Cat talk on a cold day

Notes from the North Woods

The proposed, Split Rock Wildway is a wildlife corridor which is intended to link the Split Rock Wild Forest and the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area to the Champlain Valley and Lake Champlain. The Wildway will incorporate a diversity of natural communities in the northern forest ecosystem, including a variety of forests, rivers, wetlands, floodplains, and sub-alpine flora.

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” — Robert Louis Stevenson.

The wildway will incorporate numerous major flyways for hawk, songbirds, and waterfowl as well as habitat for a variety of wildlife, including mink, otter, beaver, whitetail deer, fisher and bobcats, as well as the northernmost population of eastern timber rattlesnakes. According to the Northeast Wilderness Trust, a majority of the lands proposed for the Wildway are currently in private hands, and at risk of subdivision and habitate fragmentation.

Unfortunately, land preservation is a very unpopular topic in the Adirondacks. In fact, in many circles, it is an outright abomination. However, the concept of preserving, and enhancing wildlife habitate is not a foreign language to most sportsmen and women. Surely, it is not a dirty word among the birders, wildlife watchers, and the other 93 percent of travelers who continue to regularly travel and spend their hard-earned money in our neck of the woods.

Certainly there are going to be critics, naysayers and non-believers who will cast doubt on the concept of mega-links and wildlife corridors. Who’s going to believe that moose, bear, deer or wildcats, are going to return to follow in the tracks of their forebears. It’s plain foolish, nonsense! Or is it?

In just the past two years, wildlife biologists have confirmed the presence of wild mountain and wild wolf having returned to the region. For unknown reasons, truly wild lands have a real tendency to attract truly wild animals.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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