Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Sunny, Cold, and Musings on Too Many Deer

The deer are up and about on Cook's Pond.

A couple of thoughts about the deer have been rolling around in my head these past few days. First, I genuinely hope that no one is trying to feed the deer. Visiting deer in an arctic extreme is one thing, but a resident herd starting at 16-20 deer is quite another.

Deer are widely known for eating garden plantings, bulbs and flours. Deer are less well known as voracious eaters of the entire forest understory, eating all of the new growth of bushes and trees. Deer will eat so much of the forest understory that they erase the future forest that is trying to establish on the ground to take over in 30-35 years.

Deer also carry deer ticks, the smaller version of the more easily identified dog tick, known for carrying diseases that impact humans, though it is worth stating that it isn't just deer but also woodland mice.

In short, while it has been very special for the deer to visit, I wait for them to depart, and if they do not depart I can only hope that the neighborhood coywolves do their part of the food cycle. If people try to feed the deer, and they do stay, there will need to be a management strategy drawn up as that many deer are documented as being unhealthy to such a small forest.

Trailhead Conditions at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 15.3 degrees F and rising;
Humidity is 54% and steady;
Pressure is 29.97" and steady;
Windspeed reached 6 mph in the observation period and is fairly consistent at 2-4 mph;
The Cascades are under a frozen blanket of ice and snow;
The Cascades Brook is mostly covered with a few open patches;
The skies are blue and the sun is out.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE!

National Weather Service Forecast:

Increasing clouds, with a high near 29.
Wind chill values as low as -2.
Southwest wind around 11 mph.

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