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 Post subject: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 10:17 am 
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After the raging success that was the NAFHA 2012 annual meeting, I feel we should keep up the momentum and throw some ideas out for 2013. I know many of us talked about the subject in IL this passed weekend - but to immortalize it (and because I forgot half the responses) - Where do YOU think NAFHAAM 2013 be held? A couple of my thoughts on the matter from this weekend:

1.) It should be a place in North America (duh)!

2.) Maximum accessibility for the group is preferred (i.e. 70+ people should be able to herp there at once without killing each other)

3.) If on State/Federal land, it should be a place we can potentially get permits to hold and detain our finds for photos

4.) It shouldn't be a place with a high sensitivity to large groups and/or a place where local herpers might get overly pissed with that number of people attending


What does everybody think?


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 12:06 pm 
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Anywhere in Kansas, or in Florida?


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 12:17 pm 

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Oklahoma is in SERIOUS need of herping talent to spread out and fill in gaps. Like for Green Toads.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 12:36 pm 
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A few considerations that were discussed were the need for a large amount of public parking/camping, legal issues associated with a large group of herpers and locations that are not overly sensitive.

As an aside, I also mentioned to Mike (Pingleton) the idea of a waiver in case of accident while herping at a NAFHA function...At some point, someone will get bitten by something or have an accident and I think it's in everyone's (and the organization's) best interests to protect themselves legally. Sad but true.

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 12:58 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:27 am
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Location: Colorado
I propose a committee for the next meeting. I'd like to see reps from each chapter.

Proposed locales are-

LaRue

Central OK

Eastern KS

Gila NF New Mexico

Everglades National Park


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 2:21 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
Yearly Rotation? Each Chapter hosts the meeting within their boundries? I know a beautiful desert campground in Ca. that could accommodate 300 easily... BLM land... Great facilities...no Fees. And fitting as well... my range extension for Sonora is what made that place camping only, rather than ATV use. :D Actually planning a Ca get together there this weekend (see Snake rd Ca style)
Who's gonna tell AZ, though? :shock: :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: jim


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 6:42 pm 
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I like the representative idea, Tim. I'd like to represent the southeast chapter - how do we get it going? Can chapter presidents appoint the representatives?


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 2:07 pm 

Joined: June 9th, 2010, 12:54 pm
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I'd love to see some variety in the annual trips. I understand heading further east or west may exclude some people, but it may also include others who couldn't make this year. That said, I'd like to see a southeast trip (Georgia or Florida) and of course, a trip to the Gila National Forest here in my home state of New Mexico.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 2:37 pm 
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It would be interesting to try and plan these trips to achieve an objective other than to get together and herp.

Looking at the map, it sure looks like Central OK, most of TN, much of GA, northern MS, southern AR would all be interesting places. They have a high diverstiy of herps but little data in the database. North Central TX needs help too, but it is all private land.

Would people show up if it wasn't an "interesting" place? Considering how this year turned out where people still had fun finding just a few herps.

There are obvious choices like the Sky Islands as well. Gila would be fun too although how much diversity is there? I guess if you picked the right spot.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 4:36 pm 
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Any of those midwest or western areas would provide lifers for me so it makes no difference.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 5:38 pm 
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"Who's gonna tell AZ, though?"

HAHAHAHA!!!! I can only imagine the fit that some of the locals would have if a bunch of NAFHA herpers rolled 71 strong into "their" spot...THAT would be funny. I almost want to do it for the reaction... :)

"There are obvious choices like the Sky Islands as well."

Hmmm...maybe not so obvious...I don't really know that many places there that can accomodate 71 people. There are campgrounds, but that's ALOT of people. The logistics for that endeavor may be a bit more dicey than anticipated.

All that said, I do like the idea of the meeting being held in different places. Adds some variety and as we all know that is the spice of life, right?

"Would people show up if it wasn't an "interesting" place? Considering how this year turned out where people still had fun finding just a few herps."

