Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Park ranger in his makeshift office.
a novel birdfeeder
I needed a day in the great outdoors so decided to drive across Lake Pontchartrain to one of my favorite spots.

Fontainebleau Park on the North Shore is one of those very tranquil places where you can go to hear birdsongs and check out the turtles, dragonflies and occasional alligator without much interference.

When I drove up to the visitor center, however, there was an ominous sign stating: NO RESTROOMS. Approaching on foot, I noticed a full-size tent as if someone were camping.

As it turned out, there was somebody camped out semi-permanently - the ranger.

Last August, Hurricane Isaac flooded that side of the lake and the park with 8-feet of water. The trails were still a mess and the marvelous boardwalk that leads out over the swamp was completely torn apart.

The park ranger, however, was still on duty, happily sitting in a rocking chair inside a tent fully stocked with ice chest, wood stove, laptop and Internet connection. He was back to basics and not displeased about it. (People become park rangers because they like the outdoors.)

This was the marvelous boardwalk that took you over the marsh.
Restoration of the beautiful park is awaiting FEMA, per usual. Not only were the trails messed up, but the fab cabins that sat at the edge of the lake were destroyed by wave action. They had provided an inexpensive getaway that felt a bit like Nantucket.

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