Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Refuge Tours etc.

The thunderstorm of Sunday was nice while it lasted.  Monday it rained in the morning, but had cleared up by afternoon.  It brought in some cooler weather...  in fact, our furnace came on last night.  I'm still in jeans, sweat shirts and wool socks - at least in the early mornings.  The past couple of afternoons tee-shirts are okay.

One of the things that both Bill & I do while here at Aroostook NWR is give tours of the Refuge.

The Refuge doesn't charge an entry fee nor does it charge to give a tour.  Sometimes we get group tours; sometimes we just have a couple of people who have stopped by to see what's here and end up going on a tour.  Some tours are scheduled but many are not.

Since so much of the refuge isn't open to the public we try to give as many tours as we can...  this is one of the smaller refuges in the whole system so we need all the public support we can get.

David King, the fellow facing the group, was stationed here at the base in the late 1970's and early 80's.

He met his wife, who was also stationed here, and they stayed on in the area after they were discharged from the service.

David is active in the Loring Military Heritage Center and often gives tours at that (now defunct) facility.  That was the Loring Air Force Base.  

This past week, the Limestone School of Mathematics and Science had a week-long workshop for teachers.  I think most of the teachers are from Maine, but we did meet one from Connecticut.

While there are seminars and other things going on during the day, the school provided some evening excursions so the participants could see some of the area.

Tuesday evening, After David took a group through the old Loring AFB, they came over to this facility and went on a tour here.

Apparently some of the folks didn't make it to that tour, so there will be a repeat tour this evening at 5pm.

Bill & I go along on these tours...  partly because we're sort of summer "caretakers" (have keys to the Visitor Center, restrooms etc), and partly to provide information regarding the refuge.

David has extensive knowledge of the place when it was an Air Force Base during his stay here, but we're able to add information of what all's happened since 1998, when it became a refuge.

The changes, the focus now, the on-going demolition and reconstruction...  and a bit about the future plans....  these are what it's all about now.

When Bill & I give our tours, we incorporate the past history as well as the present ...  and hopes for the future.

Unfortunately, we usually don't see any moose or bear when we're giving a tour... especially when the tour consists of a caravan of 6 or so vehicles.  Most tours are during the early afternoon hours...  not the best wildlife viewing time.  I think eventually, as more of the refuge becomes ready for the public, there might be late evening or early morning tours...  birding tours...  whatever.  But that will take more volunteers than are now available.

I'd love to have this bull moose show himself to a group, but I took this photo around 5:30 am yesterday morning.

This doe was about 100' from the moose...  just wading around in the marsh.

Here's Mom and her calf again...  I saw them 3 mornings in a row in the same place...  at 5:45am.
This morning I didn't see them at all.  

David and his tour group will arrive around 5pm this evening.  The tour will probably last an hour as I believe the school serves dinner around 6pm.  

One hour is really not long enough to see everything here.  But it is enough to spark one's interest....  that maybe some of the folks will return to this area with their families to take a closer look at what this area has to offer.

Sometimes these "off the beaten path" places are the best ones to explore...  there's often a lot more around than one would think...

That's All For Today!


  1. I really like your new profile shot. I looks much more like you than the old one. It seems like you meet a lot of people for being in such an out-of-the-way place. And, it sounds like they are your kind of people. I'll be thinking of you when I'm eating buckwheat pancakes!

  2. I enjoy learning about some of our many interesting refuges, and yours certainly has an interesting history. Thanks for sharing, and for the wonderful wildlife photos.

  3. I would think that if they want to have more volunteers, they should invest in a couple of full hook-up RV sites. Were that the case, I'd love to do tours for birds and wildlife, etc. :) I understand that budgets are tight, but volunteers can make a difference (In my humble opinion).

  4. What a brilliant (and generous) way to spend a summer. (I also love that new profile photo!) If I still lived in that part of the world, I'd cover myself with Deep Woods OFF and I'd come for a tour!

  5. Teri and I took a tour with you last summer and it was outstanding. They are so lucky to have the two of you at that refuge.