Use of the Forest

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snow melting (again)

The temperature is in the low 40s (F), and the forest is both dripping with snowmelt and foggy with the intense humidity. The creek is swollen with meltwater, and it's likely that - by the end of the day - the snow (or the white slush that it now is) will be fully melted.

Again.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cleanup after the windstorm

Last night, there was a mother of a windstorm, and I was worried that I would lose power and that there would be tons of trees down. I woke up kind of late and noticed that the oven clock was showing the time, so there was still power, and (because it wasn't blinking) there wasn't any short power outage during the night. Nice.

Walking outside, I noticed that the forest didn't look like a wasteland of uprooted and felled trees, so good so far. Looking at the lake, I noticed some sharp lines in the ice, and I originally thought that someone had gone skating on the ice, but - looking closer - I noted that it was actually the ice cracking, for whatever reason...

Walking through the forest, I quickly recognized that there likely wouldn't be many downed trees, and so I merely brought along a rake for my rounds and used it to remove all the small debris that covered the main paths.

On my way back to the cabin, there were the only two newly downed trees, both dead ash trees, both along the berm on the western side of the property. Arse. I hate cutting ash trees. However, I pulled out the chainsaw and made some (relatively) quick work of them.

ALSO: When taking a little break on the boardwalk, I saw some movement under the ice. It looked like a snapping turtle, swimming through the water under the ice. I rushed to the other side of the boardwalk in anticipation of watching it cruise out the other side, but no... it must have turned back. Happily for the turtles, there is still some open water on the north side of the lake, so I doubt that they'll suffer from drowning.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rain... in January?

Last night, there was a lot of rain. Will this turn out to be yet another not-really-winter?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The boats are not for public use

I came back from holidays to find that someone had taken out one of the row boats. They "kindly" left it in the then-water to then get stuck in the ice.

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Luckily, the ice had set up enough for me to walk out on and pull out the boat.

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It should be pretty obvious to most civic minded individuals that boats that don't belong to them on a property that isn't theirs should not be used. However, just to make it clear for everyone:

The boats are for class use or for approved research on Third Sister Lake. 
The boats are not for recreational use by the public.

That is all.

UPDATE (Feb 13, 2013): An e-mail was sent to me to explain how the boat ended up in the ice:
I am responsible for that. I was walking in the Forest (on a Sunday, I think) and when I got down to the dock I saw that two dogs had fallen through the ice about 200 feet west of the dock and about 75 feet from shore. There was a deer about 100 feet from the other side of the lake that was struggling in the ice to get to shore. I suspect the dogs (looked like two German shepherds) had gone out on the ice in pursuit of the deer and broken through. I tried the ice but it wouldn't hold my weight and I was alone so I didn't want to run the risk of falling through myself. I tried to find a branch long enough to reach the dogs but couldn't find one long enough. I called my wife and had her call the Humane Society to see if they could help out. Then I put the rowboat in, hoping I could scoot it along on top of the ice to get to the dogs (using a pole and snow shovel I got from your porch). That proved impossible and the pole I was using to move it broke. I used the shovel to get close enough to shore to get out. But I couldn't retrieve the boat so I left it.

The dogs drowned before the Humane Society got there. I called (or emailed, I forget which) the UM Security people to tell them that the boat was in the ice and why it was there. I wasn't sure who else to get hold of.
This explains what happened. However, I wonder if what this person saw was two coyotes. At a distance, coyotes and German Shepherds have a passing resemblance, sharing similar coloring and - in the winter - a thick coat. Also, in previous winters, I have seen coyotes running across the ice. That, plus the lack of any mention of dog owners nearby, makes me think that it was coyotes that went in after a deer.

I really do hope that no dog owner lost their dogs in such a tragedy. However, if you are a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep your dogs on leash and safe (for themselves and to others).

Of course, if you do see something wrong in Saginaw Forest, and you cannot find the caretaker (because I'm not always on-property) please do get in touch with the UM Department of Public Safety at (734) 763-1131.