Karen did mention that the snake needs to stay under cover, to avoid being seen by predators. That would seem to imply that the roads are harmful, and inhibit the snake’s movement. Indeed, only a few of her sightings were of snakes that had crossed a road (“trail”). I hiked the Quarry Trail Monday and found a young whipsnake in grass that had grown up on the trail. If I had been on a bike, I could easily have killed it (or its prey, a fence lizard), without even knowing it.
Animals need “wildlife corridors” that allow them the same access to the resources they need that we assume is our right. The areas indicated in the LUDP aren’t large enough to hold long-term viable populations of whipsnakes. In fact, the area of Tilden studied by Ms. Swaim isn’t even one of your designated areas, although it is prime whipsnake habitat. Clearly, you don’t even know where the snakes are, so there is no way you can protect them! And without monitoring the snakes, you have no way of knowing whether their population is increasing or declining, nor whether your (“non”) management is helping or harming them.
There are no corridors designated, and there is no way for the snakes to safely cross Wildcat Canyon Road or South Park Drive. The “human playground” theory of park management currently in vogue in the EBRPD, that believes the parks exist only to pleasure humans, is moving in exactly the wrong direction. It teaches people (nonverbally — the most powerful form of education) the false idea that we are not dependent on other forms of life, and that treating them like property is okay. The Steam Train and its huge parking facilities teach children that a train is a toy that you drive to. Allowing visitors free rein throughout the entire park, even in the habitat of threatened species, teaches them that wildlife really don’t matter. If bicyclists are bored with riding on roads, just give them the habitat of our threatened species! Of course! The logical conclusion of this policy is a park without wildlife, containing only species that we choose to allow to be there. Such a place would be totally predictable, and hence of no value as a park. The reason we have set aside pieces of nature is