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Warm weather chills conservation programs

GTNS photo by David Hotle

There was precious little ice on Thomas Marr Lake Friday, leaving no chance for the ice fishing clinic scheduled for Jan. 19 to be held.
GTNS photo by David Hotle There was precious little ice on Thomas Marr Lake Friday, leaving no chance for the ice fishing clinic scheduled for Jan. 19 to be held.

With few really cold days during this winter area conservation departments, which had planned winter activities, are scrambling to find other events for the public to participate in.

Washington County Naturalist Pam Holz announced that an ice fishing clinic that had been scheduled for Jan. 19 has been canceled. She explained with the weather as warm as it is and no cold snaps predicted for the next few weeks there would be no ice on Thomas Marr Lake for participants to fish through. She said it has been over a week since the ice has been safe to walk on. She also said the fish are in deeper water and short of someone going out in a boat, fishing isn’t practical.

“There have been people who have ice fished,” she said. “There was a small window there, but from what I heard those were the very hearty ones who fish during the first ice. We have no ice being made for the next week, which would only give us a week for the ice to be made.”

The ice will be re-evaluated and Holz hopes to have the clinic at a later date. Last year, she explained, February had the colder temperatures.

So far this year many of the winter activities Holz recommends people try, such as skiing, can’t be done. She has been recommending people stick to activities usually offered in the fall. She said the trails remain available for hiking and many animals are still out when the temperature is warmer.

“This year so far winter is a joke,” Holz said. “The calendar says winter and there are places the grass still is green.”

The conservation department still plans to hold several programs it has scheduled. On Feb. 9 Holz will host the program “Memory Keepers” where journaling will be taught. On March 9 Holz will teach a class on how to build survival shelters and fires. She explained the department does one public program a month.

In Henry County, Naturalist Cari Nicely said she had been planning for a time to teach hibernation to children in the schools where they go and bury things in the snow. She said this will not work.

“Over the last few years we have been trying to do a maple syrup clinic in February or March and over the last few years we haven’t had much weather,” Nicely said. “The morning we were supposed to do it we had an ice storm. The year before that it got too warm too fast.”

This year, hoping for the best chance for winter temperatures, the clinic has been scheduled for 9 a.m. March 2 in the shelter area of Oakland Mills Park. She also said this is the first public activity for the year. Nicely also explained the schedule for events after that still is being planned.

Nicely encourages people to enjoy outside activities. She encouraged the use of the county nature trails as well as the live raptor display at Oakland Mills Park.