Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Reopening day was April 25, 2009 and many happy crystal diggers were on hand. The Crystal Dig Area has been a popular destination for school groups, scouts, tourists, birders, and rock hounds for many years. An estimated 30,000 visitors are at the area annually to dig for the selenite crystal with its unique hour glass inclusion. This is the only known site where these crystals are found. The selenite crystal is designated as the Oklahoma State Crystal. A video is posted on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qYDZ3ehNz8 that gives first time diggers the lowdown on what to take and what to expect.
The re-opening coincided with the annual Birding and Heritage Festival held in Alfalfa County. The Selenite Crystal Dig Area is located on the salt flats of Salt Plains NWR. The salt flats provide important habitat for nesting and migrating shorebirds including interior least terns and snowy plovers. Recent surveys indicate that Salt Plains NWR is the most important area in the United States for snowy plovers.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Alabaster Caverns State Park WatchableWildlife Weekend
April 30th, May 1st and 2nd, 2009
ALL ACTIVITIES ARE FREE!!!!!
(6 miles south of Freedom, OK on Hwy 50)
Here is a partial listing of the activities planned for the weekend. Most activities repeat daily, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with some one time only events thrown in each day.
“Skulls and Skins” presented by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Conservation Wildlife Technician Russell Perry and Major County Game
Warden Frank Huebert. Can you identify these native animals by their skulls and skins?
“Native Animals andWildlife Rehabilitation”
“Geology and Cavern Formation” presented by Alabaster Caverns State
Park Naturalist Tandy Keenan. Do you know what's "in your backyard?"
“Did you have any idea you could make that from a Bison?”
presented by National Park Service Ranger Dick Zahm. Display will highlight some of the
uses of the American Bison from Native American traditions as well as more recent.
“Making Tracks” presented by Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge's
Outdoor Recreation Planner Becky Wolff from the Salt Plains National Wildlife
Refuge. Make some tracks and take one home with you.
for early morning risers this will repeat Friday and Saturday at different locations and times
Saturday May 1
7:00am-9:00am Early Morning Birding Tour at Boiling Springs
State Park (Hwy 34C and 50B) presented by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Conservation Biologist Melynda Hickman. This tour is free and participants will
be driven through the park via flatbed trailer with seating for optimal
viewing. However, pre-registration is required and limited to 25 people.
Please call Tandy Keenan at (580) 621-3381 to register.
Saturday May 2nd
6:30am-8:30am Morning Birding Tour at Alabaster Caverns State
Park presented by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Biologist Melynda
Hickman. This activity is free and is a walking tour. Participants will meet at the Clubhouse
Picnic Shelter (just west of the park office) and be ready to depart at 6:30a.m. Please wear
dark or earth-tone colors and don’t forget your binoculars!
I have posted a complete weekend events listing at
Monday, April 27, 2009
What a surprise to actually see this neat spot in the middle of Iowa corn fields. A quick search when I got home produced the http://www.freedomrock.com/ web site that gives the whole story. I will never snooze on a cross country trip again, hard telling what I might miss!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
This is the famous Big Beaver and that is a cow chip he is holding, not a cookie or a donut. Beaver holds this week-long event every year the third weekend in April. They have cook-outs in the parks, vendors everywhere and of course no northwest Oklahoma event would be complete without the parade down the main street.
Beaver proudly promotes the Cow Chip Throwing contest and they have had contestants from Euopean countries as well as all over the U.S. This is big business for them and the pendant street signs say it all. In addition to the annual event, this small Oklahoma panhandle community is located just across the river from one of Oklahoma's State Parks. The Beaver Dunes State Park has about 450 acres of sand available for ATV and off road riding. They offer camping with electrical and water and if you are a fishing enthusiast, try out the pond. Photographers delight in the changing seasons in this area and the wildlife viewing possibilities. learn more at http://www.beavercowchipnews.com/beaver_dunes.htm
Bloggers were invited and came from Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas and of course Kansas. Not just “travel bloggers” but a mix of interested people who just love to write and share what they know and see and learn with others. This is the think outside the box theory times 8 or 10. This is the “decide who will tell my story” and this is “finding those experts who want to tell others”. The group was diverse not only in where they came from, but a mix of male and female, young and old with a common twitter connection.
So in the coming days I will be posting about Hutchinson, what I saw, did and most importantly what I learned about tourism promotion from @codyks on twitter.