Saturday, May 18th 2013
night I took my daughter and nephew to see the "Croods".
It was my first time ever going into the Mar-VA theater and I
must say it was a delight. The movie was impressive, colorful,
entertaining, and very touching. The kids enjoyed the movie and
my daughter said "mommy the popcorn is really cheap here"...Overall
I see myself going to more movies there and would recommend it
to any one looking for a nice cozy place to catch a good movie!!!
Nature Trail update
Ritch Shoemaker MD, project chairman
Tuesday, May 14th 2013
Looking back from where we are now, I can’t believe we only
got started 2 weeks ago. Now we are ready to start building (come
help us on 5/15 and beyond). The massive transport job led by
foreman Andy Clarke is just about done. The 38 “second floor”
racks are now waiting on the island (as yet unnamed; how about
“Broken Back Island”?) near their final resting place
in the final stretch of impenetrable swamp. Granted it took two
sessions of 90 minutes each to load the 150 pound racks in groups
of 10 onto Andy’s long trailer, transport them from the
City Public Works lot to the building site, slide each rack down
the hill and through the woods, over the bridges and into place.
It took four people to load each rack; two to unload and move
to the forest and four to haul into the swamp staging area.
We had some
familiar faces sweating with the loads: Larry Fykes, Rob Clarke
(right in there full bore!), Andy Clarke, Michael Redden and a
newbie, Josh Weichman. Our first truck load took 58 minutes and
the second 39 minutes. The next session was Andy, Larry, Rob,
Scott Tatterson, some physician part time, and from the cadet
corps came Kalie and Luke Speta. With all that crew, Larry suggested
that they move some planks that we need to use as joists as well.
And so they did.
the Town Public Works crew has moved the hundreds of 4 foot treads
that Chris Miles cut (for free, thanks Chris!) for us. Only 600
more to go (well, maybe a few more). We are ready for the machine-like
assembly line in the swamps! But, one small item remains. What
path does the Trail actually follow to get to its final end point?
Into the swamp go Andy and Larry, with music from African Queen
and Heart of Darkness quietly playing in the stream of consciousness.
They make it back alive. Larry’s hip waders didn’t
drag him down into the suction of the organic floor of the wooded
wetlands (don’t laugh, that happens).
So now we
are so close to finishing. Larry wants to jump start our deep
water sections, the most difficult, which as one might expect
are the first. Yet, our plan is still to push the work over Memorial
Day weekend, beginning on Saturday at 9 AM. Volunteers will assemble
at the Greenway parking area for the Trail entrance by the golf
course and walk around Stevenson’s Pond to the work site
adjacent to the northbound Route 13 Bridge. You will see and hear
us. Bring your own tick repellent spray, water and work gloves.
We will work for 3 good hours and see what we have.
We are so thankful for the support we have received so far. Many
people have called asking about how to contribute. Checks are
welcome, payable to CRBAI or the Pocomoke Nature Trail; mail them
to Nature Trail, 500 Market St Suite 103, Pocomoke, Md 21851.
going out (as soon as they are done!) to Anne Hughes, Al Correia,
Debbie Waidner, CD Hall and Nancy Newsome for their donations
for a Foot of the Trail. Major donors are Dr. Tom and Dorothea
Harblin and Dr. Scott McMahon who will each sponsor an observation
station. Our biggest booster to date is Circuit Court Judge Richard
Bloxom who is a Silver Sponsor and supporter of an observation
volunteer to do this much work?
As I stood as quietly as I could last week on the island, I could
hear the pileated woodpeckers and summer tanagers calling. Prothonotary
warblers were all around. See them and hear them. There was a
black and white warbler close to the trunk of the sycamore tree.
The great crested flycatchers (AKA weep-weep birds) were definitely
annoyed that I was in their space. I heard a new bird call, one
almost like a warbler’s phrasing, but no, this was a vireo.
We have lots of vireos in our swamps, but this one…
is getting bad, so I can’t rely on the sound any more. There
it is, I can see it just overhead. It was a solitary vireo (and
was by itself too), one that I personally have never seen around
here. Where is naturalist John Dennis when I need him?
