Tuesday, March 29, 2011

High Mountain Park Preserve. Wayne, New Jersey.

You wouldn't think that in the Wayne/Paterson, New Jersey area there would be enough acreage for a wilderness preserve. Well, there is. It's called the High Mountain Park Preserve (HMPP), and it lies just north of William Paterson University. I believe some time in the past there was a fight to save the area from development, and the result was the HMPP. If you happen to be driving on I-80 West, just when you're at the Paterson exists, look to your right (North) and you will see a series of peaks. The highest peak is High Mountain and to the left is Mount Cecchino. Not so obvious is Beech Mountain which lies to the northwest of High Mountain. You'll need to stretch your neck for that one, and probably cause an accident on the interstate. All three peaks comprise the Preakness Range.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I decided to climb the 875-foot High Mountain. It's a popular climb among hikers, not too hard but not too easy either. We started on the Red Trail which is accessible on College Road. There is a small parking lot at the trail head. If the lot is full, one can use Parking Lot 6 of the university.

To reach the top, one has to begin at the Red Trail, turn right on the Yellow Trail, follow it to the top. On the return, continue on the Yellow Trail as it takes you down the other side of High Mountain where it joins the Red Trail again. Turn left (South) on the Red Trail and take it all the way back to the parking lot. This is the popular loop and it is tougher than it sounds. It took us 3.5 hours to complete the hike. You can see the layout of the trails on this Trail Map

One thing that is seldom mentioned in hikers' online comments is the rocky nature of the trail. More here than on other trails, a hiker has to pay attention as to where he plants his foot lest he twists his ankle too much and too soon. This rocky aspect of the trail slowed us down significantly.

Much to my disappointment, we didn't see a single deer, black bear, or snake. Late March means cold temps, and so the snakes must still be in their holes. As for the deer and black bears, they've probably been killed off, at some other area, through those bogus animal population control programs instituted by county officials or the NJ Fish and Wildlife Department. What we get is a preserve without large, wild, but harmless animals. Shame.

Once on the summit, on a clear day, facing East, you can see as far as Manhattan's skyline. I could pick out familiar landmarks just a few miles away like the Nabisco Building on Route 208, the blue watertower in Fairlawn. No wonder the summit was used as a lookout point during the revolution. The video above shows quite a bit of the trail. Obviously, the video was shot during the Fall while we hiked the trail still under Winter conditions. Hiking in Winter conditions means better visibility on the trail; I could see two blazes away. There were no leaves to obscure our line of sight.

The video below, I took it just below the summit, on the way down. It's self-explanatory.

Keep Life in the Park. A Message. Bears, Geese, Bergen Board of Freeholders. March 2011.

I am cross posting a message from our friend at KLIP. ====================================

Dear Keep Life in the Park Members, I wanted to make sure that I shared some important information. Due to our attending freeholder meetings in the winter & speaking up for animals, the Bergen County Freeholders passed a Resolution against Black Bear Hunting in NJ. (attached) "Resolution seeking the prohibition of all future Black Bear hunting within the state of New Jersey" This resolution passed on 12-30-10, with a copy being sent to the Governor.

One line stated: "Whereas The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders find the hunting of Black Bears to be inhumane and unnecessary considering the alternative methods that are available in deterring human and Black Bear interaction." So true!! The vote was almost unanimous: Freeholders Ganz, McPherson, Hogan, Driscoll, Calabrese, & Carroll voting yes, and Freeholder Hermansen voting against. Please send an email, thanking the sitting freeholders who voted for this resolution (Freeholders Ganz, McPherson, and Chairman Driscoll). http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/freeholders/default.html Next to their name is the email icon to click on to reach them. *Some of the freeholders are no longer serving because of the election.

Being formally against the bear hunt and prohibiting the future gassing of geese, Bergen County is sending a strong message that we can share our wild places and we respect the natural inhabitants of New Jersey. Our freeholders learned that we are serious about our compassion toward animals.

PLEASE keep up the pressure & take action, as requested. The animals in this state depend on it. Geesepeace follow up: I am all ready to get started oiling eggs come April. I learned a lot from my Geesepeace training last week and I am looking forward to continued co-existence with our wildlife. Thank you to everyone for your continued activism for those who cannot speak for themselves.

