June 2012 Archives12

The Hellbender - Blue River’s Gentle Giant

Posted on June 28, 2012

The Hellbender — Blue River’s Gentle Giant

Believe it or not, a giant of a creature lives in Blue River. Every day canoeists and kayakers float over these giants and never realize they’re just a few feet away. Despite the scary name, this animal doesn’t have a temper. But if you saw one you’re likely to be quite impressed. At up to 24 inches in length the Hellbender is the largest salamander in North America. And they are known to live over for over 25 years. Only Japan and China have a salamander larger than the Hellbender.

One of the reasons they are rarely seen is that they are exceptional at hiding and are camouflaged like the river bed. They prefer very clean streams with fast flowing, well oxygenated water. Unfortunately they have disappeared from all of the streams in Indiana except for Blue River and are considered to be an endangered species. Even in Blue River their numbers are declining for reasons not fully understood. The Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife together with Purdue University are studying the Hellbenders of Blue River to find out just why this may be the case.

While we’re still learning about them, there are some common misconceptions about Hellbenders according to researchers at Purdue University:

Myth: Hellbenders deplete local fish populations.
Fact: They feed primarily on crayfish (crawdads).

Myth: Hellbenders are harmful and dangerous.
Fact: They rarely bite unless provoked.

Myth: Hellbenders make great household pets.
Fact: Hellbenders are difficult to keep in captivity and often die.

What to do if you encounter a Hellbender
Leave it alone. While it’s exciting to see this unusual animal please don’t bother it.
If caught while fishing cut the line without removing the hook. Taking out the hook may severely injure this rare animal and do more harm than good.

Essentials of River Canoeing Course in Milltown

Posted on June 02, 2012

Essentials of River Canoeing Course in Milltown

On Sunday, June 10, 2012  Cave Country Canoes in Milltown Indiana will host the American Canoe Association certified class “Essentials of River Canoeing”.

This class is open to the public and is appropriate for ages 12 and older. This course will emphasize entry-level paddling skills and techniques for the tandem canoeist with an introduction to paddling rivers, how to recognize and avoid hazards, perform river maneuvers, rescues, and respond to emergencies on moving water.

About the Instructor

Douglas Wagoner of Green Earth Outdoors will provide primary instruction for the course.  Douglas first found his passion for canoeing growing up near Blue River where he padded its waters on a regular basis throughout his childhood and continues so today.  

Since that time his passion for sharing the outdoor with others has become a cornerstone in his life.  A professional canoeing, backpacking and alpine climbing guide and outdoor skills instructor since 1991, he has provided hundreds of people of all ages the critical outdoor skills to achieve their personal goals.  He is a current American Canoe Association Instructor and has lead canoeing trips all over the U.S. from the Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana, to the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande, to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota, where he is a licensed guide and has conducted annual trips since 1993.

What to Bring

Participants should bring a swim suit or synthetic shorts/shirt, shoes that can get wet, sun protection, lunch and plenty of water. Cost for the class is $75.00 Payable to Green Earth Outdoors.

Registration

Space limited to 8 participants Call 812 365 2705 ext 0 9-5 daily to register or email RO@marengocave.com