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“Create” is the root of “recreation”.

July 20, 2016

by Tim Burris, Mariton Preserve Manager

A great day of canoeing with good friends in the Adirondacks.

A great day of canoeing with good friends in the Adirondacks.

Maureen and I went to the Adirondacks this summer on a “working” vacation (I taught classes at the Adirondack Canoe Symposium). We arrived several days early to camp and canoe with friends.  We had a great campsite, and with just a short carry* from our tent we could canoe.  (*In the Adirondacks, portages are known as carries.)  Every day we awoke to Hermit Thrushes singing and went to sleep with Loons yodeling.  And it was cool during one of the hottest weeks at home.

Canoeing in the bog.

Canoeing in the bog.

One of our day trips had us canoeing through a bog. Our friends and I had a great time botanizing.  We saw Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides), Bog Rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla), Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurea), Swamp Candles (Lysimachia terrestris), and Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) all in bloom.  We also found a lot of Sundews (Drosera intermedia) along the edge of the bog, although they were not flowering.

Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemiolium) at one of our lunch spots.

Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemiolium) at one of our lunch spots on a piney island (not a bog).

We came across several pairs of loons with babies as we pond-hopped one day. We got to see the babies riding on their parents’ backs.  We had to laugh at one baby that was a little too big for piggy-back.  Another pair was teaching the babies to find their own food.  The parents would catch small fish and impair them enough that the chicks could catch them when they were dropped back into the water.

One "carry" on a d ay of pond hopping. We were traveling light (no camping gear).

One “carry” on a day of pond hopping. We were traveling light (no camping gear).

One of the things that I really like about the Adirondacks is the regional approach to land protection. The Adirondack Park is huge.  In fact, it is the largest protected natural area in the lower 48.  (Yes, you could put several large National Parks within the confines of the Adirondacks.)  Natural Lands Trust also adopted a regional approach to land protection several years ago.  Obviously, NLT works in a region that is much more developed, and our resources are more limited.  Still, we have protected an outstanding patchwork of lands in Eastern Pennsylvania and beyond.  It makes me proud to work for an organization that is making the place where millions of people live more habitable by providing natural areas where they can re-create locally.  In some ways NLT’s work is even more important, because more people have easy access to these natural areas.

I absolutely camp in the Adirondacks to see Rose Pogonia and hear loons, but it is a busman’s holiday on another level. I get to be the visitor without seeing the “to do list” of unfinished work.  I come home with a better appreciation and new perspective- which is re-creation at its very core.

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