For the animals, Julie KLIP

Monday, March 21, 2011

Howard Stern on Abandoned Family Pets, Selfish People.

He is a controversial guy, but there is no controversy in Howard Stern's disgust about people who dumped their dogs at the shelter. I share this disgust for irresponsible pet owners, particularly towards those who abandon their dogs because they've found a new place to live---no pets allowed. Their decision: jettison the pet and consider it as c'est la vie. People, if pets are not allowed, then keep on looking until you find one that does! Give your pet some importance. They are not your disposable old furniture.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New York Horse-Drawn Carriages. Valentines 2011. A Cruel Tradition, Not a Romantic One.

Roughly a month ago, on Valentine's Day, I joined other animal rights activists in protesting the horse-drawn carriages in New York City. We met at the corner of 59th St. and 5th Avenue, known as the Grand Army Plaza, across the gloriously lit Plaza Hotel. This protest brought together members of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, Friends of Animals, NY , and Heart For Animals and individuals like myself who didn't have to be a member of any organization to stand up against cruelty.

I took this video at the very beginning of the evening when the group was just beginning to gel. Compared to other demos, this one was much more gratifying since we could elicit responses from the very people we are demonstrating against. The carriage drivers stood right across the sidewalk from us. When demonstrating against Ringling Bros, for example, we meet and speak with the ticket holders but not the circus people themselves.

The carriage drivers' reactions were predictably hostile
, crude, and nonsensical. One driver mocked an elderly protester to up his meds. Another urged us to do something else, like get a job. One attempted to add some integrity to his existence by declaring,

" I'm working here! "

I shot back,

" No, you're not. The horse is! "

I must say that the drivers are not necessarily the owners of the horses and carriages. But why should this exculpate them from the charge of animal abuse? Should we just prosecute the bank robbers and not the getaway driver? The entrepreneurs are, as usual, tucked away in some swanky condo or townhouse where they are warm and well-stuffed while the poor horses work the streets for them.

To better spread our message, the group chanted, " There's No Excuse for Animal Abuse," and marched westward along 59th Street to Columbus Circle, rounded the circle, and then headed back East to our original spot. We were met by many sympathetic people. I can sense that an increasing number of New Yorkers are beginning to get the point---it's not about romance, but about cruelty.

Mayor Bloomberg referred to the horse-drawn carriages as a New York tradition. Heck, no. Why should cruelty be a New York tradition?

" What's wrong with the carriages? " a man asked.
" Nothing, unless you're a horse or an ass. " I replied.

Speaking of derrieres, at one point in the evening, a couple boarded a carriage for a ride. While the driver was getting ready, I approached the couple and asked,

" Tell me, please, what is so romantic about sitting behind a horse's ass? "

They leered at me, preferred not to challenge me, and dismissed me as just one of those crazy New Yorkers.

The truth of the matter is that there is no record-keeping for the hours these horses have worked. These horses can be pulled out of their stables after a long day and further work the night if their handlers believe there is money to be made. What this means is that the horses' rest periods are not regulated but hinge on the whims of their masters.

Furthermore, these horses are kept in very narrow stalls in a formerly abandoned building on the west side with no windows to let light in. These stables are not sufficiently cooled in the Summer and adequately heated in the Winter.

Out on the street, the horses suffer terribly in the hottest days of Summer and the coldest days of Winter, hauling a wooden and steel carriage weighing approximately
1200lbs to 2300lbs. You can add several hundred more pounds to that when a family of 4 or 6 get on, plus the driver.

You would do well to visit the web page of the Coalition to learn about the many issues behind the horse-drawn carriages.

GeesePeace. Training. Humane Population Control. March 2011. Bergen County. Keep Life in the Park.

Here is an announcement from Keep Life in the Park (KLIP) regarding humane geese population control in our public parks.
GeesePeace ,the organization, has been working with government agencies who are enlightened enough to go the humane way in controlling the geese population in parks and the general area.
Remember, not too long ago, families of geese in Bergen County parks were surreptitiously herded into a truck and gassed to death by the USDA. The gassing took place in the wee hours of the day to escape detection and public outcry. If not for an early morning hiker who cried foul, the gassing would have continued unchecked.
The Bergen County Board of Freeholders quickly condemned the practice and outlawed the gassing of any geese in the county. I am still awed by that class act that other counties can't seem to follow.
GeesePeace will show us how they do it in these training sessions. I can make it to the 8pm sessions, and so I'll see you there.

