Monthly Archives: May 2012
Its a bit depressing that after living in this town for nearly 20 years I’m only just discovering this place. Dark Hollow park is a hidden gem that lies only a few miles from my house, and I find out about it just in time to leave.
The park is 770 acres and straddles the Neshaminy Creek in Bucks County. It sits on a chunk of land that had apparently been bought by the state prior to breaking ground on a damn that would have flooded the area. Luckily for everyone not in the dam building business the project was abandoned after it was found to be environmentally detrimental.
Since the state couldn’t build their dam, the land was instead designated as a park, and promptly forgotten about. Or at least that’s how it seems from the few times I’ve been there. There’s a minimum of regulatory signage, very little parking, and in two visits I haven’t seen more than a dozen people there total.
Parts of the park do seem to suffer from Bucks Counties nigh-hysterical overabundance of deer. There’s not much in the way of an understory. While this isn’t great ecologically, it does make for a ‘pretty’ park.
The Neshaminy is stocked with Trout, and everyone I’ve seen in the park was fishing, I tried for a few hours, but came up short Trout-wise. I caught a handful of other fish, but nothing over six inches long. With all the competition I’m not surprised, or disappointed, it was nice to go wading.
Actually, although I didn’t catch a Trout (I don’t count the one that tore the fly off my line) the fishing was superb. As someone who is only ‘decent’ at fly-fishing I appreciate shallow, slow flowing water and banks without too much shrubbery as much or more than I like actually catching fish. I only got hung up on overhanging branches twice, and left after five hours of fishing without a single horrible knot in my leader. Even Trout-less that counts as a win.
Even better, perhaps because this park isn’t terribly popular, there is a fair amount of obvious wildlife. Aside from the omnipresent deer, I saw a groundhog (ok, not particularly exotic), and this adorable weasel. I’d have loved to get a better picture, but its hard to sneak wearing waders.
The tragedy (for me at least) here is that I’ve only just begun to become acquainted with this place as I’m readying myself to ship out. I spent all day today (procrastinating) packing. I won’t have time to go back for another hike before I leave for my next job.
I’ve been in Pennsylvania for a little less than six months now. Too long, really. But although I don’t much care for sticking in one place this long, the time has been valuable. I’ve at least managed to stay employed the entire time (if underemployed) and taking classes through PSU’s World Campus has been wonderful. If anyone is on the fence about furthering their education but isn’t able to commute to a local campus I heartily recommend the correspondence (thankfully not mail based) programs Penn State offers.
But, although I’m only half done with my GIS certification (I’ll be finished in December), I’m heading out again. This time to the Stewart B. Mckinney Wildlife Refuge in Connecticut where I picked up a job as a Summer Island Keeper. (Which has to be my favorite title ever, I almost want to print business cards solely to show it off). Starting in a few days I’ll be a resident on Calf Island in the Long Island Sound. I’m thrilled.
Take a look at the link above, this place seems awesome. Moreover the job caters to my strengths AND allows me to branch out a bit. A large chunk of my time will be spent on Invasive Species management, which is pretty much my forte at this point, but I’ll also be able to help with some ongoing wildlife work at the preserve. Wildlife Biology is notoriously difficult to break into, and although I actually prefer botany, I’m eager to learn new things.
Pictures and new stories will follow.