One man's chicken is another man's steak...those that want to show are definitely welcome and those that don't want to won't.

"It would be interesting to try and plan these trips to achieve an objective other than to get together and herp."

I think one of the biggest objectives for the trip is to bring people from all walks of life together for a passion we all enjoy. There's so much factionalization and "cliqueish" political BS amongst herpers that an event like this is welcomed by most I think. "Getting together and herping" is one of the few things we all would enjoy, and IMO that's what these trips should focus on. I think you're referring to "scientific objectives", and by all means those should be embraced as well but I think if the measuring stick of the annual meeting is how well people did herp-wise then this last trip would have been below average for that place at that time.

I think you'll have difficulty finding anyone that was there that believes that.

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 5:57 pm 
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chrish wrote:
Looking at the map, it sure looks like Central OK, most of TN, much of GA, northern MS, southern AR would all be interesting places. They have a high diverstiy of herps but little data in the database. North Central TX needs help too, but it is all private land.


I like your idea. I wouldn't count out north-central TX, though; we just need someone gifted in the Art of the Schmooze to secure landowner permission. Big enough property, reasonably-herp-friendly landowner, BAM! Success.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 6:04 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
My county is larger than some states, and has about 90 herps... just saying... :lol:
There's 2 way to go about this... pick places centrally located in the US, that lots (but not all, from both coasts) can make, or... by chapter, where more folks from the middle and a coast can make it. Wherever it's held... some won't make it and some will travel whatever distance necessary to make it.

My goal will be, wherever it's held... to drive and herp all the way there and herp a different route home. My one X-country herping trip I and my son did, was some of the best times we two had ever had... :thumb: jim


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 6:13 pm 

Joined: September 8th, 2011, 5:12 pm
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Location: Oxford, MS
Originally, I had advocated to have more central spots to increase accessibility for everyone involved. But I really like the idea of each chapter taking it each year. It would allow each chapter to highlight some of the best areas it has to offer. I would say for next year pull a chapter out of a hat, and allow them to choose where it would be. There are many places in each of the chapters that would be great to see that have a high diversity of herps. Doing it that way may alienate some, but if cool enough places were selected, that may negate any alienation.

I do like the idea of spots that have large diversity, but a number of areas one can visit from a central location so that we don't have a huge group in one spot. I'm not sure how I feel about having a large group like we did at Snake Road. On the one hand, I saw a lot more because there was the phone tree that make everyone aware of finds, but on the other, I and I'm guessing others, didn't herp much so much as go from herp to herp as calls came in. It'd be cool to have a diverse number of spots to hit to get species. I really am not sure what I like better since I don't want to miss the big finds like a timber or red milk or copperhead, but then again, I don't necessarily want to run from spot to spot following others' finds. It's a conundrum.

But I like the idea of rotating between chapters.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 7:16 pm 
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Northeast and AZ are too paranoid to host a meeting :P

With that said, I thought CA would be a natural fit, but Chris makes a good point.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 7:55 pm 
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hellihooks wrote:
My county is larger than some states, and has about 90 herps...


That's a pretty poor population density.

:P


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 5:37 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
chris_mcmartin wrote:
hellihooks wrote:
My county is larger than some states, and has about 90 herps...


That's a pretty poor population density.

:P

Yeah.. whatcha gonna do? :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: Just out of curiosity... was the time of year picked for Snake rd, a good time of year for that area? Where ever we do it... wouldn't it make sense to hold the meet during the peak herping season for that place? For me, in the Hi-D, that would be April through mid-June. jim

BTW...The place I suggest is pretty centrally located... for crotes alone, 8 out of 10 of Ca Ssp's are within a two hr drive. 3 at the spot, 3 more an hr away, 2 more within a two hr drive. Only Atrox and Lutosis would be over a two hr drive. jim
'coastal' herps... 1 hr, Montane herps...45 min. Desert stuff... outside your tent... :crazyeyes: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 7:46 am 
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I would vote for Kansas either Eastern side (flint hills) or west side anywhere. Then there's Florida which has amazing herp density and is able to hold all of us without stepping on toes, in the 'glads. Chad W. mentioned Oklahoma, which sounds like a challenge to find some lesser known items. Texas sounds cool if we can get some land. I'm going to work an angle I have on that for 9k acres.

I am torn between us trying to expand some ranges and making a go of the tough to find things, or picking the easy fruit for a bigger life list.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 8:15 am 
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Excellent points.

azatrox wrote:

I think one of the biggest objectives for the trip is to bring people from all walks of life together for a passion we all enjoy. There's so much factionalization and "cliqueish" political BS amongst herpers that an event like this is welcomed by most I think. "Getting together and herping" is one of the few things we all would enjoy, and IMO that's what these trips should focus on. I think you're referring to "scientific objectives", and by all means those should be embraced as well but I think if the measuring stick of the annual meeting is how well people did herp-wise then this last trip would have been below average for that place at that time.

I think you'll have difficulty finding anyone that was there that believes that.

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 8:48 am 
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Mike Pingleton wrote:
Excellent points.

azatrox wrote:

I think one of the biggest objectives for the trip is to bring people from all walks of life together for a passion we all enjoy. There's so much factionalization and "cliqueish" political BS amongst herpers that an event like this is welcomed by most I think. "Getting together and herping" is one of the few things we all would enjoy, and IMO that's what these trips should focus on. I think you're referring to "scientific objectives", and by all means those should be embraced as well but I think if the measuring stick of the annual meeting is how well people did herp-wise then this last trip would have been below average for that place at that time.

I think you'll have difficulty finding anyone that was there that believes that.

-Kris



Fisheating Creek has a nice campground for hanging out ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 9:00 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:27 am
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Location: Colorado
NAFHA is a dynamic and growing organization. We'll be able to hit many of the spots listed above in the next five years.

LaRue was an experiment, and a wildly successful one at that. We wanted to see if we built it, who would show. As it turns out, a whole gaggle of cool people. (I never had any doubts.) Participants drove in from nearly every midwestern state. Others flew in from Florida, Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Our member base is concentrated in the northeast, southeast, midwest and southwest. The next meeting location should reflect that. Herp diversity is equally important.

Let's not stick to the 70 number. The next meeting could have 30 or 150, depending on where it's held.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 9:31 am 
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Quote:
I like the representative idea, Tim. I'd like to represent the southeast chapter - how do we get it going? Can chapter presidents appoint the representatives?

This sounds like a good idea
.

.
.

May want to consider time of year/distance to get a good showing, since some geographical places are heavily seasonal.

e.g.
Everglades is great all year round, but asking folks to tent camp in the glades in August is just feeding the bugs!
All the hype on May/June/July in south and west TX is great, but these areas (as well as AZ Sky Islands) are excellent in Sept./Oct.


Edited in PS.

An unashamed plug for south Alabama.

The SE Chapter outing in the Conecuh NF proved to have a large group camping area, as well as developed camping right next door, but the diversity of habitat and creatures was excellent.
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11449&p=138252&hilit=conecuh#p138252


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 10:38 am 

Joined: July 2nd, 2010, 5:48 pm
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Location: AZ.
Josh Holbrook wrote:
Mike Pingleton wrote:
Excellent points.

azatrox wrote:

I think one of the biggest objectives for the trip is to bring people from all walks of life together for a passion we all enjoy. There's so much factionalization and "cliqueish" political BS amongst herpers that an event like this is welcomed by most I think. "Getting together and herping" is one of the few things we all would enjoy, and IMO that's what these trips should focus on. I think you're referring to "scientific objectives", and by all means those should be embraced as well but I think if the measuring stick of the annual meeting is how well people did herp-wise then this last trip would have been below average for that place at that time.

I think you'll have difficulty finding anyone that was there that believes that.

-Kris



Dear Josh,

you are uniquely qualified to comment on my proposal. Mindful of the above what would you think of this:

Have it in south Florida. There are so many attractions for herpers and non-herpers alike. There is a large diversity of fauna, much of it non-native to be seen, in a wide variety of micro-habitats. Many species are not strongly associated with flipping or hibernaculums, rock piles and other sensitive land features that justifiably concern many of us. Beside herping, angling opportunities abound. Maybe some herpetoculture concern would host a tour? There are endless things to see and do, as long as mountain climbing is not one of them. There would be accomodations for every budget, from camping to nice Hotels.

Groups, possibly with guides could make excursions to see some of the localized populations i.e. chameleons, basilsks, iguanas, etc. No doubt sharp eyed herpers would see a lot of native wildlife and photo subjects. Some "sure thing" species exist, that have panache...Alligators, Crocodiles etc.

Best of all, with planning and persistence, maybe permits would be issued to allow a python derby? A group of FHA eccentric herper volunteers could have a friendly competition and have a blanket special event permit allowing them to collect data and/or specimens of burmese pythons? These could be turned over to researchers or euthanized per the permit issuers conditions. Pythons are the pest with cachet, I think it would be fun to see them in the "wild". If you wanted, you could have a small entry fee and award a "jack pot" for the largest and most pythons collected. Not too much, as big $ makes some folks crazy competitive and unfriendly. In addition to a fun filled day/week, the contribution of specimens might actually help the agency, or reseachers, a win-win? Maybe some contract biologist would not support it for various reasons and they could make some conditions so your crew does not collect select telemetry animals etc.

If carefully crafted, I think the park superintendent would have a hard time denying such a permit, inspite of the foot dragging of some interests involved in python "management". Or expand it outside the National Park if they prove too onerous to deal with.

Local knowledge from the SE chapter guys might allow selecting the best time for seeing pythons and other herps, and dodging the more dramatic weather events. I think effort to collect data/survey/pythons could be sufficiently dispersed as to leave no sign or apparent environmental impact. Maps could be issued delineating the survey areas and restricted areas. The nightly campfires at a campground and the python "weigh in" would be central events that bring the group together for laughs and comraderie.

Anyway, you know a lot more about this than I, I am musing from my west coast location, this sounds like it could be fun. Perhaps I am naiive to what obstacles exist, but I thought I would just toss it up and see if it flys... I think every herper has at some point dreamt of visiting south Florida.

Vic


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 11:36 am 
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VICtort wrote:

Dear Josh,

you are uniquely qualified to comment on my proposal. Mindful of the above what would you think of this:

Have it in south Florida. There are so many attractions for herpers and non-herpers alike. There is a large diversity of fauna, much of it non-native to be seen, in a wide variety of micro-habitats. Many species are not strongly associated with flipping or hibernaculums, rock piles and other sensitive land features that justifiably concern many of us. Beside herping, angling opportunities abound. Maybe some herpetoculture concern would host a tour? There are endless things to see and do, as long as mountain climbing is not one of them. There would be accomodations for every budget, from camping to nice Hotels.

Groups, possibly with guides could make excursions to see some of the localized populations i.e. chameleons, basilsks, iguanas, etc. No doubt sharp eyed herpers would see a lot of native wildlife and photo subjects. Some "sure thing" species exist, that have panache...Alligators, Crocodiles etc.

Best of all, with planning and persistence, maybe permits would be issued to allow a python derby? A group of FHA eccentric herper volunteers could have a friendly competition and have a blanket special event permit allowing them to collect data and/or specimens of burmese pythons? These could be turned over to researchers or euthanized per the permit issuers conditions. Pythons are the pest with cachet, I think it would be fun to see them in the "wild". If you wanted, you could have a small entry fee and award a "jack pot" for the largest and most pythons collected. Not too much, as big $ makes some folks crazy competitive and unfriendly. In addition to a fun filled day/week, the contribution of specimens might actually help the agency, or reseachers, a win-win? Maybe some contract biologist would not support it for various reasons and they could make some conditions so your crew does not collect select telemetry animals etc.

If carefully crafted, I think the park superintendent would have a hard time denying such a permit, inspite of the foot dragging of some interests involved in python "management". Or expand it outside the National Park if they prove too onerous to deal with.

Local knowledge from the SE chapter guys might allow selecting the best time for seeing pythons and other herps, and dodging the more dramatic weather events. I think effort to collect data/survey/pythons could be sufficiently dispersed as to leave no sign or apparent environmental impact. Maps could be issued delineating the survey areas and restricted areas. The nightly campfires at a campground and the python "weigh in" would be central events that bring the group together for laughs and comraderie.

Anyway, you know a lot more about this than I, I am musing from my west coast location, this sounds like it could be fun. Perhaps I am naiive to what obstacles exist, but I thought I would just toss it up and see if it flys... I think every herper has at some point dreamt of visiting south Florida.

Vic



Phew - a lot of good thoughts. I can't speak on the getting of a permit/etc. unless/until I email some of the people in charge. It would seem like it would be simple, but there's a lot of hands in the python pot down here which can cause trouble. That said, I like the "National Meeting Council" idea as well - ideas are great, but we also need people who are willing to run with the ideas after lobbing them out there - this is of course not meant to be derogatory to anyone, we're still in the stage where ideas from everywhere are good, but we need a smaller group tasked with taking on some of the ideas and making them a reality. If Florida is chosen, I'm sure that in addition to myself there are some others who'd love to lay some groundwork. But, who knows - west of the Mississip' would be cool too.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 11:53 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
On my X-country trip, We stayed at a KOA in OK (near Checotah?)... herping seemed pretty dang good... coppers, pygs, watersnakes, rough earth, dekays, turtles...
A little further north and it would be just about the exact center of the US... just throwing it out there.
I'll be camping at my Hi-D campground this weekend, and take some pics of it to post. So Cal is one of those 'have to herp someday' places... big Red Ruber, Helleri, rosys, Z's, Kings, Panamints... a lot of 'iconic' herps... :thumb:

As for 'putting it together'... I used to hold Ca outings at Sawtooth... and even had arraignments with a Bar/Grill a few miles away for a big rib/chicken Bbq dinner for the group, at a discounted 'group price'. Plus... a Ca member's dad works for BLM (bureau of land management) and the campground is in his jurisdiction... :thumb: jim


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 12:42 pm 
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....had arraignments with a Bar/Grill

I need to live THERE....Anywhere that I've ever lived had arraignments in a courthouse. :)

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:01 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
azatrox wrote:
....had arraignments with a Bar/Grill

I need to live THERE....Anywhere that I've ever lived had arraignments in a courthouse. :)

-Kris

:lol: :lol: :lol:
OH Crap... that means I probably have warrants out... :shock: :lol: :lol: jim


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 26th, 2012, 10:11 pm 
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I second Jim's nomination for Sawtooth Canyon campground in the Mojave desert near Barstow, California!

Went there for the first time about 2 weeks ago with Jim and had a great time. The location really seems to have all the elements mentioned above. I don't think you could design a better campground for a large group of herpers. It has all the needed facilities, all the space you could ask for, easy access, miles of hiking trails in all directions, numerous nearby canyons, good road-cruising, a bunch of common species and at least one highly elusive species that needs to be documented.

Jim spoke with the resident campground host and learned that a permit would be needed for a large group, but I feel it would be fairly easy to obtain.

Here are some photos to help you get a better feel for the place:


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Sawtooth should definitely be in consideration for our annual meeting!

I suggest May 24-31, 2014. May is the peak month in the high desert of CA, and it will be the new moon phase during that week. It will also cover Memorial Day Weekend which should make it easier for those of us with school age children to attend for at least 2 or 3 days.

I'll volunteer to apply for the necessary permits on behalf of NAFHA and to help organize all the logistics.


I also really like VICtort's idea of holding the annual meeting in S. Florida and rounding up pythons! Let's do that in 2013 and do the Mojave in 2014.


Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 27th, 2012, 3:17 am 
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Some variables to consider (I'll let others decide if they are good or bad things)

- herpability
I'm not sure about a picking a spot that is mostly herpable at night. This might be my concern in SoCal, Western AZ, West Texas, etc. in summer. These are some great spots, but I think we should choose a time/place where people can herp productively in daylight hours. I love roadcruising and night hiking, but I don't think it should be the primary form of herping in the area.

- habitat diversity/species diversity
The higher the species count, the better. Let's not forget - amphibians are herps too.
I don't think having diverse habitats "just an hour away" is useful. The group should be able to have a great herping experience on foot if possible.

- potential for habitat damage from having herpers there

- legal issues
We should consider avoiding protected areas until we get our reputation established. Sounds like we did great in LaRue, but not all areas will be as responsive with permits.

- value
I think our get together should provide some value to the habitat/community. We could provide data to local agencies.
For snakedays in Sanderson, TX this year, we had a trash pickup contest. As people herped the roadcuts of west Texas they collected trash. Something like that would be great.

- presence of "sensitive" species
We can't tolerate poaching from within the group. I would be concerned about having the meeting in some of the sky islands areas for this reason.

- Public perception of the event
I think the other thing we should consider is getting a bit ahead of any potential media. I can just see a very negative "Snakehunters Converge in the Everglades National Park" story popping up in newspaper somewhere. We need to make sure that if the meeting gets any press, it is positive.

- novel experiences
Having the trip somewhere cool that few of us would have considered going otherwise would be great. Blue Ridge mountains for example? Ouachitas?

Just some thoughts to add to the pot...


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 27th, 2012, 7:44 am 
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ok, i'll throw in my thoughts. i'll have to admit, i didn't make it through all the posts, so if i overlap anyone, sorry.

i like how folks are thinking of utilizing a large group for the DB. that's good. do this if possible, but do not let this be the motivator. getting together should be top priority.

as far as each chapter being in charge every year, that's good and all, but it may be more difficult for some chapters to find a large area that will not be affected by 70+ herpers. i don't know, but this may hold true for the NE. this being said, i change my number one priority to "taking pictures/leaving footprints".

dave weber has a thread going that is about survey proposals. why not utilize a large group from across the US to do said survey(if someone can get one going). sounds like good PR to me. also shows dedication within NAFHA if people show up from all over.

justin said he has something going on. good. this got me thinking. maybe we need to focus on private lands a bit more. shmooze if you have to. herp friendly landowners? yes, this helps, but let's face it, money talks. how many of these texas ranches are there for trophy hunting? sure would be good PR if an NAFHA outing were televised on the outdoor channel. these hunters are not all red-necks. plenty of them enjoy, and advocate, protecting wildlife. i therefore challenge a south-central member(s) to look into this angle. heck, there are "hunting ranches" all over the country. i suggest to stay within your region though.

i've also got something going that could be a potentially big deal. all i'm going to say is that you never know what may come of a simple contact. people have friends who have friends and so on.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 27th, 2012, 11:07 am 
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muskiemagnet wrote:
maybe we need to focus on private lands a bit more. shmooze if you have to.


This seems to be the Kansas Herp Society's model...three trips a year to some un/undersampled county, a few private ranches (sometimes state parks also) within that county, and BAM! Updated records, new county records, and a lot of fun. I'm not sure if the landowners are compensated by KHS or it's just done by knowing the guy who knows the guy who owns the land. Worth talking to the field trip coordinator for details (Dan Murrow and/or Travis Taggart, last time I heard).


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 28th, 2012, 11:44 am 
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Location: Hays, KS
chris_mcmartin wrote:
muskiemagnet wrote:
maybe we need to focus on private lands a bit more. shmooze if you have to.


