What a long strange “winter” this has been. (With a nod to the 1977 record album of similar name, but more on that later.) We had warmer weather for our winter luminary than for our fall event and only minor snowfalls, that is up until now. As I have written in the past, snow’s good for both plants and animals. Its insulating qualities protect delicate tubers, bulbs and roots from extreme temperature changes. The immediate surface may thaw as it warms in the sun, then, re-freeze at night. The water in the surrounding soil expands as it freezes and this back and forth movement can damage those delicate roots and tubers.
Also benefitting from the snow, just below the leaf litter, hibernating spring peepers, wood frogs, gray tree frogs and some salamanders are now better protected. The natural antifreeze that develops in their blood and tissues will protect them through several freeze / thaw events, however, the snow will allow more to survive to reproduce in the spring. But now we have snow, the critters and plants are happy and at the conservancy you can snowshoe on the Lake Loop, Esker and Rainbow Lake trails and the Pine Plantation and inter-park trails have been groomed for cross-country skiing. Though we do ask that those who are snowshoeing not use the groomed ski trails, so all can enjoy a great outdoor experience.
For a challenge, see how many animal tracks and sign you can spot and identify. Take a picture and share it with us and we’ll post it on our Facebook page for all to enjoy. So, since we don’t hibernate, come on out to enjoy winter on our trails.
Now for the music reference I mentioned earlier. A rather well-known rock band came out with an album of a similar title to my opening line in the summer of 1977. That year struck a chord with me. It was a year after the big ice storm of 1976 and that was the winter I got my first, and only pair of cross-country skis. (They are still looking good to this day.)
The winter of ’77-78 brought a good amount of snow (well over 50 inches) and it was consistently cold so the snow stayed until well into spring. (The next year brought even more show!) We skied every weekend and on several snow days as well. Forty years has brought a lot of changes, both to what is now Lac Lawrann Conservancy and to our climate, not to mention us as well. So let’s get out and enjoy the snow while we can.
As for the musical notes, if you know my reference, shoot me an email at the conservancy and we’ll reminisce.
Paul De Chant
Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy