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 Post subject: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 16th, 2012, 9:50 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Posts: 2146
Location: Unicoi, TN
Several of us are gathering at the Conecuh National Forest for a weekend of herping, and hope any and all of you can too.

This will be relatively informal and include things like hiking, road cruising, picture sessions, feeding mosquitoes and red bugs (chiggers), tall tales, and such.

As with other SE Chapter field trips, a large focus will be on recording specimens for the data base, with voucher photos and locations. Just as important is a chance to enjoy a rich natural area with several good folks who share your herping interests.

In the past, these field outings have been enriched by a large diversity of folks from all age groups, social backgrounds, herp knowledge, etc.



When:

April 13th to 16th

(Friday to Monday with most activity on Saturday and Sunday)



Where:

Conecuh National Forest near Andalusia, AL.



Camping will be at the “Open Pond” campground.



From the National Forest Description

“The campground, next to Open Pond, consists of four loops, A, B., C, and D. Loop A is "rustic" with no hookups but it is heavily wooded providing excellent privacy. Campsites in Loops C and D have water and electric hookups. Sites in these two loops are either tucked into the woods with a dense middlestory providing excellent privacy or in an open environment, close to the pond with fair privacy. Closer to the pond, most middlestory has been removed giving the campsites an open, manicured park-like feel. Some sites overlook Open Pond but Loop A has the best views. Loop B is "underdeveloped" and is for group camping only so it is not included in this survey. There is a gas station and convenience store on State Rt. 137.”


Rate: Loop A - $6 per day
Loops C and D - $12 per day (electric & water)

(Bill's Note - Loop D is more conducive of large RVs)


DIRECTIONS to Campground:

From Andalusia, AL, take US Rt. 29 south for 9.7 miles to Blue Lake-Open Pond sign (State Rt. 137). Turn left onto State Rt.

137 and go south for 1.1 miles to National Forest Open Pond Recreation sign. Turn left at sign and go 0.3 miles to another

National Forest Open Pond Recreation sign (Forest Rt. 336). Turn right onto Rt. 336 and follow signs to campground.


For those following a GPS, the camp entrance is:

31° 5'26.29"N

86°33'8.62"W



The town of Andalusia has several hotels, and is close to the forest.


You are resposible for all your own expenses .
Cell Signal is spotty.



Now we need a tentative sign up list just to get a feeling for the size of the group.


If you think you have at least 75% probability, please sign up here.


List of attendees:

Bill McGighan
Jean McGighan
Ray McConnell
Tamara McConnell
Jason Butler
James Jeffery
Daniel Dye
Yvonne Dye
Chris Montross
James Jeffery
Suzanne Barber
David Barber
Adam Cooner
Joseph Jenkins
Todd McKinney
Barry Ransom
Jamie Cummings


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 17th, 2012, 7:46 am 

Joined: July 8th, 2011, 4:11 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Prattville,Alabama
Count me in.
Chris Montross


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 17th, 2012, 9:40 am 

Joined: March 16th, 2011, 10:27 am
Posts: 463
Location: Shawnee Hills, IN
I'd like to go, but I doubt I can get off work.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 17th, 2012, 12:10 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Posts: 2146
Location: Unicoi, TN
There is more to this trip than meets the eye, also.

Great Chris.
(I would have listed you first time around, but I couldn't remember your last name.) :oops: :roll:
This is looking like Desoto revisited!
If we can just take up a collection to get Josh on this.



Barry, Sorry you can't make it. Even if things free up at the last minute, come on down.

As soon as I do more research, we'll talk about Carolinas in early summer.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 17th, 2012, 12:32 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:25 am
Posts: 1159
Location: Mobile, AL
I'm in, but will probably be there only on the 14th-15th.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 17th, 2012, 5:28 pm 
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Joined: March 7th, 2012, 1:13 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Fultondale, Alabama
We are talking about trying to come. Will depend on what we can work out with job schedules. So put us down as possibles! :-)

Suzanne and David


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 18th, 2012, 7:01 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
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Location: Unicoi, TN
James,
the 14th and 15th are the meat of the meet.
13th, Friday, is mostly staging and making contact with all so Saturday can kick in effectively.
16th, Monday, is just for anyone who wants to hang around.

We didn't want this to kill the whole spring break for folks enjoying it.


Suzanne and David,
Gotcha.
Hope you folks can make it.

To all, we'll have more on logistics as we get there.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 18th, 2012, 7:50 am 

Joined: August 14th, 2011, 5:26 pm
Posts: 174
Location: North Alabama
Not sure if i'll be able to make this one, but if I can get off work i'll be there.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 18th, 2012, 2:14 pm 
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 2:50 pm
Posts: 247
Location: Calera, AL
I'll be there the 13th-15th. I might be bringing a guest as well.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 19th, 2012, 5:37 am 
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Matt
not as far as the everglades!!!!
Hope to see you there.


Adam
Glad you can make it.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 19th, 2012, 12:09 pm 

Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 8:44 am
Posts: 88
BillMcGighan wrote:
There is more to this trip than meets the eye, also..



In an effort to generate more interest in this trip....

Bill and I have been corresponding the past few weeks regarding a unique opportunity that can only be offered on this Conecuh trip. I'll say no more but leave it up to Bill if he wants to elaborate, but I will say if you don't make it you're going to miss out.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 19th, 2012, 2:09 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 7:43 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Madison, AL, Bankhead NF, and Auburn, AL
I'll probly be there.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 19th, 2012, 4:48 pm 

Joined: July 8th, 2011, 4:11 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Prattville,Alabama
Oh come on, don't do that to us and leave us hanging like that.
chris


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 19th, 2012, 5:52 pm 

Joined: August 14th, 2011, 5:26 pm
Posts: 174
Location: North Alabama
Doesn't look like i'll be able to make it =/. Have fun, take lots of pics, good luck, etc. Gonna be jealous of this secret surprise im sure.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 20th, 2012, 5:16 am 
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Joseph Jenkins
Alright JJ. That’s great. We’ll be looking for you.

Matt Arnold
Sorry to hear, Matt. We’ll miss your enthusiasm and perseverance.


Jim Godwin
Quote:
Bill and I have been corresponding the past few weeks regarding a unique opportunity that can only be offered on this Conecuh trip. I'll say no more but leave it up to Bill if he wants to elaborate, but I will say if you don't make it you're going to miss out.


OK OK

I think much of this trip will be loosely organized with informal teams meeting periodically through the weekend to share experiences, but, Jim, et al, has been very gracious and will be presenting to us, a peek inside the Indigo Relocation Project.

This has become a proactive exercise of possibly reclaiming a valuable natural resource that has been all but lost in Alabama.

In addition, if conditions are right, he may be sharing some info on some work on Graptemys ernsti (Escambia Map Turtle), one of a dozen unique species.

"Graptemys" has always been a fascinating terrapin to me with the extreme sexual dimorphism, and all that goes along with that (e.g. diet, breeding logistics, etc.)


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 20th, 2012, 3:41 pm 

Joined: July 8th, 2011, 4:11 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Prattville,Alabama
That is great news Bill, I'm sure we will all be looking forward to that.
Chris


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 20th, 2012, 5:34 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 7:43 pm
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Location: Madison, AL, Bankhead NF, and Auburn, AL
I can't wait!


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 25th, 2012, 8:17 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Logistics – Logistics – Logistics


It looks like we’re split as a group about 50/50 between camping and moteling.

My wife and I are going to try to get up there and camp at Open Pond on Thursday, 12th. We’ll be coming in from south Florida (assuming our 6th grand child is on schedule.)
We’ll get a campsite in section C with our popup (yeah, we’ve become wussy campers in our old age; electric, water, heating and air conditioning! :roll: ), but several of the nicest trailer sites back up to the tenting area.


Since cell signal can be spotty, we’ll be in a white ’09 Pathfinder and a white Jayco popup.
My cell, if it can be used, is (423) 737-1246.
Have your people contact my people when you’re in the area. :lol: :roll: :lol:

Friday night, try to touch base with as many others as possible, but be aware, night cruising is often good at this time in this place, so some may already be on the roads.


As with all herping all over the U.S., I highly recommend you get a Delorme series map book for te state you are herping in. There is much private land outside the forest that is good herp habitat and lots of small roads.
I am going to print out some area maps as hand outs when we get there.


In the National forest, food and drink availability is limited, so pack in what makes you comfortable.

Insect repellent is a must for some, but please be careful of exposing DEET or other chemicals to amphibs. Any temporary amphib containers for photos should be disinfected.


Unprotected animals can be corralled for photo shots, but, in the spirit of NAFHA should be returned to their places of capture as soon as possible.


Of course, hands off protected species. Pics should be in situ.
I also will print out and provide a list of Alabama protected species for all who attend.


Keep most of Saturday morning (14th) free to spend some time with Jim Godwin. :thumb:
We will meet at 8 AM (central time) at the pavilion on the west side of Open Pond.


Most of the remaining time will probably be broken into small informal groups that get together periodically to share experiences. As always, we will make sure no one is abandoned or left out in car pooling or group activities.

Now is the time to bring up any logistic issues you may have.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 26th, 2012, 4:11 pm 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 4:04 am
Posts: 233
Location: Hardin County, Ky
I'll be there and my people can be reached at 270-505-5039


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 26th, 2012, 4:28 pm 
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Gotcha Todd
Super


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 26th, 2012, 6:41 pm 

Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 8:44 am
Posts: 88
Keep most of Saturday morning (14th) free to spend some time with Jim Godwin. :thumb:
We will meet at 8 AM (central time) at the pavilion on the west side of Open Pond.