I saw a blue-lined
skink and found scat of a fox newly deposited on the top of the
new bridge abutment. The lizard and fox couldn’t resist
checking out our new trail. Neither can I. As the evening started
to arrive with fading light, softening of the wind in the cypress
and a few buzz, buzzing bugs around my ears, I could see schools
of surface feeders breaking the calm of the slack waters between
the tides. Solace, indeed.
And yet, what
was that? Not a log; that was a head! An otter! Oh my, I haven’t
seen otters here for twenty years! I waited, hoping if I held
my breath that it would come my way but it swam to shore out of
sight up by the magnificent cypress that will be our final destination
of this loop.
fish, and quiet magnificence of our Trail: all this wonder leads
to some important questions. What really matters when people are
slaughtered in Mother’s Day parade and stories of unspeakable
horror fills our newspaper? Are we really better off to seal away
human populations from use of our wooded wetlands as a place for
solace, learning and recreation? Or are we better off teaching
our visitors what splendor we have by letting them see it from
our protected boardwalks and observation platforms. I have consistently
voted to open access of our forests and swamps to school kids
and visitors understanding that a few visitors will attack our
signs and some others will toss cans and paper onto the forest
floor. Not all people are good hearted.
knucklehead who trashes a part of our Trail, there are hundreds
and hundreds of others who will value seeing an otter slide or
an osprey soar or a calico bass ripple a still surface. Will seeing
an elusive vireo (after first identifying its call) impact an
eighth grader’s view of nature and the world? Will that
attention to detail be the springboard for a new answer to approaching
the complex problems of a global world? Can we just try?
I am not
suggesting that studying lizard habitat or understanding where
mammals hide under the snows in southern places like Pocomoke
will help save the world, but as long as we have youngsters like
Hunter Tatterson, Kalie and Luke Speta, and Josh Weichman who
are willing to give back to a community like Pocomoke, almost
before they are old enough to have taken from the community, then
I am optimistic that all the efforts of old guys like Don and
Jim and me, like Jack Spurling years ago, are based on an idea
that won’t die as we will. We have a duty to teach, to share
and to provide for those who will follow and improve upon our
attempts to make this a better place to live, to work and to raise
the next generation. We can’t ask our schools to take on
extra burdens when we can combine our love of nature and our willingness
to do the hard work to share with others in hopes that our survivors
will see what we see now.
So, you can
understand why I feel that building the last loop of the Trail
means a lot symbolically. Please give generously of your time
and what donations you can to help us make the Pocomoke Nature
forget to pick up a couple of the famous Birds of the Pocomoke
River t-shirts! And the bumper stickers too. Call us at 410-957-1550
or at the Chamber of Commerce at 410-957-1919.
(1980), Mayor Dawson Clarke told me that once I had some Pocomoke
River mud under my toenails that I would stick around. The world
has changed since then but the same river mud that helped shape
my career to focus on environmental health issues might just be
important for some one else.
help our Trail committee make that opportunity grow.
the Pocomoke City Nature Trail Donation Form
Trail Committee, Chairman
Nature Trail Construction Update
Ritch Shoemaker MD, project chairman
Tuesday, May 6th 2013
Any case you missed it this weekend, the fast moving tornado that
swept through the Nature Trail Loop construction project was Larry
Fykes (construction foreman) and Andy Clarke (transport foreman)
scooping up very task we had to complete and blowing them away.
Russ Blake caught a few candid photos of our crew at the Saturday
rack building session. I hope he had a fast lens to stop the action!
face it; this entire project is complex and heavy. The construction
project now includes over 50 tons of materials that have to be
organized, moved to the Trail site, staged and assembled. We are
well on the way!
had just a couple of hours to put together 38 racks, each 4 foot
by 16 foot, with five cross braces. Done; the racks are now stockpiled
at the City Public Works lot. Back in 1993, building flimsier
versions of these racks took us old guys at least three sessions
of hand hammering of three hours each to finish. Now that Larry
and Andy are tooled to do the job, our work crew of Andy, Larry,
Robbie Mills, Scott Tatterson and his 9th grade son Hunter, Mike
Thornton, Rob Clarke (no kidding I have photos of Rob working)
and I knocked out all the racks in 125 minutes. Don Malloy supervised.
