Thanks to the hard work of vigilant citizens, Chaffin/Light eventually slithered away from their intended development on John Bradley’s land in New York State. Of course, opposition never mobilized against Chaffin/Light’s infestation of Jackson County, and now we pay the price for our inattention.
They say that if you don’t bother rattlesnakes, they won’t bother you. Good advice as far as it goes, but I don’t think it applies to the two-legged rattlesnakes. And the news this week would indicate that you can find specimens of both types at Balsam Mountain Preserve.
A story posted yesterday at Science Daily tells of scientists implanting radio transmitters in timber rattlesnakes and turning them loose at Balsam Mountain Preserve. Damn, I wish I’d thought of that. Not that I would have bothered with implanting radio transmitters.
I looked through the BMP amenity package again and couldn’t find any mention of timber rattlers. Just consider it a little unexpected bonus – "free with every $400,000 lot purchase – your very own den of snakes."
If I were you, though, I wouldn’t let ophidiophobia prevent me from moving up to Balsam Mountain Preserve. It’s like the professor said about the rattlesnakes (the legless ones, that is):
When we build homes on the mountainsides, we are encroaching upon their territory. When people and rattlesnakes share the same space, the snakes usually lose.
Well, that good news should be a comfort to all the residents of Balsam Mountain Preserve. But until victory over the rattlesnakes is declared, remember to "WATCH YOUR STEP!"
The article alludes to various government inspectors overseeing the alleged cleanup of the mess resulting from the Balsam Mountain Preserve dam break:
The agencies have questioned why Balsam Mountain Preserve hasn’t devoted more manpower to removing drifts of sediment from Sugarloaf and Scotts Creeks. In addition to the sediment traps, sediment has been settling in mounds in wide, slow stretches of the creeks in side pools.
So why hasn’t Balsam Mountain Preserve devoted more manpower to the cleanup? For one thing, BMP may be too busy calling Raleigh so they can wriggle their way out of having to paying the $300,000 fine that Jackson County tried to assess.
Sometimes we create our own questions to further our knowledge and sometimes the questions ask themselves and we have to be there to take advantage of the opportunity.
One question that was posed to us recently was, "How long will it take for a Southern Appalachian stream to restore itself to a healthy biological system if it is struck by a naturally or anthropogenically induced event?" We now have the opportunity to have that questions answered and are exploring the recovery rate of Sugar Loaf Creek after the failure of one of the golf course irrigation ponds.
The resulting amount of water that coursed its way down Sugar Loaf Creek carved out old stream beds and deposited sediments on the banks of the stream.
The company’s commitment to being both a good neighbor and a conservation community was put into practice to begin the restoration process in Sugar Loaf Creek.
How reassuring! That’s about what you’d expect from a two-legged rattlesnake. That’s about what you’d expect from Balsam Mountain Preserve. It makes you long for the days when the most dangerous snake in the mountains was the one described by Horace Kephart:
When a rattlesnake sees a man approaching, it generally lies quiet to escape observation, so long as it thinks itself concealed. It seldom strikes unless provoked. If alarmed when it is wide-awake, it nearly always springs its rattle before striking, the sound being very similar to that made by our common "locust" or cicada. If the reptile is trodden on when asleep, it strikes like lightening, and does its rattling afterward. Unfortunately for us, the poisonous snakes do their sleeping in the day time and hunt at night. They are prone to seek the warmth of bed-clothes, and sometimes will coil up alongside of a sleeping man....A snake is not obliged to coil before striking, but can strike from any position; it will coil first, however, unless attacked very suddenly or taken at a disadvantage. (Camping and Woodcraft, Volume 2, pages 439-440) At least those good snakes, now sporting their own radio transmitters, are still alive and well at Balsam Mountain Preserve.
So, if you’re enjoying life in the gated wonderland called Balsam Mountain Preserve…be sure to WATCH YOUR STEP!
The rest of us are still trying to find the anti-venom for that deadly two-legged rattlesnake.