Eureka Nature

For posting information about natural history events in and around Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Bird Blind gets proposed

This is the first notice I sent to the Parks Commission regarding my bird blind fantasy in conjunction with the May Fine Arts Festival.

- - - - - - - -

You may already know that the primary theme of the 2006 May Fine Arts Festival will be birds and bird art. We would like to offer some other activities related to those themes. These would include

1) Guided bird hikes at Lake Leatherwood
2) Guest lecturers speaking on a variety of topics
3) Bird oriented art tutorials, for instance about writing, drawing, photography etc
4) Free public educational activities in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day
5) Other trips to local birding hot spots
6) Other ideas welcome

The idea of course is to attract more folks to town for the Fine Arts Festival, to increase public awareness of our avian friends, and raise community and visitor awareness of the park's facilities and recreational opportunities. The Park at Lake Leatherwood is an ideal venue for many of these activities. We believe we could enhance its attractiveness by constructing a permanent Bird Viewing Blind, designed to be handicapped accessible. Basically this is a raised platform overlooking some select portion of the lake, with a wheelchair ramp, some seating, and an approximately seven foot wall with viewing ports at various heights. The wall is to block the sight of the viewers from the critters being observed to minimize their tendency to be alarmed by human intrusions. The style would be simple and rugged basic pressure treated deck construction, on an adequate pole and concrete foundation.

At the next meeting I should have a detailed plan for the facility, and a proposed site layout. The Parks Department would not provide any money or labor for the construction, unless they choose to participate. Funding will be from private sources and some yet-to-be-nailed-down city budget items. Most of the labor will be donated gratis. Mostly by me I suspect. More information on that aspect will be available with the detailed proposal. The total value of the project will be $ 4-6,000, depending on the final design and the variable cost of materials. Landscaping is primarily benign neglect, ie. the more natural it looks, the more effectively it works.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have of a general nature. We can get into details and specifics when I have the preliminary drawings made up and presented.

- - - - - - - -

Additional information

One of the goals of the project and its associated activities is to attract more birders to Eureka. We have a lot of art and history which are things they often also care about, so it's a multifaceted attraction. Kind of encourage some eco-tourism. It surprises me that less attention has been paid to that part of the tourist market by the local boosters. CAPC has been offering a bird hike (with me) as an option in their givaway prize weekends, and the folks who have tried it have all said it was the high point of the trip. Another thing that could be promoted is the magnificent spring wildflower bloom. There are some natural rock-gardens at Leatherwood that are simply knock-out. It's also excellent for buterflies ad dragonflies, and I'm trying to build ome ID skils for those critters. I'd love to hook up with someone local who is skilled in that area

- - - - - - - - - -

What I need that I know of now (this will get longer)

1) Some source of native river cane to use for disguising the approach.
2) Info from anyone who may know about resources to help with the handicapped accesible aspect.
3) Contributions of materials, basic pressure treated wood, concrete mix, the sort of things that go into an ordinary deck.

- - - - - - - - -

I gave them the drawing on Feb 21, and we talked about it. They had some suggestions that I put into a revised plan, which is now flagged out at the park waiting a go-ahead so I can get the building permit. The site is in the brushy area along the lake at the end of the little meadow (where the Beacham Trail starts) that is nearer the Bath-House. The long narrow section is the wheelchair loading pad and ramp, and the blind proper is the two square areas deepest in the brush.


Post a Comment

<< Home