You had to see those guys crank out the racks! After a task decision-process
that took at least 5 minutes, the racks were put together in 115
minutes. It is incredible to think that a rack could be finished
and stacked in less than four minutes each.
has another nickname now: call him Hammer, the nail gun man. These
racks are stronger than our old ones, with four nails per side
(not three) and five cross braces not four. Hunter wasn’t
too thrilled at first (it seemed) to be volunteering to carry
70-pound boards when the rest of his class mates might be still
sleeping. And Mike was inscribing nailing lines as fast as he
could bend over to do so.
Larry, Andy, Don and I had to clear out underbrush from our proposed
staging area on the island in Stevenson’s Pond. I had no
idea this site was an island. But the island apparently has no
name; maybe because no one has visited! I hope that readers can
help me with the name of the island, or if none is known, suggest
reasonable names. I tend to think that we should honor Don by
naming the island for him. Don’s Watery Den, anyone? Malloy’s
Mire? Understanding that no man is an island, and only one island
is named for Man, what should we call this island? “Trail
Staging Area Island” doesn’t have a real clever sound
be bashful about suggestions.
the access bridge to the island is now sturdy, we have to get
ready for hauling in our materials for the Memorial Day weekend
construction. Remember, we need you to help! If you aren’t
interested in hauling wood for the actual construction, how about
a nice donation? Or buy a famous Bird T-shirt!
Andy is so
in to tools. He is often reminded of his uncle’s suggestion
to invest in tools that will save labor immediately and for the
days to come. Here again, the advances of the next generation
need recognition. There I was, sweating for 10 minutes to use
loppers to clear out a 30 square foot area of greenbrier, scrubby
alder and gum. Andy had his metal blade on a device that looked
like a trimmer. In 10 minutes, Andy is barely breaking a sweat
and 70 square feet are clear. Meanwhile Larry has figured out
how the Trail will traverse the creek and the wetlands beyond.
Don has supervised. All told, 60 minutes passed and the entire
site is cleared and is ready to go.
the rocket pace of Trail work continued. This time, all it took
was 90 minutes for the delivery of 50 trimmed railroad ties to
the island site. Think about it. Take a chain a saw, cut through
a sandy, creosoted railroad tie without significantly dulling
the chain. First, though push the 200 pound tie far enough away
from its stack to cut off 30 inches using a simple template to
mark the 30 .inches mark. Nice work, Andy and Larry.
Larry is scrounging pallets for the (bound to be useful) 30 inch
pieces. Scott Tatterson and son Hunter are joined by Mike Redden,
who seems to be everywhere lifting ties and organizing them on
Andy’s trailer. Almost immediately the trailer is loaded
with 7500 pounds of ties, the pieces are on three pallets and
we are off to the island. Don has supervised.
The ties don’t
jump off the trailer by themselves and they sure don’t make
a neat and tidy pile in the forward staging area by themselves.
Amazing. The whole job only took 90 minutes.
Don agrees it is a good idea to show civic pride to help this
Mayor Bruce Morrison donated a foot as did Jennifer and John Rafter.
Dr. John Whittaker (and Suzanne) donated two feet, as did Don
Malloy; and also Jim and Dee Norton. Just about every business
in town has received a donation packet by now, complete with free
Trail book and a nifty bumper sticker (this one was designed by
Debbie Waidner). If you don’t have a packet, call the Chamber
at 410-957-1919 or my office at 410-957-1550. We will get one
to you right away.
Next up is
the rest of the railroad ties. We need strong backs and a willingness
to work fast. And have a good time! We have started building bridges
over deep holes in the island entry way to the new Trail construction;
that work will be done soon. We need to transport the 38 racks
and over 950 pieces of boardwalk decking.
join us in this worthy cause. We would like to be done by
Ritch Shoemaker MD, chairman
Thank You from the Pocomoke Spring Open Golf Tournament
Chuck Scott of TD Digital Printers, Committee Chair for the Pocomoke
Wednesday, May 1st 2013
Chamber would like to thank everyone who participated in the Pocomoke
Spring Open Golf Tournament!
The winning team was sponsored by Hickman Heating, Plumbing &
Air Conditioning, Inc. and consisted of Mickey Ashby, Ralph Hickman,
Wade Taylor and David Brittingham. Congratulations!