This seems to be the Kansas Herp Society's model...three trips a year to some un/undersampled county, a few private ranches (sometimes state parks also) within that county, and BAM! Updated records, new county records, and a lot of fun. I'm not sure if the landowners are compensated by KHS or it's just done by knowing the guy who knows the guy who owns the land. Worth talking to the field trip coordinator for details (Dan Murrow and/or Travis Taggart, last time I heard).


The KHS model really is a good one to follow for the NAFHA trip. The spring trips for KHS commonly exceed 100 attendants, sometimes approaching 150. Most, if not all, herping during one of these trips occurs on private land, although a campground nearby on state land usually serves as base camp. The land owners are usually happy to allow KHS on their land, as long as they know how many are coming and what the damage will be from searching for herps.

100 people is a force to be reckoned with. The KHS has clogged roads with 70 car caravans from the campground to the herping spot, and we usually descend en mass onto some hapless restaurant (we've ran several out of food from just one meal). The logistics are a bit scary, but by no means unmanageable. Like Chris said, whoever plans the NAFHA trip should talk to Dan Murrow or Travis Taggart for some advice.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 29th, 2012, 12:37 pm 

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I like this conversation.

I like the joint "why": to get a bunch of folks together to have a great time, while doing something useful for herp conservation and management.

I like the beginnings of the "how", and to extend them - if we're going to do a rotational thing maybe each chapter could gin up some ideas for national-level consideration. Those ideas could incorporate some of the pesky logistical details (can we fit?) as well as some of that important "why" stuff:
- where are some under-sampled areas,
- where are the glaring range or identity questions (e.g. one I heard a couple days ago - in S NV, where exactly is the contact or gap zone for stephensi and mitchellii? do they hybridize, are they sympatric or parapatric?),
- who is dying for a bioblitz on their property, etc.

"Planner freaks" could even figure out what specific critters are likely to generate county records or range extensions, and where they might best be searched for, etc.

I think it'd be pretty easy to screen a handful of such ideas, so that the chosen one for the year is ALSO the one most likely to produce "a real good time for the most people", and thus achieve the "people side of the why". It's important too, but I think it's probably more-easily accommodated, therefore maybe ought to factor in after the "critter side of the why".

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 12:59 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
I'm glad 2012 was a success and am equally glad that 2013 is already being discussed. I don't care where it will be held, as I will try to get there regardless.
I like the idea of a committee with rep's from each chapter, BUT
I really like the idea of each chapter hosting it. Balance a somewhat East to West to North to South type swing each year to accomodate as many as possible.
Jim has me sold on his California spot. Whether it's 2013 or another year, it sounds like a great place to host this.

To toss out an idea on how to choose, I'll recall how the World Congress of Herpetology chooses it's location. Countries, (chapters for NAFHA) put bids on hosting the event. They make "sale" type pitches to the group (NAFHA would use this forum), and then a vote by all the attendees (forum poll) would decide.

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 7:34 am 
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I like the private lands idea. The Texas Herp society has done this for decades.

Some of the larger deer leases in Texas might be persuaded to allow access to their lands at a per person cost. Obviously, we wouldn't want to pay what hunters pay (hundreds of dollars a person) and we wouldn't want to be given the task of "killin' all them rattlesnakes you find", but maybe in the non-hunting seasons those land owners might be amenable to housing a group.

There might be liability concerns with a group of herpers dealing with venomous snakes on their land though.


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 8:16 am 

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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
I ran into a guy that runs a B and B on 60,000 acres in southern Alberta. It's wicked herp diversity for the province, but slim pick'ns for what is expected on a trip like this.
It's also a perfect location for surveying for racers, a herp that has only recently been discovered in the province. However another con is that it's quite a northerly destination and out of the way for NAFHA members.

