Wednesday, March 31, 2010

San Angelo State Park report revisited

It has been a busy couple of days in e-mail regarding the blind visit report that I posted Sunday. Very odd--it is not the first time that I've written a critical piece but it is certainly the first time that I've caught as much negative reaction from it. I'm glad folks still care about the park and the blind, but there needs to be a hair less emotion attached I think. And no, my parents were married before I was conceived, thank you very much.

First a couple of clarifications... In reviewing the piece, the words I used at the front were probably less precise than they should have been. It was indeed a disappointing visit to the blind. Weather was lousy for photography, there was no water drops attracting the birds, and there was no seed or evidence of consumed seed in the feeders. I lumped the water and seed into maintaining the site, and it implied that the place looked rundown.

But the physical aspects of the blind were in good shape. As I mentioned, the increased number of feeders (and quality feeders at that) in the trees is a good thing. The grounds were recently mowed, and the trees appeared to have been trimmed during the winter months. All positives.

The bird seed, I am convinced, is just an issue of heavy bird traffic based on a couple of e-mails I have received. The water feature issue has been fixed as well. I don't know the particulars, but I do know that when alerted to the problem, a team of TPWD personnel and volunteers both restored the water flow and cleaned out the catch basin. I know without a doubt based on another e-mail that the staff at SASP did not know that the water feature was not flowing. And that, quite frankly, is on the visitors to the blind (including yours truly). SASP staff can't be everywhere all the time and they rely on visitor input when things are broken. If we don't tell them, they can't fix it. Mea culpa.

I was also reminded, though I knew this from my own personal experience, that volunteers heavily augment TPWD's staff to get many things done around the park. And when things aren't done, it is often a sign that not enough people are coming out and giving back to their local community parks. $3 a person coming into the park doesn't go very far in terms of staffing the park and without volunteers there would be far less great things in our state parks.

So to summarize and wrap up
  • Good on TPWD and the volunteers in getting the water feature flowing again
  • Sorry my words were not as precise as they should have been
  • Come out to the park and watch migration at the blind
  • Thank a park volunteer--they make it possible for you to enjoy nature
Image: Golden-fronted Woodpecker, adult male (Melanerpes aurfrons), San Angelo State Park, © Jim Miller

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