Monday, May 3, 2010

Fire and Rain...

This evening I returned home from my annual trek to Shawnee State Park and Forest, where we hold Flora-Quest. It has been a long strange ride this weekend, and an old James Taylor melody keeps running through my head- the one about "Fire and Rain."


It was just Saturday morning that we drove the ridge that surveys last year's forest fire damage at Shawnee. It happen the same week as Flora-Quest '09 and created quite the stir: the largest wildfire ever in Ohio took days to put it out. It happened while Forestry was doing some "controlled burns" in the area, and many questions remain about those fires. It will be in court at some point, and the facts will be clear enough then. Either way, this is the remains of a forest fire, after the last of the wood is salvaged.

Whether this area is part of a controlled burn or part of an arson fire, how could anyone think this is an "improvement" of our State Forests? The sooner Ohio puts an end to burning our forests, the happier the box turtles, rattle snakes and I will be.

A view of the Ohio River from "Picnic Point."

And in an ironic contrast, this year we had floods. Flora-Quest went off without a hitch in spite of Saturday's showers and Sunday's torrential down-pour. Most folks were long gone, but the few of us who stayed behind for clean-up were were stuck for the night when the staff found out we were stranded at the Lodge (without internet)! The roads had been deluged in a flash flood!

The Ohio River (inset from above photo) as it swells and strains its banks.
This morning the roads were passable again, but the signs of high water- debris strewn about, fallen trees, and a missing picnic table- were the obvious remnants of a very rough night.
If I remember right, the 17 year cicadas hatched out in Shawnee- three years ago!~ So locust, fires, and floods- this event is turning into Biblical proportions!
No matter what the weather, the enthusiasm of the attendees cannot be suppressed! So in the next couple of days, I'll be posting some photos of the people and plants that make this so much fun. Who knows what will happen next year?!


  1. Thanks for mentioning the last year's prescribed burn that went awry.

    Congratulations on another Flora-Quest. Now I hope you get some rest.

  2. Oh Cheryl, I'm sorry to hear you guys got stranded at the lodge (although there could be worse places to be stranded!). As I was driving out that afternoon, I noticed that Turkey Creek was high and raging and getting pretty close to the road - I didn't even think about those of you who had to stay behind and clean up after all of us. I hope it wasn't too much of a hardship.
    Thanks to you and all of the Flora-Quest volunteers, trip leaders and speakers for a great weekend. I hope to attend again next year.

  3. Wow great event, Wow Rain, Rain, everywhere. This was my first Flora-Quest and even as a dyed in the wool computer geek had a good time and learned a lot. I'm already looking forward to next year. Thanks to you and all the volunteers that made this a great event.

  4. Thank goodness for friends! We had speakers ready, and on standby once the rain got serious. I was almost surprised at how many people were still willing to go out in the rain. There is no such thing as a bad day at Shawnee!