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 11:26 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
chrish wrote:
Some variables to consider (I'll let others decide if they are good or bad things)

- herpability
I'm not sure about a picking a spot that is mostly herpable at night. This might be my concern in SoCal, Western AZ, West Texas, etc. in summer. These are some great spots, but I think we should choose a time/place where people can herp productively in daylight hours. I love roadcruising and night hiking, but I don't think it should be the primary form of herping in the area.

Sawtooth Can is great for daytime herping, if you go the right time of year.... Mitchelli out sunning, rosys, gophers, patchnoses, coaches out cruisen... like ten different desert lizard species to be seen. Hundreds of miles of road to cruise at night, for a bunch of other herps... :thumb:
chrish wrote:
- habitat diversity/species diversity
The higher the species count, the better. Let's not forget - amphibians are herps too.
I don't think having diverse habitats "just an hour away" is useful. The group should be able to have a great herping experience on foot if possible.

The one thing STC lacks is amphibians. But... that's the upside to having other habitats within an hour or so drive away. Within about 40 min drive from the campground, you could look for the once-a-decade seen SB Mt Large Blotch Ensatina... a couple of thousand ft higher and you might see Zonata, Southern Rubber Boas, and Monteray Ensatinas, along with frogs, toads, ringnecks, skinks (Skiltons & Gilberti) alligator lizards, sagebrush lizards and the only southern Ca pop of Mt Garters.
2 hrs away... (still in SB Co.) you could see Ruber, Coastal (rather than desert) rosys and all the coastal subs of the same herps. Really... something for everybody, within several hrs drive. Heck... you could even make Whitewater Rd in 2 hrs... the West Coast equivalent of Snake Rd. :shock: Every herper has to cruise WW at least once in their life... :crazyeyes:
I could go on and on, listing nearby places and herps... but don't want to seem to insistent or argumentative ... ( :roll: :lol: )
The point I'm trying to make is: Sawtooth seems custom made for a gathering of this sort... HUGE herp diversity within a reasonable distance, and great herping at the spot. Arguable one of the best herping areas in the country. :D
And... I'm even luckier... I live right in the transition zone tween coastal, Mts, and desert... so get to see all the intergrades as well... :shock: :D If and when So Cal gets picked to host...we have an ideal spot... :thumb:
And in keeping with a true southwestern mentality... the guy I need to talk to about getting a permit is named Rusty Gates... :lol: :lol: :lol: jim


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 12:45 pm 
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I like Jim's Idea for the CA spot. Sawtooth Canyon. We could break up into "teams" at night and road cruise in all directions then see who comes up with the best and or most finds the next morning. A little friendly competition doesn't hurt, plus it can add a different form of fun (besides sitting around a camp fire getting drunk) to the event!

As far as AZ Chapter hosting ... If I get 5 people together the "locals only" crowd comes unglued! Imagine the out cry if 70 -100 showed up! I don't believe we realistically could do Sky Islands, at least not as a single group. If we split up and went in different directions it might work, but it would take away from the primary purpose of the event....seeing and meeting other members and herping with them!

Now if I could get 70 or more people to come to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale AZ for a survey day / night or two during Monsoon we could cover the entire preserve AND collect all sorts of data. There are hundreds of places to stay all around, depending on your income and taste level as well as camping and eating nearby. I'm sure some of the local chapter members would "host" a few folks as well. There is NO camping available in the preserve.

We already have the permits that allow full access and off trail travel. Just have to keep a Tread Lightly attitude! And of course collecting is NOT an option.

The preserve has verified atrox, molossus, tigris, scutulatus if your into crotes. Plus a number of other snakes, lizards, Desert Tortoises, Heloderma and AMPHIBIANS too! (Sonoran Desert Toads and Red Spotted Toads have been documented.)

I'm also good for the 'Glades too. I'd love to see a wild croc or gator!

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: NAFHA 2013?
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 7:31 pm 
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chrish wrote:
There might be liability concerns with a group of herpers dealing with venomous snakes on their land though.


Two words: "Hold Harmless" Agreement.

OK, three.


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