This web page provides a sampling of some of the articles and features in our printed newsletter. Printed copies are available in the Visitors' Booth at Breakheart Reservation. Remember, this web page is only a sample; if you want to read the full newsletter you'll have to get the printed copy. If you're interested in joining the Friends, download and fill out this handy PDF form.
In addition to this sample newsletter, we also have some full newsletters available for download.
Barkley Speaksby Barkley the Beagle
"My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind; So flawe'd and sanded; their heads are hung with ears that sweep away the morning dew."
"Midsummer Night's Dream"
Hi Everybody! Wow, it's hard to believe that this is the start of my third year (21 in dog years) of writing to you about dog stuff. From what I hear from the folks I meet, you've enjoyed reading it, and that really sets my tail to wagging. It was great to get to meet so many of you at events during the year. I had a lot of fun at the annual meeting, and I tried to make the rounds to all the tables to say hello, and to make sure that the pancakes were cooked just right. Thanks for the all those samples that got "dropped"!
For those of you who read my column and think, "You know, maybe I should get a dog to take walking in Breakheart", it may be a great idea, both for you and your new friend. Or it may not. Now I know that may sound funny coming from the Barkmeister, who is always talking about how great it is to be out in the woods with the big guy, but some folks just don't realize that having a dog is more than just going for a walk in the woods every day. We need food, training, trips to the vet, love, and patience. When I was a pup, I didn't get any of those, my memories of those times are pretty dim (I probably blocked them out), but it is likely that I was a Christmas present. I was abandoned in the early spring at an age that would have fit that time period. Now, I'm not saying that the first folks who took me home had any bad intentions, they just didn't think it through. A recent survey of dogs surrendered to shelters showed the following:
- 43 percent were not spayed or neutered
- 33 percent had never been to a veterinarian.
- 96 percent had not received any obedience training.
- 46 percent had been owned for less than a year.
Now, after thinking about all that you still want a partner and best friend for many years, you might want to do a little research. A great place to start if you have a computer, is: www.puppyplace.com, a site that offers tons of dog information. Also, your local humane society or shelter would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Until next time,
Barks and Beagle kisses,
Barkley is fondly remembered by all who knew him at Breakheart. This column spoke about one of his favorite subjects, and shall remain here in his memory.
While his pawprints will never be filled completely, two newcomers, Breaker and Sadie have taken up writing about dog issues in the Friends of Breakheart newsletter.
Full Access Trail Landscaping Donations
Friends of Breakheart, the new handicapped access trail at the reservation needs your help.
In an agreement with the management of the reservation, each tree removed during the construction of the trail must be replaced with two plantings, tree or shrub.
Here's where you come in. In the hope of conserving construction funds, we are looking to our members to consider donating toward the landscaping of this truly beautiful addition to the reservation.
Donations could be given in the memory of a passed loved one, or just as a token of interest in this project. A plaque will be displayed in the Visitor's Center in recognition of all donors.
We encourage all of you to visit this work in progress and share the excitement of the working committee.
For additional information, please call Ed Murray at 781-710-3129 or address a letter to Ed's attention here at Breakheart.
Upcoming Events & Activities
Ranger Pete's Notebookby Breakheart Ranger Peter Luongo
DCR park staff and tracker Dave Brown have gone on weekly hikes through the reservation this winter in search of wildlife. The persistent snow cover has helped our efforts to track animals. In December and January we tracked Fisher, Coyote, White Tailed Deer, and Eastern Cottontail Rabbit.
Coyote tracks were found throughout the park, including a scent marking of urine on the paved road. DCR staff also spotted one walking through Camp Nihan in December. Coyotes have taken up residence throughout the region with common sightings in the Middlesex Fells and Lynn Woods. Coyotes have even been spotted as far South as Revere at Belle Isle and Rumney Marshes. While many people have become alarmed by the return of these wild dogs, coyotes are an important part of a balanced ecosystem. The Coyote we have tracked are hunting for small woodland mammals and prefer living in isolated areas away from people. But they are also opportunists and when traveling long distances to hunt can prey on cats and small domestic dogs at night. They will also scavenge through unsecured trash. To reduce interactions with coyotes, simple precautions should be taken, such as keeping pets in at night and securing trash. Also don't feed coyotes -- this leads them to become dependant on us and can make them less wary of humans.
White Tailed Deer have become more common in Breakheart. Their populations continues to grown in Eastern Massachusetts. We have tracked Deer this fall and winter on several occasions. On an early morning walk in November at the reservation, I walked ahead with my head down until I heard something 50 feet ahead. Startled, I looked up to see an adult male equally startled. He looked at me and ran away. I watched in amazement as the fluff of his white tail disappeared into the woods. Dave Brown suggested that there may be a dispersion route from Breakheart to Lynn Woods, possibly through Hawkes Pond and then across Route one. Several deer were killed while crossing the highway during mating season in November and December. This same path may also may serve as a dispersion route for coyotes late at night We also tracked the elusive Fisher (weasel family) throughout the park. This new arrival is thriving on the abundant Grey squirrel population at Breakheart. The Fisher is a secretive animal who are seldom seen. Their tracks, however, were abundant. It is a solitary animal, primarily nocturnal, Fishers can have a home range of up to 150 square miles when food is scarce. Curiously, the Fisher seldom eats fish, and the origin of it's name is unknown.
We also tracked the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit throughout the park, and have also seen them regularly at the newly acquired meadow next to MVP Sports. They often live in brushy areas next to fields where they can feed on grass and hide in the thick brush.
If you have seen wildlife in the park please come into the visitors center to write it in our wildlife journal or call us at 781-233-0834. Questions about wildlife may be posted to our website www.saugus.org/FOBR/ or write to us atBreakheart Reservation, 177 Forest St, Saugus. MA 01906 Attn: Ranger Pete