Thursday, January 28, 2010

1st Day Off

The first day of my four day weekend was nice.  I woke up leisurely and eventually made my muscles loosen up after the pack test yesterday.  I was pretty sore, but as long as I kept moving, I felt alright.  My boyfriend and I tried out another disc golf course today.  It was about 45 minutes away in Live Oak at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. Some of the course had standing water on it, but there is a lot of that going around.  The course was challenging because it is a long course and there are a lot of trees.  It was a lot of fun though, a good kind of challenging.  My sore muscles caught up to me after nine holes and we headed off to do some grocery shopping.  Here are some photos of the disc golf adventure.

Yesterday, I asked for some discussion topics or questions to answer on these days off.  I will do a few each day.  If you think of any other ideas, just post a comment anywhere.

This one was sent to me via facebook:  "If you could do one thing in the park, improvement or project, and money were not an issue, what would you do?"
This question got my mind wandering.  I would do a lot if money were not an issue.  You asked for one thing though, I'll try to scale it back.  I would build a boardwalk system around the spring.  There is currently no suitable or easily accessible path to any area of the spring aside from the spring dock or the river area and the river area is not easily accessible for everyone.  As the park continues to increase in visitation through the years, the footpaths around the spring are eroding more and more.  If the boardwalks were designed well, they could even be used during moderate floods and allow people to utilize the park even during high water.   If our river dock area could be accessed during a flood, we may have some fishermen coming to the park.  There is no way to access the river area to fish during a flood the way that we are set up now.  It would take a lot of careful design consideration and a great deal of money, but I believe that it would do wonders for the interpretation, protection, and enjoyment of this park.

This next question would be a good discussion.  Please feel free to add your own opinion in the comments.
"Are you allowed to have bird feeders? Or would that interfere with the natural order of things?"
 I don't know if there is anything written in to our policies about bird feeders.  I will look into it when I am back at work.  Here is what we guide decisions with though, our mission statement.  'To provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interpreting, and restoring our natural and cultural resources.'  Bird feeders are certainly not preserving or restoring natural processes for our resources, but a bird feeder can definitely be an interpretive aid.  I fondly remember a nature center that I visited once that had an amazing room on the back.  It had a bowed glass window and bird feeders well placed in a nice area for song birds.  There were microphones set up outside and speakers inside.  The birds couldn't see in, but visitors could watch and hear birds up-close without disturbing them.  Bird guides and identification posters were readily available, and it was an excellent way to learn more in an exciting way.
I personally, have mixed feelings about it.  I don't believe in feeding wild animals.  Animals can learn habits that are harmful to them, the fed animals or predators can learn new behaviors, and changing a wild animal's diet can lead to health problems.  On the other hand, if a person learns more about their environment from watching a bird feeder and has a little more respect for their surroundings, then maybe it is worth any possible minor negatives.  What do you think?

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