Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Controlled Burn

From time to time I like to walk the nature trail on Key Deer Boulevard on north Big Pine Key. It's not ideal for Rusty as he has to be on a leash and he is a bit stifled in a place that seems to be full of interesting smells. 
Besides which handling a  camera and a busy dog makes photography a bit more hit or miss than usual for me. Nevertheless the trail is worth it.  If you aren't racing your dog it takes a modest 40 minutes or so to amble round and check the informational boards and stop here or there to take a picture. It's a gravel path so its not ideal for the narrow tires found on wheelchairs but there is the shorter wheel chair accessible trail next door starting in the same parking lot.
Jack Watson single handed saved the Key Deer from extinction and he did such a good job they are spreading far and wide across the Lower Keys to the delight of some and irritation of others.
The trail presented a new set of colors as a sign at the entrance announced there had been a controlled burn recently.
Burns are used to clear the under brush and generate fresh growth which seemed to be working:


The pine trees for which the island is named have been threatened by their own debilitating disease and the dead ones you see around have nothing to do with the burn.

Aside from the burn i saw some fresh wide trails which seemed likely to have been used to get equipment into the burn areas. A few years ago a controlled burn was anything but and burnt up Big Pine Key all over the place. It seems no one was taking any chances of it getting out of control this time.



I know everything will grow back but I found the signboard a little ironic:
You just know the breeze was bringing all sorts of smells to his eager nostrils:





And so back to the parking lot after what was admittedly a bit of a forced march. Rusty can walk when he wants to and I have to stump along to keep up.