First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Dan – After a brief burst of USers (2 in a row), I’ve settled back into OS-land, with three in a row — the latest being . . . KS; 52/49; 2/10 (2/13); 21; 155.4. Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Rattlesnake Creek, as well as a bunch of really small towns:
I picked Iuka for the post title solely because I liked the name (more about the name later). Anyway, Rattlesnake Creek flows into the Arkansas R (98th hit); to the MM (716th hit).
Here’s a somewhat closer landing view:
Note the regular pattern of roads (on the one mile township-and-range grid). Also note that the pattern breaks down east and southeast of my landing (the Pratt Sandhills Wildlife Area – more about that later). Here’s my broader view:
Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed on the western edge of a large farm field (maybe a pasture, considering the lack of obvious crop rows):
Here’s a broader GE shot, showing clearly the Pratt Sandhills Wildlife Area:
This reminds me of my recent Swanton OH post, where I landed adjacent to a sandy area that is heralded as a wildlife refuge. It makes one think: if you visit the park in Ohio, or the wildlife area here in Kansas, you come away with the feeling that this is a very special habitat.
OK, it is a very special habitat, but what’s missing is this: the entire country was a very special habitat! The only reason these remain as special habitats is that they weren’t suitable for agriculture! It’s easy not to think about the fact that before the farmers arrived, the farm country was itself a special habitat. Because of richer more fertile soils, the miles of farm country surrounding these sandy areas was itself likely a habitat richer than the sandy areas.
Moving right along. I’m disappointed with the Pratt Wildlife Area, in that the only picture I can find of the whole place is just the welcoming sign!! Oh, well, here ‘tis:
The write-up from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks also disappoints me. The entire write-up is aimed towards hunters. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not one of those anti-hunters types. I’m not a hunter myself, but I totally respect and support the idea of hunting and then eating your prey. It’s way further up on the eating-consciousness scale than going to the supermarket . . .
That said, I feel as though a write-up on a wildlife area should feature the wildlife for its own sake, and I guess I’m a little surprised that the state makes this area essentially a hunters’ game preserve. Maybe that’s why there are no pictures: wildlife photographers don’t bother . . .
Anyway, here’s the write-up:
Most of the Pratt Sandhills Wildlife area is sandhill prairie with moderate to steep dune topography. There are also several miles of multi-row shelterbelts throughout the area, as well as windmills, solar wells, and hydrants that provide water for wildlife.
Enough about nature, now about hunting . . .
Upland game birds are the most commonly hunted species here. In addition to quail and pheasant, the area is a popular destination for dove, deer, and turkey hunters. Rabbits and coyotes can also be found in huntable numbers. Hunting pressure on the opening weekend of quail and pheasant and during firearms deer season may be heavy, but after the first several weekends, the crowds decrease. In January, it is possible for a hunter to spend all day walking the sandhills and never encounter another person.
Township roads in the area are loose sand, so good judgment must be used to avoid getting stuck. Vehicle traffic is prohibited within the wildlife area, so a walk of up to two miles may be necessary to reach some of the more remote spots.
How about the little towns, you may be wondering. Well, I’ve Googled every one of them, looking for interesting tidbits and/or photos. You know what I found? Nada!! So, I’ll have to go a little further a field, so here’s a slightly expanded landing map:
You’ll see that I landed northeast of the town of Greensburg (about 20 miles away). Sound familiar? That’s the town that was totally wiped out by a monster tornado in 2007. From Wiki:
At 9:45 p.m. CDT on May 4, 2007, Greensburg was hit by an EF5 tornado. The tornado was estimated to be 1.7 miles in width and traveled for nearly 22 miles. Ninety-five percent of the city was confirmed to be destroyed, with the other five percent being severely damaged. The National Weather Service estimated winds of the tornado to reach 205 mph.
This was the first tornado to be rated EF5 since the update of the Fujita scale. Tornado sirens sounded in the city twenty minutes before the tornado struck, and a tornado emergency was issued, which undoubtedly saved many lives (although 11 were killed).
Here are a couple of pictures:
I found some more pictures, and was in the process of copying a few of them, when I saw this notice at the bottom of the website:
All Tornado Damage stock photos are copyrighted and protected under United States and International copyright laws. These video stills may not be reproduced in any form, downloaded, stored, or manipulated without prior permission from © Ultimate Chase, Inc.
I don’t get it. You put your photos on the internet, where anyone can download them, and then you get all weird and put in nasty language like this. What damage would be done if I downloaded a few to share (especially considering that I’d reference the website, and, of course, I get zero financial gains from doing this). Just for cheap spite, I don’t recommend that you go to Ultimate Chase website . . .
Moving right along – perhaps you’ve heard that Greensburg is “going green.” Ironic, isn’t it that a town named Greensburg has the chance to start from scratch as a “green” burg? From Wiki:
After the tornado, the city council passed a resolution stating that all city building would be built to LEED – platinum standards, making it the first city in the nation to do so. Greensburg is rebuilding as a “green” town, with the help of Greensburg GreenTown, a non-profit organization created to help the residents learn about and implement the green living initiative. As part of going green, the city’s power will be supplied by ten 1.25 MW wind-turbines.
What is LEED, you may ask. From Wiki:
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass more than 14,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries.
For those of you who are just dying to know how Iuka got it’s name: all I could find out is that there’s an Iuka MS named after a Chickasaw Indian chief. So, my best guess is that someone from Iuka MS wandered west and founded Iuka KS. Anyway, I’ll close with this shot of a grain elevator in Iuka:
That’ll do it.
© 2009 A Landing A Day