Almost heaven, West Virginia,
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Life is old there, older than the trees,
Younger than the mountains growin' like a breeze.
This legendary song "Take me home country roads" is about the places we experienced today. After office meeting and formalities it was great to explore nature in fresh air. We took a bus to see Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. That song inspired our Indian representative to sing in the bus and soon followed by me, Nigeria and Bahrain ;) . It was a cold nd windy morning but people were well prepared for the weather.
Shenandoah National Park is long and narrow, with the broad Shenandoah River and Valley on the west side, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont on the east. The park stretches for 169 km along Skyline Drive from near the town of Front Royal in the northeast to near the city of Waynesboro in the southwest. The Park headquarters are located in Luray.
We had a first meeting with Mr James Schaberl (Chief, Natural and Cultural Resources). He told us basic information about the park. Mr Schaberl said that when Shenandoah was established 80 years ago, the land was private property with 500 homes. People were offered to sell their land and many of them accepted but not all. Some people were forced to go. He also answered to our questions about poaching, the role of patrols and many other. We had a lunch in a nearby cafeteria where I met my facebook friend Patricia Hensley from South Carolina who was visiting park and noticed my status update in FB. It was nice to meet her.
The second meeting was with Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) . We met their staff and got to know about their efforts to protect species and habitat diversity. SCBI facilitates and promotes research programs at Front Royal, at the National Zoo in Washington DC, and at field-research and training sites around the world. We explored their campus outside of Front Royal, got information about their projects and got to see protected animals. After meeting we returned to the national park and met Mr Nelson, who gave an interpretive talk on the creation of the Shenandoah National Park including a 10-minute video.
Finally we had a short self-guided hike (1,3 mile) on the Fox Hollow Nature Trail to an old homesite. People were happy and the day was memorable. Take me home, country roads!
Joy from India and others singing "Take me home country roads", music from Ashley's iphone ;)
Meeting a FB friend Patricia Hensley by co-incidence in Front Royal.
Clouded leopard, one of species in the area.