Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary at 75: Great Place For A Date?

Back in my drinking days, an inebriated friend once assured me that Hawk Mountain is the perfect spot for a first date. Mind you, the closest he'd ever come to any bird, to say nothing of a raptor, was the Wild Turkey bourbon he guzzled with reckless abandon every weekend. But he really wanted to impress a lady friend with his knowledge and love of nature, gained mostly from watching the Discovery Channel. Unfortunately, it worked. He married her. Now they cart their kids there several times a year, where peregrine falcons and bald eagles can shit on them from 10,000 feet above sea level.

"Say hello to my little friend."

I tried his ploy myself. I took a date to dinner and Hawk Mountain, but it was a bust. She had trouble with Taco Bell's admittedly rich, international cuisine. That became all too evident during a short ride in my Jeep. She married someone else. He takes her to Hawk Mountain all the time.
Did you know Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey? That it was founded in 1934 by private conservationists? That it's been designated a Registered National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior in 1965?

Neither did I. Yesterday, Congressmen Charlie Dent and Tim Holden co-sponsored a House Resolution saluting and honoring Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on its 75th birthday. They salute Hawk Mountain, its full-time staff of sixteen employees and more than 200 volunteer members for their contributions to the preservation of wildlife, especially birds of prey, and the native ecology of the Appalachian Mountains and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Congressman Dent provides some background in remarks on the House floor on Tuesday, where the resolution was adopted:

“In 1934, noted wildlife conservationist Rosalie Edge was drawn to Hawk Mountain after learning large numbers of hawks were being killed as they migrated along the Appalachian Mountains’ Kittatinny Ridge. After this initial visit, Edge leased 1,400 acres of the ridge for a mere $500 and opened it to the public as place for local residents to view birds of prey in their natural habitat. Later, the property was deeded to the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, which oversaw the preservation of the land and protection of its wildlife.

“Since its modest beginnings in the 1930s, Hawk Mountain has remained a year-round wildlife sanctuary that introduces students and visitors to the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the many birds of prey that call the range home. Today, sixteen full-time employees and a volunteer workforce of over 200 dedicated members help educate thousands of visitors each year about the value of preserving the native ecology of eastern Pennsylvania. With the goal of providing a unique and engaging educational experience for its visitors, Hawk Mountain offers weekend programs for local residents, guided programs for students and groups, and fully-accredited college-level courses in cooperation with Cedar Crest College, located in my District.

“In addition to educating the public, the employees and volunteers at Hawk Mountain have contributed greatly to the development of effective conservation practices that help preserve vital ecosystems throughout the world. The sanctuary staff works with world-class raptor scientists, conservationists, graduate students and international interns to collect and analyze important information, as well as formulate and test new conservation strategies."


Unfortunately, the House Resolution fails to mention is that Hawk Mountain is a great place for a first date. Must have been an oversight.
Update: Is Hawk Mountain Haunted? Steve Barron thinks so. Hawk Mountain was apparently once sacred Indian land, and the Lenni Lenape murdered a few irreverent early settlers. This, of course, led to ... ghosts. Imagine that! In addition to impressing your first date with your love of nature, you can scare the hell out of her with a few ghost stories. She'll be in your arms in no time.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Charlie for the resolution that is so in=mportant to the serious need for Health Care reform and economic recovery.

Good to see you are on top of things.

Anonymous said...

Hawk Mountain is very nice, but you'll see far more raptors in a shorter time in the northern part of Bushkill Township or near the Appalachian Trail near Wind Gap. Save an hour and a lot of gas - and likely see more raptors.

Anonymous said...

To think that Congress shouldnt do anything else because they are debating health care reform is asinine. Congress has been debating health care reform for decades. Also, arent the Democrats the ones in charge of the Congress' schedule?

Geophile said...

It's worth it just for the old fashioned farm and woods countryside on the rolling hills of Albany Township, the beautiful view visible from Hawk Mountain. Beautiful drive, a possible ride on the WK&S railroad, a stop at County Line Orchard for some apples . . . a perfect day.

I grew up out there and our parents took us to Hawk Mountain as soon as we could toddle. It's always worth a trip.

Anonymous said...

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has the longest-running scientific tally of hawk migration in the world. Drops in numbers of raptors migrating over HMS were used to document the eggshell-damaging effects of DDT. HMS data now supports the benefits of the ban on DDT. HMS has taught raptor counting and helped set up counting stations in countries on critical flyways all over the world. It's an international treasure.