Saturday morning I'll have a shiny, blue-black snake on hand for some hands-on with one of the most magnificent serpents of the SE. I'll also give an overview of the project and the progress and success that we've had. We'll visit the snake pens and I'll give a radio-tracking demo, if the snake will co-operate. Gopher tortoises are present in this area and maybe one will up and active.

Prior to Saturday crayfish traps will be set to target sirens and amphiuma and we'll check those, small turtles may also be captured in the traps.

Friday I'll be setting hoop nets in either the Conecuh or Yellow river for Escambia map turtles, softshells, and alligator snappers.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 26th, 2012, 6:59 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2010, 4:35 pm
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Location: Hilton Head Island, South Cackalacky
Jim Godwin wrote:
Keep most of Saturday morning (14th) free to spend some time with Jim Godwin. :thumb:
We will meet at 8 AM (central time) at the pavilion on the west side of Open Pond.

Saturday morning I'll have a shiny, blue-black snake on hand for some hands-on with one of the most magnificent serpents of the SE. I'll also give an overview of the project and the progress and success that we've had. We'll visit the snake pens and I'll give a radio-tracking demo, if the snake will co-operate. Gopher tortoises are present in this area and maybe one will up and active.

Prior to Saturday crayfish traps will be set to target sirens and amphiuma and we'll check those, small turtles may also be captured in the traps.

Friday I'll be setting hoop nets in either the Conecuh or Yellow river for Escambia map turtles, softshells, and alligator snappers.


Sounds like you guys will be having a fun and eventful weekend. I'm bummed I can't make it. Best of luck to everyone attending.

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 28th, 2012, 6:36 pm 
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 2:50 pm
Posts: 247
Location: Calera, AL
I'll be getting into Andalusia sometime Friday afternoon. My number's 205-522-4336. Don't hesitate to call. I've got a couple of maps from my last trip to Conecuh. I probably have what turned out to be a lucrative road cruising route last year mapped out on one of them. I'd love to get together with some others for road cruising that evening.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 29th, 2012, 11:51 am 

Joined: March 16th, 2011, 10:27 am
Posts: 463
Location: Shawnee Hills, IN
I'm in! Looking forward to it.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: March 29th, 2012, 5:16 pm 
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Ian
Maybe next one.

Barry
Glad you got the vacation.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 1st, 2012, 10:45 am 

Joined: July 8th, 2011, 4:11 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Prattville,Alabama
Matt and I just stayed night at open pond on the way back from anf. Nice place. Cruised the area some sat pm and got a dor corn and gray. And Bill don't feel like a sissy. Kim is coming this trip so we are taking the motor home. So, if there is anyone with some extra space for forest cruising it would be appreciated.
Chris


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 4th, 2012, 9:52 am 

Joined: July 3rd, 2011, 1:26 pm
Posts: 79
Bill:

The directions say: " From Andalusia, AL, take US Rt. 29 south for 9.7 miles to Blue Lake-Open Pond sign (State Rt. 137). Turn left onto State Rt.

137 and go south for 1.1 miles to National Forest Open Pond Recreation sign."

Tamara and I were up there a few weeks ago and I believe it is more like 5 or 6 miles south on 137 to the campground road.

Raymond


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 6th, 2012, 5:18 am 
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Posts: 2146
Location: Unicoi, TN
First,
Sorry to all for delay.
We've been away from the net for a week.

Chris
Quote:
taking the motor home

Sounds good to me! :lol:



Raymond
Quote:
I believe it is more like 5 or 6 miles south on 137 to the campground road.

Thanks for the update Raymond. I took those directions from the NFS website. As we all know, miles are really big to the National Forest Service! :roll:
Seriously, thanks for the update.

We'll be out of touch again starting Monday, working our way up FL and then west.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 6th, 2012, 9:04 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2011, 8:17 pm
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Location: Kentucky
Is it too late to join? Just found out I can get the weekend off.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 7th, 2012, 4:37 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Not too late at all.
Welcome.

The best reason for adding a real name and contact info to the list is so, if we do stage to go somewhere, we know to wait a reasonable time for everyone to get there.
Again this area has spotty cell service, so coordinating a group is a lttle more logistically challenging.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 12th, 2012, 3:42 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
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Quote:
So, if there is anyone with some extra space for forest cruising it would be appreciated.

We'll have room.


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 13th, 2012, 9:49 am 
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Joined: March 7th, 2012, 1:13 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Fultondale, Alabama
Sorry All, we can't make it. But we do expect to see lots of pics from you all of what we missed.

David and Suzanne


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 Post subject: Re: You're Invited – April SE Chapter Conecuh NF Outing
PostPosted: April 13th, 2012, 8:50 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:56 pm
Posts: 1223
Location: New River (Brooker), Florida
It's too bad you two couldn't make it. I'll let everyone know tomorrow.

Hopefully we'll get some good photos.

Daniel


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