05.10.13 “The birds are singing in your eyes today. Sweet flowers blossom in your smile. The wind and sun are in the words you say. Where might your lonesome lover be?”- Woody Guthrie It has been a busy week in the trees around the lower elevations of Monadnock. In a very short period of time, the leaves have sprung from their buds and the forest scenery is becoming more and more seasonably green in color. We have welcomed periods of rain at Monadnock since Wednesday. And even though the sun shines brightly on the mountain today, thunderstorms and scattered showers may pop up this afternoon and evening. We're expecting overcast skies and more rain to move into the Region for Saturday. Showers may carry over Saturday night, into Sunday morning. We hope to see some clearing and a return of sunshine as the day progresses on Sunday, continuing into the start of next week. Overnight temperatures through the weekend are expected to fall into the low 50's. We should see some cooling off in the daytime on Sunday, and into next week, with high temperatures at the base of the mountain reaching the low to mid 60's. Especially in the lowest elevations, the black flies and mosquitoes are creating a formidable team to contend with. If you're a hiker or camper that utilizes bug spray, now is the time to bring it! Bug spray is available in the Monadnock HQ Park Store, along with our new logo t-shirts. As mentioned in previous reports, ticks are also out in great numbers this year. Take precautions, check yourself and your hiking partners over periodically, and stay on trail! She was a Day Tripper... I had the pleasure of guiding Fox CT up and down Grand Monadnock this past week. The Connecticut television affiliate will be featuring Mount Monadnock on their "Day Trippers" segment next week, airing locally in Connecticut first on Thursday, May 16th. The segment will be available online for everyone to see shortly afterwards and we will provide the link on our blog and NH State Park Social Media outlets when it becomes available. I want to thank Sarah Cody from Fox CT, and also cameraman Scott Vargas, for coming out to explore and share our treasured mountain and patiently listening to me bombard them with Monadnock stories and folklore all day. I had a great time and look forward to the feature! This Week in Monadnock History It was this week, 25 years ago, that a ceremony took place celebrating Mount Monadnock's designation as a National Natural Landmark. National Natural Landmarks (NNL) is a United States National Parks program, started in May of 1962, that recognizes natural places that contain "outstanding biological and geological resources" and features. On May 7th, 1988, a full day of activities, including an official dedication, were tied in to celebrate Monadnock's designation. Guests included then-New Hampshire Governor John Sununu and former Monadnock State Park Manager Charlie Royce (1962-1972). A full day of presentations and programs, partnered with the Harris Center and the Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests, kicked off at 9am at Monadnock State Park Headquarters. Talks on birding, forest management, wild flowers, Henry David Thoreau, and land protection were included throughout the day. Interestingly, the plaque to commemorate Monadnock as a NNL, shipped by the National Parks Service, arrived at Monadnock only a week and a half before the ceremony and contained a misspelling! Our mountain's name adorned the original plaque as Mount "Manadnock". With no time to fully correct the bronze surface and lettering, then-Park Manager Ben Haubrich temporarily "fixed it" for the day with the use of black electrical tape and a gold marker. Yankee Ingenuity! Ben recalled that nobody at the ceremony noticed the "o" being different than the rest of the lettering. It would take nearly a year (and many phone calls) before the National Parks Service would take it back to be repaired. The corrected plaque can now be found on the front of the Monadnock Headquarters Park Store. The path to recognize Mount Monadnock's natural importance as a NNL began in April of 1969 and was proposed by Leslie Clark; executive secretary for the NH Forest Society (SPNHF). It was again pursued in 1982 and evaluated for the final time by the National Parks Service in April of 1985. Though the celebration was organized for May of 1988, Mount Monadnock was officially designated by the Parks Service as a National Natural Landmark in 1987, nearly 20 years after it was first proposed. Our mountain's inclusion in the National Natural Landmarks program is important, as it solidifies, on a larger scale, the ecological and geological wonders contained within. It is another reason to be proud of the true treasure we are fortunate to have; what may now be considered officially a "National Treasure". What the NNL designation proves is that this mountain can also serve as a classroom, and a platform to study, learn, and understand the world that we share on a deeper level. Monadnock plays many roles in our lives. Among the many ways Monadnock has given to me, I have always considered this mountain to be a great teacher. The National Parks Service would agree. The 16 acre natural rhododendron grove at nearby Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam, NH, is also designated a National Natural Landmark, joining the program in 1982. The rhododendrons will be in bloom in July and more information (and soon, bloom reports!) can be found here.