Little Wolf Nature Preserve

Preserving Beautiful Kentucky

Nov
12

Little Wolf Safety Guide – Winter Edition

Posted by Timm

Not Disneyland; A Potentially Dangerous Wilderness

Hello and welcome to Little Wolf Nature Preserve.  We are so glad you are visiting our little slice of Kentucky heaven.  But it’s very important to remember that Little Wolf is not a guaranteed-safe, bubble-wrapped environment like Disneyland.  Little Wolf sits in the middle of Daniel Boone National Forest and is a wilderness full of potential dangers.  We want you to have a good time, but we also want you to be safe.  So please read the following warnings very carefully and take any necessary precautions to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.


Falling Down

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Little Wolf this time of year is falling down.  There is no pavement at Little Wolf—it’s all grass, gravel, dirt, mud, rocks, water, and ice.  Tree roots that cross trails are slippery as ice.  The ground is uneven and always changing, and hiking trails may be littered with stones, branches, and other debris.  It’s even more dangerous in autumn when fallen leaves form a blanket on the path and obscure any underlying holes or obstacles.  We strongly recommend wearing high-top hiking boots with a firm sole.  Don’t walk too close to the edge of a cliff, as the ground may collapse under your weight.  Take your time, hike slowly, watch your step, and know that your footing could give way at any moment. 

Trail Obstacles

Be sure to look down, up, and all around while you hike.  Look down on the trail for holes, rocks, sticks, tree roots, snakes, turtles, and other animals.  Look up and ahead for tree branches, thorn bushes, boulders, cliffs, and the weather.  And look all around to enjoy the amazing scenery that surrounds you.

Ticks

Ticks are quite numerous in southeastern Kentucky and can be found year-round, but are less common in winter.  Fortunately it’s relatively rare around here for a tick to transmit Lyme Disease or other maladies.  Also, a tick must remain attached to your body for at least 24 hours to transmit any disease.  After hiking, be sure to inspect your entire body for ticks.  Run your fingers through your hair and over your scalp.  If you find a tick, remove the entire tick including its head with tweezers or fingernails.  A tick bite will itch for a few days.  Consult a doctor if a red bullseye rash appears around the tick bite or you experience flu-like symptoms.

Other Biting Insects

There are numerous other biting and stinging insects in Kentucky, including the ant, bee, chigger, deer fly, gnat, hornet, horse fly, mosquito, and wasp.  Fortunately they uncommon here this time of year.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is not present in winter, but its vines can still cause problems for people who are allergic.  Do not touch any vines.

Poisonous Snakes

There are two poisonous snakes in Kentucky: the copperhead and rattlesnake.  There are many other snakes that bite.  Fortunately an encounter with a snake is unlikely this time of year.  But always watch where you step, and never place your hand or foot in a hole or other blind spot that you cannot fully see.

Poisonous Spiders

There are two poisonous spiders in Kentucky: the black widow and brown recluse.  Fortunately an encounter with a spider is unlikely outdoors this time of year, but still possible indoors.  Never place your hand or foot in a hole or other blind spot that you cannot fully see.

Wild Animals

Little Wolf is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, which are full of wild animals.  This includes the bat, beaver, bird, black bear, bobcat, chipmunk, coyote, deer, fish, fox, frog, hawk, heron, mink, mole, mouse, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, rat, salamander, skunk, squirrel, toad, turkey, turtle, vulture, weasel, and woodchuck.  All of which have defenses that can cause you harm.  Thus all wild animals are considered “armed and dangerous” and should be enjoyed at a distance.  Note this also applies to unknown domesticated animals, such as the cat, chicken, cow, dog, goat, horse, sheep, and human. 

Hypothermia

The temperature on top of the mountain is usually 10 degrees cooler than the valley.  The shade behind the mountain can be 20 degrees colder than sunny areas.  And the temperature everywhere can drop 20 degrees in 10 minutes after the sun sets behind the mountain.  The weather can change quickly, and approaching storms may be hidden by the mountain.  Be sure to dress warmly and in layers, so that you can add and remove clothing as needed.  Also, your feet are likely to get muddy and wet, so wear waterproof boots and hiking socks.

Stay Aware and Have Fun!

Little Wolf Nature Preserve can be a fun, educational and safe place to enjoy nature with your family and friends.  Just please take your time, watch your step, and stay aware of your surroundings.  We are looking forward to your visit!

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    Little Wolf Nature Preserve is a private preserve located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Southern Kentucky, USA.

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