Saturday, July 17, 2010

Land of the 13-Lined Ground Squirrel!

These few pictures - that accompany the Oakland Outdoors hiking column of the July 18th edition of the Oakland Press - tell the rest of the story.  The 'no name trail' of the Shiawassee Basin Preseve in Springfield Township is a great place for native wildlife with specific habitat requirements and a plesant place for humans wanting a short and easy hike. 13-lined ground squirrels are thriving in the prairie and meadow habitat just outside the Civic Center. The hind leg standing ground squirrel  in this photo posed for about two seconds before plunging back into his burrow. And massasauga rattlesnakes quietly slither about their reclusive ways throughout the preserve (and large slices of northern Oakland County).  Park's Director Jennifer Tucker showed me the new rattlesnake awarness sign created by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, a sign meant to increase awarness of our native pit viper and improve the behavior of the visiting public. And if you hike this little visted trail that starts almost at the park office door make sure you stop at the overlook for a wildland view of the valley. Be sure to avoid sections of the trails that may be closed.  Bottom line:  Nature at her finest is easily accessible in Springfield Township. And if you live in that township don't forget to support your Springfield Township Parks and Recreation new millage request(in addition to the equally important Oakland County Parks millage renewal) on August 3rd!  It will help you, your property values and your quality of life--- and the wary little ground squirrels that call Springfield Township home.


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