An Early Morning Lake Sixteen Environmental Adventure

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

150 Tennis Balls, 91-Acres of Water, 18 Volunteers, and the Ghost of Mastodons: An Early Morning Lake Sixteen Environmental Adventure

Oakland County would be a lesser place if it was not for our beautiful lakes, wetlands, rivers and streams. With those thoughts in mind, I loaded my kayak onto the roof of my jeep on the last Wednesday of August for a bit of participatory, investigative reporting on Lake Sixteen.

The early morning fog lifted just as I pulled into the small parking area near a fishing pier and a non-motorized boat launch site on Lake Sixteen, a 91-acre lake on the east side of Orion Oaks County Park. Lake Sixteen is one of the hundreds, or some say more than a thousand local lakes that sparkle in the early morning light of fading summer. Here’s what Oakland County’s Prosper Magazine wrote last October about the numerous lakes that enrich our lives, and provide diverse habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife and great outdoor recreation for residents of our county.

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Home of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake!

THE WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Massasauga rattler sunning on the Indian Springs Metropark hike-bike trail.

The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is a true pit-viper; the only venomous snake found in Oakland County. They are well camouflaged, docile and secretive and would rather escape than strike when threatened and that may explain a fact noted by emergency medical professionals:  on the rare occasion when a rattlesnake strikes it almost always occurs on the dominated hand of an intoxicated male.  “Hey Joe, Watch at this!” may just summarize the foolish bravado behavior that precedes most encounters between two species, homo sapiens and Sistrurus catenatus catenatus.   Humans are not on the menu, but these highly skilled ambush hunters use their heat -seeking pits to target small rodents and frogs.

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