The Bergey & Company team was second, and Adam Mason and The
Chauncey Swingers came in third. Thank you to everyone who played,
donated, or sponsored a tee
The other teams entered were:
The Chauncey Swingers
Philadelphia Investment Management
TD Digital Printers
---Walt Warren (Peninsula Printing
---Dennis Cuzzo (Pocomoke Chiropractic
Bergey & Company
We would also like to thank all of those who so generously donated
to our tournament:
Peninsula Golf and Country Club
The Bay Club
Hog Neck Golf Course
Heritage Shores Club
Nutter’s Crossing Golf Club
Eagle's Landing Golf Course
Maple Dale Country Club
Rum Pointe Golf Club
Bear Trap Dunes
Bay Creek Resort & Club
Ocean Resorts Golf Club
Deer Run Golf Club
thank you as well to those who purchased tee
Pocomoke City Lions Club
Atlantic General Hospital
Philadelphia Investment Co.
Pocomoke Chiropractic Center
Market Street Boutique
Trail Progress Report April 28, 2013
Ritch Shoemaker MD, project chairman
Tuesday, April 30th 2013
far, we have obtained a line of credit to purchase the materials
we need for the 600 foot long “Missing Link” that
will let us walk around Stevenson’s Pond and loop back to
the main Trail in the high ground. We have our first buyers of
a “Foot of the Loop,” as Pamela and Professor Matthew
Hudson donated double the cost of two feet. Don’t be bashful
about buying the Famous bird T-shirt! We will have an excellent
selection next week to complement our dwindling supplies.
donate to the Trail? Simple. It is a magnificent project. With
all the talk about government doing dumb things with tax dollars,
here is a model for community self-help. Keep the gubmint out
of here! We can do this work privately just fine.
think, walkers will now be able to see flame azaleas of the banks
of Stevenson’s Pond (blooming right now) up close and touch
massive cypress knees growing from the root systems of cypress
trees that might have not been touched by people for a long time.
The origin of our Trail is blazed through a logged-over cypress
swamp but the missing link doesn’t have any cypress stumps
that I can find. The swamp is just too deep to cut and drag out
huge cypress trees. I wonder who has visited this unfound ground
in the last 50 years.
yet we would like to open access into this hidden forest to anyone
who can walk on a boardwalk. The job really is a bit ambitious
for old men like Don Malloy, Jim Norton and me. Larry Fykes has
already volunteered for the job of construction foreman and now
his fellow volunteer fireman, Andy Clarke, has agreed to be in
charge of transporting materials from our stockpile at the City
Works lot to the loop site. I can almost feel a passing of the
hammer here and this is a good thing. Andy was 10 years old when
the original Trail was build yet even back then he was helping
out. Larry was right at the “Head of the Trail” for
the section of 300 feet of boardwalk we added several years ago
to join the Trail to the City Dock in Cypress Park.
guys at the Head get wet, dirty and lots of satisfaction by setting
in the “sleepers,” long structural beams, which are
then held together by 16 foot racks of cross-braced 2x8 boards.
As the developing structures weaves its 16 foot lengths through
the swamps, avoiding disturbing the vegetation as much as possible,
the “mules” bring in the materials for the joist layer
of more 2x8x16 foot boards.
initially walk on the joist layer placed flat until such time
as we can attach the boards on end to the racks and then attach
the treads to make the top layer of the boardwalk. By staggering
the angle of attachment of one rack to another the entire structure
can wind sinuously on top of the floor of the wooded wetland,
as the Trail interlaces by trees and hummocks, it can resist forces
of winds and tide that could tear apart a straight line structure.
is where the next generation of builders comes in. We’ve
got to access the loop staging area by crossing a 40 foot-wide
stream (or gut, as they are called around here). The bridge we
built 20 years ago that crosses the gut lasted until Hurricane
Sandy surged the bridge abutments up onto the bank, twisting the
4 foot wide structure into a good imitation of a salt treated
Mobius strip. I have no decent plan for what to do to fix the
bridge. If we can’t cross the gut, the idea of finishing
the loop is just an old man’s fantasy.
looks at the bridge and talks with Larry for a moment. “We
can use a come-along like the house movers do. We can move the
four-ton bridge back into position, level it up and we are then
set to start moving materials in. Shouldn’t be much of a
it wasn’t. The next day when Larry and Andy started finagling
with the come-along, using different trees to be the solid end,
we could get the free end of the bridge levered out of the swamp
only to have it slip back when the tension increased on the come-along.
