Around The Parks: Ice Bridges At Isle Royale, Sea Turtle Record At Dry Tortugas, Scotty's Castle Delays
Watching Lake Superior ice at Isle Royale National Park, counting sea turtles at Dry Tortugas National Park, and road work woes for Scotty's Castle visitors at Death Valley National Park are just some of the other stories around the National Park System this week.
Ice To The Rescue At Isle Royale?
That bitterly cold polar vortex that frigidly embraced the eastern half of the country early this month is being looked at as a possible savior for wolves at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.
The hope is that an "ice bridge" will form between the Ontario mainland and the national park in Lake Superior so wolves from Canada can find their way to Isle Royale and infuse the few wolves there with some new genes to reverse chronic inbreeding. While such a bridge has been appearing in various forms since the first of the year, water currents and warming temperatures could scuttle the prospect.
The forecast for this week has daily high temperatures bouncing all over the place, from single digits into the 20s. Cross your fingers for another prolonged icy blast.
Boom In Nesting Sea Turtles At Dry Tortugas National Park
What's in a number? When the number is 470, a lot of sea turtles! That's the number of Green Sea Turtle nests spotted at Dry Tortugas National Park during the 2013 nesting season.
According to park biologists, that's more than double the previous year's 218 nests. Combine that with the first Leatherback Sea Turtle nest spotted at Dry Tortugas in a decade, and 2013 was a phenomenal year for the Tortugas turtles, the park reports.
(Thanks to the South Florida National Parks Trust for funding a University of Miami student internship to help count the turtle nests.)
Road Work Could Slow Your Visit To Scotty's Castle At Death Valley
Scotty's Castle, one of the popular destinations at Death Valley National Park, is open. But construction work on the road to the castle is creating snarls that could delay you up to 30 minutes. The problems are between the Grapevine Ranger Station and the park boundary at NV-267, and on road to Mesquite Springs Campground.
Park officials urge caution due to unpaved surfaces and sections of one-lane road. Sometime this winter, likely in February and March, the road from Scotty's Castle east to the park boundary will be closed for up to 60 days.
Scotty's Castle will remain open during this time, but will only be accessible from the south via Scotty's Castle Road. You can call 760-786-2392 for updated information.