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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Thursday 02/16/2012 Bare Bear Brook State Park

Unbelievable. Just unbelievable how this winter is going. I want to get back out ice fishing this weekend, but I'm a bit worried the 7 or 8 inches of ice we had two weekends ago has significantly melted. Snow for the most part, except a patch here and there, is gone from even around here. South and East of here there is none to be seen at all.

I got an hour long hike in yesterday into Bear Brook State Park near my home. Here is a place I have spent time each winter for the 33 winters I have lived in Epsom. For the first time in my memory Bear Brook, as in Bear Brook State Park, is ice free this mid February. I have snowmobiled, snowshoe, skied and hiked past this Brook all those years. The local snowmobile club spent countless hours preparing the trail called 360 which runs through the Park, and yet not a single machine has passed by my house on the trail this winter. And the trail lie bare before me yesterday as I hiked along it. And off both of my shoulder looking deep into the woods they too are bare of snow.

Here in town the local snowmobile dealer has sleds stacked high in crates along the outside of their business. What a huge economic impact this is to NH. At Wednesday's Fish and game Commission meeting the director noted that snowmobile revenue to the Department is off some $1 million dollars this winter. A significant part of the annual registration fees are allocated to local clubs for trail maintenance. So not only will this deficit hurt our state this winter, but funds will be in short supply when it comes time for the local clubs to ready the trails for next winter. But they will still need lots of work as trees will have come down just the same, and bridges will be washed out just the same. And haven't they been washed out this past decade with our extreme rain events, which we seem to have annually now. The snowmobile bridge over the little brook below me has washed out 3 or 4 times the last 5 or 6 years.

My travels took me over to the coast yesterday. I headed over early to take some time for a drive and look at Great Bay in the daylight. Here again I was struck by the view of an ice less Great Bay. I'm pretty sure this is the first time in recorded history that the Bay has not frozen. Not far from where I stopped to take some pictures I remembered a time when I was in high school, probably 1967, that my best friend Rick and I came to the Bay late one December to hunt geese. While most of the Bay was ice free we hunkered down behind some giant ice sheets shoved up on the shore by the tides. I remember the snow was deep to hike into the Bay's shore. The geese were a half mile away at Bay's center but the sound of those geese honking away as we lay in wait easily surfs to my minds eye. But yesterday nada. No ice or snow could be seen any where. While one winter cannot be laid to climate change, but to me one winter out of several hundred when Great Bay has not frozen over at all, sure has some implications of climate change.


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2012-02-08 A 100 flag day and check, check, check that ice

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2012-02-24 Got ice? NOPE!

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