Hi Wildlife Lovers!

The Bergen County Parks is sponsoring training in the Geese Peace protocol for humane geese population control. Please come to this important training and be a part of a humane movement for coexisting with these special creatures.

The training will be held on March 22 and March 24 at McFaul Environmental Center Wyckoff. There will be two sessions each day:

· March 22, 2011
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

· March 24, 2011
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

I look forward to seeing you at one these trainings.

For the Animals,


Friday, March 04, 2011

Animals. They're not just Meat on the Menu. A Goose and A Man. Los Angeles, CA.

Did I hear this guy say that he stopped eating chicken because of his relationship with the goose? Maybe he should regularly visit farms where he can create a bond with an animal and see it go to the slaughterhouse because someone ordered meat from a menu.

That goes for all of you carcass-eaters out there. Your life is no more important than an animal's, not by my yardstick, nor in God's eyes that know no favoritism.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Hiking. Protection Against Snake Bites. Gaiters.

You might wonder what on Earth are these? They are called, "gaiters," and fashion has nothing to do with them. Gaiters act like shin guards against briars and other thorny plants, worn by those who work outdoors like forestry rangers, ranchers, and farmers. Gaiters come in different styles and material, but they normally protect the ankles up to the knees.

This pair provides protection against snake bites. New material called SuperFabric makes protection possible without putting on the usual thick, cumbersome gaiters with polycarbonate sheets embedded in them. This pair is flexible and light, made by Whitewater. I got this pair from http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/

I believe that such protection is necessary for hikers considering that rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are not rare along the trails, and they can be difficult to spot on the ground. I am willing to accept the prevailing theory that snakes, like most wild animals, will avoid hikers if given enough time to move out of the way. But, sometimes, they surprise each other. The usual bite scenario involves stepping on a venomous snake, or putting your hand where you can see. And don't count on a rattlesnake rattling its tail. They don't always rattle when approached.
There are about 20 species of venomous snakes in the United States. Copperheads account for most of the venomous snake bites in the U.S. but their bites are seldom fatal since their venom is least toxic. Supposedly, less than ten people in America die from snake bites, and most of them were bitten by a rattlesnake. Approximately 8,000 people a year are bitten by a snake in the U.S.

For $62, you get some peace of mind out on the trails. That's less expensive than several days stay at a hospital plus the physical pain and trauma. Your life is certainly worth more than $62.

New York City. Pit Bull for Adoption. Pigeon. Help. March 2011.

I received an email from an office mate regarding a pit bull that needs rehoming. It seems that I have already developed a reputation at the workplace as an animal rights proponent that they think of me when such issues come up. They know that I don't consume animal products, an activist, and that I volunteer my time and effort at the animal shelter on weekends. It's not a bad reputation at all except when another office mate jokingly, perhaps mockingly, referred to me as "St. Francis."

I am posting the photographs I received and a short assessment by the owner of our subject---Pigeon. If you can spread the word about Pigeon, then you are already doing something to help. You can reach Pigeon's owner a beauclayton@gmail.com . Pigeon is the one with the white head.


" Pigeon is a 52lb, medium sized pitbull found tied to a fence on 20th Street in Chelsea. I took her in and have been fostering her until i can find her a good solid home. She's estimated to be around 3-4yrs old and I've had her up to date on her vaccinations as well as had her fixed/spayed. She's a complete love with people...a total cuddler. Always curling up beside me or next to Rizzo my other dog. Any chance to play or get loving and attention she takes. Due to her young age she requires a good amount of exercise and doesn't like to be left at home alone for long. My roommate often takes her on runs and long walks which she loves and it wears her out. She definitely loves to be outside.

As far as socialization goes...Shes a dominant female so generally first interactions with dogs are a bit tense, esp. when on leash, but she usually warms up to dogs once her guard is down and she doesn't feel threatened. She could definitely use more socialization. With a good attentive, committed owner I'm positive she can be broken of her socialization issues. She's proven fine with my dog, as well as with my parents and neighbors dogs. Unfortunately, she is not good with cats or other critters. Ideally, a home without any pets would work best, where she can be the sole receiver of all the love and affection. "