This island would be too exciting for picnicking


There’s been a bit of a rumpus about a proposal by Massachusetts conservation officials to introduce the endangered Timber Rattlesnake on Mount Zion Island in the Quabbin Reservoir. The island is closed to public access.

This is an animal native to the Bay State, in which there are only five surviving populations, spread out from the New York border in the southern Berkshires, east to the Blue Hills, just south of Boston. This species has had the greatest modern decline of any native reptile in the Bay State and is a high conservation priority species for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife).

The Quabbin Reservoir is also the site of MassWildlife's nationally known and successful American Bald Eagle restoration project.

Mankind keeps destroying species. But all life is inter-connected. We destroy species to our long-term peril.  Housing the rattlers on Mount Zion seems a responsible way of helping to save this species, which is beautiful in its way. And the presence of the rattlers on the island would definitely discourage humans from landing there and littering it. A slight whiff of terror would be good for the preservation of the wildlife of the island (the vast majority of which would not be bitten by the rattlers) and indeed the whole Quabbin eco-system.

Now to reintroduce mountain lions to Great Blue Hill, overlooking Boston?  They like hilly places with caves. Just kidding, but they'd be prettier than the ski lift there.