Andy didn’t get frustrated, just looking for a place to
attach the come-along with a different chain angle and a different
height of the solid end on the tree. “Let me try just one
more time. If I can’t get it then, I will be surprised.”
Larry guiding the free end of the bridge (but not pinning his
leg between the nearby tree and the bridge abutment), Andy cranked
her up one more time. Slowly the bridge eased past the roots,
and up the bank. Larry yelled out, “Just a little more,
Andy, we are almost there.”
then the job was done. The bridge dropped right where it had to
be in its new perfect position. The structure is solid and it
will carry the weight of hundreds of 2x8s and 100 200-pound sleepers,
not to mention a herd of mules.
done, Larry, good job! And the gold star goes to the Come-Along
King, Andy Clarke. Next weekend we will start on building the
out and help us. There is hard work ahead but we sure have a good
time. Call the Chamber at 410-957-1919 or Dr. Shoemaker’s
office at 410-957-1550 for more information.
don’t forget to donate
to the Trail project!
Pocomoke Nature Trail Tentative Construction Dates
Ritch Shoemaker MD, project chairman
Friday, April 26th 2013
Pocomoke Nature Trail Committee has been busy. Thanks to Chris Miles,
the City has received enough lumber to start building the understructure
for the new boardwalk. The foundation lumber or “sleepers,”
are being delivered today. We are in need of volunteers to help
us get ready for the construction of the 600’ long final piece
of the Stevenson’s Pond loop. This truly is a wonderful project!
We would like to work on several Friday/Saturday times in May. If
you can lift a board or drive a 16 penny nail, we need you! Sign
up sheets are posted at Harris Ace Hardware, the Chamber of Commerce
and at the office of Ritchie Shoemaker MD. The spectacular Bird
shirts, including ladies cuts, are being made now.
For more information on donation of time or some dollars, please
call the Chamber at 410-957-1919 or Dr. Shoemaker at 410-957-1550.
Tentative supply moving and construction dates are Friday May 10
and Friday May 17.
Pocomoke Spring Open Golf Tournament, April 20 2013
Jennifer Rafter, Executive Director, Pocomoke Area Chamber of
Thursday, April 25th 2013
by John T. Rafter - Click here for more
Dear Friend of the Pocomoke City Nature Trail
Ritch Shoemaker MD, project chairman
Thursday, April 18th 2013
am writing to you to share some news about our Nature Trail and
its new construction project. After 20 years of thinking that
“someday” we would walk the last link around Stevenson’s
Pond, we can now make our dreams come alive. We are so hopeful!
as you might have already guessed, I am hoping that this privately-funded
construction project is one that you might support financially.
We need to raise $30,000 for the 600 feet of floating boardwalk,
gather volunteers to build the last link and then donate the project
to the City. This project is endorsed by the Mayor and City Council
of Pocomoke and is supported by the Pocomoke City Chamber of Commerce.
case the history of the Trail construction in 1993 (followed by
the “flying bridge” installation in November 1993
and Fishing Pier in 1994) is a bit distant, I am enclosing a copy
of our book, Discovery Nature Trail, A Guide for Walkers. Please
accept this book as our thanks for considering a donation to our
501-c-3, non-profit conservation organization. All donations are
considered to be charitable donations. We are dedicated to our
three goals of providing education, enhancing public access and
increasing awareness of conservation of the wildness and beauty
of the Pocomoke River.
design for the new boardwalk is the same as what we first developed
in 1992, with verification that the engineering was adequate provided
by Eddie Young. The test of time has confirmed that both Eddie
and our design committee were right on target! Fortunately, the
test of time has also showed that maintenance, now consistently
and competently provided by the City Public Works Department,
is not a budget-breaker.
importantly, as the years have shown, the Trail is a focal point
of civic pride, not just for weddings and outings for our school-age
kids, but for all users of the Trail. The joining of the Trail
effort with the Discovery Center and the Chamber ensures the Trail
will continue to be a destination for those who enjoy nature and
give generously, as the construction will provide a finishing
touch to our Trail.
more information, call Debbie Waidner at 410-957-1550 (9-2; M-F)
or Jennifer Rafter at the Chamber of Commerce 410-957-1919 (10-4;
the Pocomoke City Nature Trail Donation Form