WATSON TOWNSHIP — A bulldozer carried dirt off the rail trail in the middle of the woods in Watson Township near Jersey Shore.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said a portion of the trail will stay blocked off while Williams Pipeline employees work to repair a natural gas pipeline that passes through the trail.
David Kagan lives right by Pine Creek. He said he rides his bike down the trail almost every day.
“I know my way around the Pine Creek Rail Trail,” said Kagan.
When Kagan heard about the maintenance project, he was concerned for the animals that live by the trail like timber rattlesnakes.
“I said, ‘Do you, first of all, do you know there are rattlesnakes in this area?’ And he said, ‘Nope, didn’t know that,'” said Kagan.
Before the project started Kagan made some calls to DCNR, Williams Pipeline, and a snake handler, Brian Benner.
“[There are] dozens of rattlesnakes on this mountain. You have to be at the right place at the right time to find one,” said Benner.
Benner is a herpetologist. He came out to move a rattlesnake off the site.
“It was important for me to make those phone calls, to make sure that site was protected,” said Kagan.
Benner said he hasn’t seen anymore rattlesnakes yet, but he plans to come back to the site every day until work is done, just in case another snake comes back to the site.
“When they are moving earth or when snakes can be killed by the heavy equipment, yeah, I’ll be here,” said Benner.
Other bikers on the trail said they are glad to see the snakes are being protected while work is done on the trail.
“They have their place and I’m glad they are looking out for them,” said Wilma Hackenberg from Avis.
DCNR said the maintenance project should be complete by the end of September.