Brief Form Post #29: Mid-March Attempt to Enter the Flint River-Flooded Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary

I am pleased to add the 29th of my GBH Brief Form Posts (Less than three minutes to read!) to my website. I tend to get a bit long-winded with my routine Posts. I don’t want my enthusiasm for thoroughness and detail to discourage readers. So I will publish these brief Posts regularly.

Brief-Form Post on a Flooded-Out Tour of the Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary


Fellow Nature enthusiast Jim Chamberlain and I taught a spring term Huntsville, Alabama LearningQuest course on the Streams of Madison County. After the term ended, we hosted an unofficial field trip to the nearby Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary along the Flint River, on Saturday morning, March 16, 2024. The flooding Flint River secured the sanctity and solitude coveted by all Sanctuary wildlife residents, protecting them from our planned educational intrusion.

Southern Sanctuary


Among other topics we incorporated in our course, we spoke often of the tendency of our streams to flash with the heavy rains that treat our Cumberland Plateau region with 55-inches of rainfall annually. Wouldn’t you know it, a persistent front loaded with Gulf moisture dumped 2.34-inches the day before our outing. The flooding Flint River blocked our west-side entrance less that a quarter-mile from the Taylor Road parking lot.


The group posed in the photos above just in front of the red iron gate (see grandson Sam below during a far drier visit) where the trail takes visitors into the 400-acre floodplain Sanctuary.

Southern Sanctuary


Refusing to be deterred, we caravanned to the east entrance, where the Flint greeted us within sight of where we parked!


The still-rising River provided a clear signal that our Sanctuary sauntering would of necessity await a different stage in the life of the flashy Flint River.






I recorded this 31-second video before we departed for a substitute ramble along nearby Big Cove Creek Greenway:


I returned to the Sanctuary March 23, 2024, exploring a much more forgiving Sanctuary environment. I would have been at least knee deep looking northwest on the east entrance greenway 200 yards from where the group stood with the muddy floodwaters beyond, evidencing again the flashy nature of the Streams of Madison County.


I accept the challenge of distilling these Brief-Form Posts into a single distinct reflection, a task far more elusive than assembling a dozen pithy statements. Today, I borrow a relevant reflection from Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, a book I rank as a premier collection of conservation and Nature-philosophy essays:

  • There are degrees and kinds of solitude. I know of no solitude so secure as one guarded by a spring flood; nor do the geese, who have seen more kinds and degrees of aloneness than I have.


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