Barnegat Bay 2

More news about the bay….some good and some bad…..

More news about pollution and the return of an abundance of stinging nettles this summer…

Stinging Nettles increasing in abundance
There are also numerous folks and organizations working to do positive things in the bay.

Cleaning up and trying to instill an attitude of keeping the bay cleaner

Very cool stuff involving efforts to restore healthy populations of clams in the bay……

Bringing back the bay.”

The organization behind trying to reclam the bay.

The clams are important because they are filter feeders. The pollution problems in the bay could be helped tremendously by restoring abundant populations of clams. They could effectively serve as a cleaning system for the bay, pulling a large amount of waste from the water. The problem right now is there is way to much pollution and way too few clams.

Time will tell if overdevelopment, and pollution, or the dedicated group of people that is trying to protect, preserve, and restore Barnegat Bay will win out.

We will have to stay tuned.

St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Monday we took a drive to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Right up 93, through Franconia notch, and across the Connecticut River.

Lots of things I never knew about this part of the world. One is that it is dubbed the Northeastern Kingdom. Another was not being aware that there was as much land in northern Vermont that was of high enough elevation to have the kind of subalpine forest types we came across.

The day was pleasant. It was cloudy and threatening rain on the ride north. In actuality there was little rain and the clouds kept the day pleasantly cool. We looked around St. Johnsbury a bit once we got there, then visited a friend in East Burke. They lived high up, just shy of a long sharp ridge. Just before we headed out on a hike it began raining. Then it proceeded to pour. We put our hike off for about a half hour and just sat, talking, as we watched the rain come down.

Our hike there ended up being short. After we finished and left the house, we drove around the environs of East Burke. Then we drove to West Burke and found a trailhead at the Burke Mountain Ski Lodge parking lot. The trail went to the top of the mountain but we only went up about a mile and a half. Fortunately the clouds had begun to clear by early evening. The hiking weather was wonderful.

After our walk we headed back to St. Johnsbury, found a place to eat, got a room, and settled in for the night.

Learn to Camp

Outdoor recreation activity is slightly declining in the US and technology is surely part of the problem. Folks just love playing with all their modern toys so much that they don’t seem to find the time to get outside. The good people at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department suspect there are other causes of this decline as well. Like the fact that there are some people that would like to go camping but just don’t know how. This almost seems strange but if no one took you camping when you were a kid (thanks Dad!) then the great outdoors could easily be the Great Unknown.

To help people get started, the state has a new program called the Texas Outdoor Family program. They offer a starter class that teaches how to set up a tent, how to use a camp stove and lantern, and other basic camping skills. All of the equipment is provided for free, courtesy of the programs sponsor – Toyota.

The next offering will be at Galveston Island State Park and will run from August 4th and 5th. The program costs $55 for a family of up to eight people. Call 512-389-8903 to register. Once you do register they will send you information about what you should bring and the lowdown on what to expect from your first camping outing.

Barnegat Bay

An interesting article today in the New York Times about Barnegat Bay’s greatest champion, Pete McClain. Mr McClain has been studying the bay, in one way or another, for more than half a decade. He says the bay today is having a lot of problems, which is not surprising considering the amount of development that has taken place all around the bay and the tributaries that feed into it.

Barnegat Bay is a 40 mile long, 3 mile wide brackish water treasure that has been hammered by eutrophication and other forms of pollution in recent years. It is bordered by numerous coastal beach communities and Island Beach State Park.

As a place I grew up catching blue claw crabs it is not good to hear that the bay is currently fairing so poorly. If you want to learn more about the bay, its current problems, and what you can do to help save it check out – Save Barnegat Bay.

Gas and movement

Just a small musing today…..

I am so fortunate to not need to use my car very much. So in some sense I have been more insulated from the gas price “crisis” in my personal driving. Still it is interesting to think about how high gas prices are already causing problems and, it would seem, will drive some bring changes in our lives if things continue on the track they are on.

My guess is we will return to the way things were 30 years ago in regards to commerce. Less Wal-Mart like behavior and more local made in the USA goods. Also local stores will do better as it increasingly costs the bigger companies more to keep their globally integrated behemoths pumping along. I think this is a better way to go but getting back to it will be quite painful for so many of us.

Just my two cents worth.

A fresh start

Hello and welcome to my blog. My nascent idea is to write about places I visit, want to visit, or in one way or other catch my interest. Let’s see how this goes.

I will begin with a tale of the Jersey shore. Like many other people that grew up within a few hours of the beach in NJ, I was able to visit there quite often when I was a child. It was great! I loved playing pinball in the arcades, hanging out at the beach, and going out with my friends at night. I spent most of my time in Lavallette, Seaside Heights, and Ortley Beach.  One thing spending my summers at the beach did was to make the ocean a special place for me – something which has never left. Whenever I have a chance to be by the ocean today it has a calm, humbling affect on me. At least up until the time I saw the Rockies, no other places or particular ecosystems stirred me in quite that way.

It is also interesting to return to the Jersey shore today. Older, wiser, seeing more than I perhaps saw before. Seeing someplace like one of the docks on Barnegat Bay or the Seaside boardwalk, they are so much less magical then when I was a kid. Their dirtier than I remember and seem to have a bit of a seediness that I just did not pick up on at all when I was younger. I was only back there a few times when I was in my twenties and I was amazed that I found the place almost repulsive. More recently I have been able to go back more often and the less glamorous aspects of the place being so developed are less disturbing. I guess I just need the relaxation more than I need the hassle of worrying about what is wrong with things there.

I feel fortunate to have so many memories of the Jersey shore and still have some opportunities to return there even today.

So there ’tis. My first post. When shall I return? Hopefully it will be sometimes soon and it would also be nice if this ends up being something I can get in the habitat of doing.