thing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Upcoming work day in Saginaw Forest

This upcoming Saturday will be a work day in Saginaw Forest. From noon until 5pm, friends, colleagues, and their friends and colleagues will come out to the forest to help pull weeds, cut down invasive trees, chop up downed trees, etc.

... and then have a grill-out to celebrate a good day's work.

I hope that it will be a success.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A daze of Saginaw Forest

Studying the black raspberry

For his master's thesis AB will be investigating the fitness of black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis). Apparently, not a lot of modern ecological research has been done on this native plant, and much of what is available is from natural history descriptions that are somewhat contradictory.


AB's got several plots -- collections of canes that are at least 50 meters apart from each other -- in Saginaw Forest as well as a number in Stinchfield Woods. Hopefully, the work that he does will help give better scientific insight into this plant that is -- at the same time -- both temptingly tasty and annoyingly prolific.

Rainy morning

The temperature dropped overnight to the 40s, and this morning has been rain, rain, rain. Ahh... Michigan springs.

Still, it's nice to see rain on greenery again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Geese and goslings

Geese and goslings by umlud
Geese and goslings, a photo by umlud on Flickr.

Another sign of spring: goslings. Usually quite cute. However, when all the geese are honking up a storm at dawn, their presence on Third Sister Lake becomes somewhat annoying.

More damnable garlic mustard

Well, it's definitely spring: the garlic mustard's up.

Damnable garlic mustard

Luckily, they pull up quite easily when they get to their flowering stage.

Luckily, too, the areas that I pulled last year are not returning this year.

Remediation of the lawn and road

Part of the lawn and part of the road were degraded due to the drilling activity a few months ago. The lawn will be remediated today.
Straw matting

The road will be regraded tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Partially washed out berm

Partially washed out berm by umlud
Partially washed out berm, a photo by umlud on Flickr.

Yet another impact from the massive storms of last week.

A slow spring

It's the start of May and the forest is not as far along as it was last year. I've been taking photos from the front of the cabin over the past two years (much more often this year than last). According to the news, this cool spring is likely to continue through May, thanks to the rather strong La Nina that is happening this year.

May 2, 2009

early spring
April 23, 2010

May 4, 2010

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wind + Torrential Rain + Dead Ash Trees

Walking around the forest, I found one of the continuing impacts of the emerald ash borers that came through Michigan a few years ago, destroying all the planted ash trees throughout the area (including Saginaw Forest).

In addition to the expected ecological changes that are caused by the loss of a significant tree species in a forested area, there are direct physical impacts that are likely to happen, such as winds toppling the trees in the sodden ground caused by recent torrential rains (~1.7 inches in 2 hours). In this case, the toppled tree's roots pulled up parts of the road next to it...

I wonder how I'm going to apply maintenance to this problem:


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another fallen tree & a reminder of things to come

Yet another fallen ash tree met me as I returned home yesterday. I went out with the chainsaw and bowsaw in order to chop it up before the rains came. After about 30 minutes, it was done; the trunk chopped into ~4' lengths.

I think that it might be a good idea to try and at least do a survey of the locations of the ash trees in the forest. Perhaps a better idea to try and chop them down if they are a threat to falling on the road, one of the paths, or on the "Frog man's" research site. Of course, ash trees are really quite a pain in the butt to cut when they are lying on the ground, and I can only imagine how much more difficult they will be to chop down from standing.

Still, there are many dead ash trees in the woods, and it might be an interesting part of the management plan to see if some of these regions can be replanted with something in order to minimize the amount of shrubby and weedy invasions to the affected areas. (After all, if we don't want buckthorn and honeysuckle, then shouldn't part of the plan be to plant these areas with trees that will shade out the early growth of these plants?)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stuff growing

The small vegetation is growing. Mosses cover the ground and the stumps of trees.

I also was able to cut away some of the trees that fell across trails during the winter.

Strange fauna in the forest

Sometimes, I have stumbled across some strange animals in the forest. "Strange" not in that the animal itself is strange, but rather "strange" in that they are not expected to be found in the forest (or at least a forest in Southeastern Michigan).

Last summer, there were feral cats, preceded in the winter by a Russian duck. Today, it was a peacock.


Spring morning

Waking up today,
I catch the first morning song.
Birds sing in the spring.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Drillers done.... I guess.

So I came home last night to find that the drillers were finished with their work, had packed up, and had left a mud smear and (slightly) torn-up road where they were.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Got to the shale bedrock: 215'

The "sonic drilling" rig reached the shale bedrock, having drilled down roughly 215'.


They may (or may not) put in a monitoring well in this location. If they don't it'll be kind of a waste of time and money (and a bit of a hassle for maintenance, too, what with the saturated ground being sat upon by and heavy equipment). Still, it's kind of cool to see the shale that forms the bedrock in this part of the state.

U-M Limnology class on the waters

The U of M limnology class has returned for another outing of lake measurements on Third Sister Lake.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Peepers!

Tonight's the first night of hearing what might be called the beginnings of a chorus of spring peepers in the pond next to the cabin.

Drillers setting up

Drillers are setting up for the creation of (what I hope will be) the final monitoring well on-site. This is a different drill team than was used in previous drills, and they are using a different technology: sonic drilling. They expect to get started tomorrow morning and I expect them to be here through Friday.

The location of the new hole will be toward the west end of the lawn about the same distance from the road as the other two lawn wells, which will make it easier for the well-monitoring teams while also being (ultimately) easy on the lawn and minimally affecting the planned wheel-chair soft-path access to the lake.

