The Eastern Box Turtle is a subspecies of the common box turtle. As you could guess, it’s native to the eastern United States.Public Domain image.
On Sunday evening we drove to Little Round Top to take some pictures of the area before the prescribed fire that will take place today, April 10. As we turned onto Crawford Avenue, we saw people walking in a ragged line along the base of the hill.This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, April 9, 2017.
National Park Service regional fire management specialists, along with Gettysburg National Military Park staff, were searching in a grid (gridlining) for evidence of eastern box turtles living in the fire area.This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, April 9, 2017.
52 acres on the western slope of Little Round Top will be subjected to a controlled burn in an attempt to restore Little Round Top closer to its 1863 appearance.This map was created on April 5, 2017 by Gettysburg National Military Park’s Resource Management Division.
The team crossed the ground between the Wheatfield Road and Warren Avenue twice, but had still not found any evidence of turtles or turtle nests before we left. According to National Park Service Chief of Resource Management, Zach Bolitho, if any turtles were to be found, they would be taken out of the fire area for one day and then returned.This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, April 9, 2017.
Witness trees in the fire zone were identified and marked within the last month. Trees are not burned during a controlled burn. Undergrowth, brush, and specific types of surface vegetation are the target of a prescribed fire. It reduces the use of herbicides to maintain historic viewsheds, and has been a preferred method of maintaining historic woodlots by the National Park Service in recent years. Zach told us that this is one tool in the toolbox the park service has to reduce undergrowth.This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, April 9, 2017.
A fire line will be set at the top of the hill. This time of year, the color of the post-burn landscape will be black due to the green quality of the vegetation. Anticipate this line of black to travel down the slopes of the hill for approximately four to five hours Monday afternoon.This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, April 9, 2017.
The green vegetation that grows across the military crest of Little Round Top was mentioned as a specific target of the burn, though it may not all die in today’s fire. A regional fire specialist we spoke with mentioned that ideally each area that’s been burned would be returned to and burned again in 3 years.This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, April 9, 2017.