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Georgian Bay region (as seen in Rattlesnake Tales newsletter, Vol. 12, no.1)


By Bruce Morden

Since we retired in 1994, I have attended two rattlesnake workshops. One was at the Toronto Zoo and hosted by Bob Johnson and Andrew Lentini. The other took place at Killbear Provincial Park and was organized by Chris Parent. These workshops provided extensive information on eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, from habitat and populations to treatment of bites for both people and pets. In the summer of 1999, I found several rattlesnakes killed by cars on Salmon Lake Road; cottagers reported other snakes meeting the same fate.

I called Chris Parent about the “Brake for Snake” signs at Killbear
Provincial Park to see if we could do something similar. Chris was very enthusiastic to help in any way he could and provided sourcing for the signs which were designed to MTO specifications, including size and colour. He also warned me of the possibility of theft due to the unique-ness of these signs. At Killbear they have had to use a 4x4x16 ft. steel post set in concrete with the signs bolted and the nuts welded to pre-vent removal. I spoke to Richard Garland, president of the Salmon Lake Ratepayers Association who also was very enthusiastic about this project. Richard drafted a letter to Sequin Township. They immediately gave us their consent and financial support. The works superintendent, Joe Ryman, even offered assistance of a backhoe for the installation. We were delighted. Joe also arranged to meet me to select the best locations for these signs.

As a result of Richard’s conversations with Bob Johnson of the Toronto Zoo, Bob called me to confirm that he would supply us with the signs. The zoo even provided an extra sign in case of theft. Everyone’s enthusiasm and willingness to help made it very apparent that people do care for this misunderstood reptile. I am happy to report that the two signs were erected by May 13, 2000. On May 27, 2000 we had an unveiling of the signs attended by our Reeve of Seguin Township, George Stivrins, and by two councillors, Doug Graham and Bill Jameson. Also in attendance were Gary Higgins of Massasauga Provincial Park, Chris Parent, and several members of
the Salmon Lake Ratepayers Association and Otter Lake Ratepayers Association. Everyone’s support and assistance was greatly appreciated.

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