Rebuilding the compost containment

Compostable materials from the caretaker's house get put into the compost pile located just behind the cabin. The compost containment system that was in place when I moved in was built out of the pavers moved to Saginaw Forest (for eventual re-use) from the Dana building during its renovation (back in 2000-2002), and were the same set of brick pavers that I used for building the paths to the outer buildings, as well as to the compost pile.

Anyway, I noticed that a corner of the old containment system had finally failed; one corner that had been precariously leaning outward had finally tumbled down. Whether this last event was caused by a squirrel peeking into the container or just the longer process of freezing, melting, and settling is not known. However, much like the pavers used to make the path, the compost pile's walls were set directly onto the soil, which meant that drainage and settling would eventually be a problem.

I decided to re-build the system, locating it a little closer to the cabin, at the end of the brick-paver path that I had constructed just shy of the old container (the gutter's down-spout had been blocking direct access), in a location that is flatter than the slight slope of the old location. As well, I gave it a bed of bricks and built the walls two-bricks thick. I'm toying with the idea of also filling the bottom of the containment with sand -- to aid with drainage.


Right now, I'm trying to find someone to take away the old compost.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Geese, ducks, and robins: Oh, my!

Yup, yup, yup! Spring is coming, and while the temperatures of the last couple weeks might have fooled some people, the lengthening days are making slow and steady progress in shifting the forest into spring.

The first thing that one notices -- in addition to the very slow melting of the piles of plowed snow, still here days after the slow retreat of the snow on the lawn -- is the dissonant chorus of geese as they fly above the forest, making their way roughly northward. (Although when they fly over the forest, they seem as often to fly east to west than south to north.) Some of them splash down in Third Sister, but most -- thankfully -- continue past. For those that do splash down, I have to ensure that they don't want to settle in (I'm not a large fan of goose-poop).

Following the geese are ducks, and I saw some paddling around the lake. They come in, gliding downward to the lake, and paddle around, quacking up a storm when they do.

Going around the forest yesterday, I also saw a perfusion of robins (hop-hop-hopping along) pecking at the ground. They're back a little later than in years past (or perhaps I'm just noticing them now).

The forecast for Sunday calls for rain, which will (hopefully) finally get rid of the mounds of icy-snow that remain on the property.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ducks on the water

Welcome back to the ducks!

Looking out this morning, I saw three ducks trolling across Third Sister. I suppose spring is coming.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Upcoming operations

Drilling is going to commence (finally, since the snow and ice is now effectively melted) near to where it was done last August. This time, the well will be drilled using a different technique than before, thus (hopefully) speeding the process up a bit.

Also (at some point during the spring/summer), the boardwalk along the eastern property line of the forest will be built, and a path connecting the south and north sides of the eastern edge of Third Sister Lake will be complete. This will create three loop trails in the property (as well as any combination thereof).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Re-freeze day 3

After near-record high temperatures for St. Patrick's Day last week, this week's weather have been on the very low end of the temperature record, with highs barely reaching over freezing. Still, almost all of the snow melted over the previous week, and most of the melt-water has trickled through toward the lake, which became open waters about two days ago.

Today is Visit Day at the school, and the weather is likely not going to be playing to our favor today. But it's Michigan, folks: sometimes it's still freezing cold at the end of March.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thaw Day #2

The snow has slowly been melting this weekend. It's made some of the long driveway icy-slick, but other areas have already become muddy brown; a saturated mess that augurs poorly for the near future.

Sunset 20110213

New mailbox

I got a new mailbox on Thursday of this last week!

New mailbox

Hopefully, it will be sunk into the ground once the ground thaws.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Testing the static water levels in the wells

PALL techs are out here today to check on the static water levels of the wells on the property. With all the snow on the ground, they have to dig around a little bit to find the wells. (Their metal detector doesn't seem to be working very well.)


Monday, February 7, 2011

Mailbox destroyed

One of the costs of living where I do is the possibility of a vehicle knocking down my mailbox. It hasn't happened for several years (according to the records), however, the chance remains. Well, at some point during the snows of the past week, it happened: a vehicle knocked down the post and mailbox. I was able to recover the semi-flattened mail box itself, but the post upon which it sat and possibly some mail that was in the box, lie under the packed snow of the ditch.


I'll have to go to the post office to report this and ask them to hold my mail until it is fixed.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Saginaw Forest-dedicated web presence

There is now webspace for Saginaw Forest links and history on the SNRE webpage! It will be updated by the SNRE communication coordinator over time, and (for the time being at least) maintain a link with this blog.

SNRE Saginaw Forest page

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blizzard overnight

Here comes the snow.... Tomorrow, I hope that I will be able to get out from the forest!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Drillers get to bedrock

The drilling team out in the WNW part of the forest have finished drilling to the bedrock (238ft). They're having the collected water samples tested for 1,4 dioxane, and will bore a new hole (or holes) to the depth (or depths) of maximum contaminant concentration.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More snow in the forest

Snow continues to fall in the forest. Hopefully, the plows will come at some time tonight.

More drilling in the forest

IMG_7485 drilling
Over the next few weeks, there will be more drilling for monitoring wells will be taking place in Saginaw Forest. The location of this drilling will be on the path leading to the north loop trail. During this time, it would really help if forest users use the foot path that circles around the drilling operation.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I had been hearing the sounds of coyotes in the forest over the past few months. Now, as I walked out of the cabin, I saw two Canis latrans running across the ice on Third Sister Lake, and then running into the forest. I walked out on the dock to watch this pair. For a few seconds, I locked eyes with one of the two before it trotted into the woody edge.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me.

The presence of coyotes does mean that dog walkers should keep their dogs on their leash and those leashes in hand. The coyotes might well attack a dog that wanders off. (And, no, hunting of any animal -- including coyotes -- is not allowed in the forest.)

Snow in the forest