Lower than average snow levels have got crews scurrying to set-up our remote bait station plots before difficult-to-access locations become extremely-difficult-to-access locations. It is a pleasure to report that half of our 2014 rare carnivore monitoring stations were established over the last week.
Several of the research sites we are tackling this season are leftover from previous seasons due to challenges encountered in trying to access these locations. I am so impressed by the skill and competence of our volunteer community! This is the nitty gritty of large-scale grid surveys. To find out what’s out there, you have to get out there, waaay out there…
Jim Mellen and his crew set up a monitoring plot near Katka Mtn, reporting 3000 verticle gain throughout an 8 mile roundtrip ski/snowshoe. He reports being grateful for the clear road conditions and is formulating logistics for a more challenging return trip.
Rod Barcklay and his son assembled their bait station creek-side, and had a very comfortable experience with the still-drivable road conditions. They also completed setup for a corridor camera in the Lightening Creek drainage. This particular game trail provides a background view of an avalanche shoot, and Rod reports that besides any critter action, capturing images of an avalanche may be quite entertaining as well!
Kristin Litz and Robin Carleton set up a bait station around Star Mountain. Without enough snow to ski, the crew opted to drive the road along the creek until snow levels were good enough to ski and too poor to drive. From there it was a 7 mile ski, one-way, to the plot. Set up went smoothly and the crew returned safely that same day.
Ray Libby and Erick Dickinson established the Smith Mountain Area station over the weekend. The conditions and terrain proved challenging for their snow machine, and the crew reports having gotten the machine stuck in more than one spot along the way up. Although the day was long, it ended successfully with the crew back at home late into the evening.
Thanks to our Volunteer Stewardship Crews for all the hard work you accomplished so far!
OK, wolverines, your turn! Wake up and smell the beaver!