Nearly 5,000 Sea Turtles Rescued from Freezing Waters + National Park Service Seeks Public Input

The recent winter storm that blasted through the U.S. last week not only affected millions of Americans; it also caused thousands of sea turtles to freeze. The chilling temps paralyzed the turtles, washing them up on the beaches of South Padre Island by the hundreds. 

Water temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit cause sea turtles’ heart rates to slow, which eventually causes them to become paralyzed and conscious or “cold-stunned.” The devastating cold front dropped temperatures in Texas down to the teens, resulting in the largest cold-stun event ever recorded in the area. 

Luckily, large groups of volunteers were able to gather thousands of cold-stunned sea turtles. Sea Turtle Inc., a nonprofit organization that has been directing rescue efforts, collected and housed over 5,000 sea turtles on the island, despite the significant power outages and lack of heat. After a few days of helping the turtles heal, they have begun releasing them back to the ocean. 

“After an exhaustive 24-hour effort that went through the night and has just ended this morning, Sea Turtle Inc. was successfully able to release more than 2,200 previously cold-stunned turtles into the open ocean of the Gulf of Mexico,” Sea Turtle Inc. stated in an Instagram post that shows rescued turtles sliding back into the ocean. “We still have lots of work to do but we are rejuvenated with passion and having seen our first released turtles swim away.” 

National Park Service Seeks Public Input on Improving Trails at Catoctin Mountain Park

The National Park Service (NPS) is asking the public for ways to improve trails at Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain Park. They are in the process of developing a comprehensive trail system plan to offer guidance for enhancing the park’s trail system and overall visitor experience, while also prioritizing the protection of natural and cultural resources. 

“Catoctin Mountain Park currently has 25 miles of developed trails which provide several scenic viewpoints, universally accessible trails, and six miles of horseback riding trails,” NPS stated in a press release. “Public participation is vital to the planning process.”   

The agency’s hope is that a comprehensive trail system plan would provide mark managers to improve management and maintenance of existing trails, add new trails and access points, close or realign existing trails, and create trails that meet the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards—making the trails more accessible. 

Participants can attend the virtual public meeting on March 10 from 6 to 8 p.m and submit ideas from then through April 10, 2021. There will be a recording of the meeting afterward as well. 

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