August 12, 2011 by wcobserver
By Adam Leslie
If you have been to the park lately you have noticed that Lake Devil would be better named the Devil’s Puddle. The reason for this is the flooding. As Lee Creek roared down to the park it carried a large amount of rock, debris, and silt with it. This all accumulated in the lake and turned our island into a rock pile. In an effort to restore the lake to its former state we are draining the lake so that we can clean it out. This is bad if you enjoy the pedal boats and canoes, which have been removed, but it is great if you enjoy watching wildlife.
The lake is a great water source for the animals in the park, and many of them start their day at the lake. If you are up early enough you may get to see some interesting animals before the hot sun starts bearing down and they hide away. If you aren’t an early riser you still have a great opportunity to enjoy the wildlife by searching for tracks.
The water has receded quite a bit now so the lake is surrounded by mud. This mud is great for observing the tracks of thirsty animals. These tracks not only tell you what animals were at the lake, but what they were doing as well. If you pay close attention the tracks can tell you a story. Those fox tracks show him ambushing the raccoon that was digging for mussels. What about those mink tracks that circle the songbird footprints. It is all there caught in the mud just waiting for you to discover the story of what happened.
Learning animal tracks is a valuable outdoor skill. To help you study them here is a tip on how to collect a track. To collect a track you need two things: a strip of cardboard and some plaster of paris. When you find a track that you would like to collect you make a circle around it with the cardboard. Press this ring down into the soil so that it stands on its own. Then slowly pour the plaster over the track and let it dry. Once it is dry you can pull it out and you now have your own track.
Even though the lake is being drained it can still provide a lot of fun. Whether you want to wake up early and see the animals, or get a glimpse into their life by following their tracks I encourage you to come and explore the lake at Devil’s Den State Park.