Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Nature, up north and closer to home

The Weeks State Park Association was kind enough to invite me to be a part of its summer-long Thursday evening speaker series. The weatherman is going to have to outdo himself to get a more beautiful afternoon than the one he picked for me on the first day of summer.

If you haven’t been to the Weeks Park in Lancaster, you have missed a truly scenic New Hampshire spot.

It is named for Lancaster native John Wingate Weeks, who went to the Naval Academy and then had great success as a banker and a Massachusetts politician. He was a U.S. representative and then U.S. senator. He is particularly known for the 1911 Weeks Act that helped create the national forests hereabouts.

The twisty, one-lane drive to his country estate atop Mount Prospect has pull-off spots so you can take in some of the spectacular views. At the top, it’s a 360-degree panorama.

The park association holds its summer program series in a beautiful summit lodge filled with vintage photos and memorabilia.

The summer programs, which are free to all, are usually held at 7 p.m. Upcoming topics include ”The Black Suitcase Mystery”, “Earth Heroes”, bobcats, cemeteries and gravestones, and “black bear behavior” with Ben Kilham.

We could have used Ben, one of the world’s best bear specialists, last weekend.

That’s when yet another young bear decided to create a little hubbub on Manchester’s West Side.

The bear walked into a fellow’s backyard, climbed a tree, and took a nap. Must have been difficult to snooze because so many kids, young and old, came by to stare at the bear.

The bear eventually came down and left. But first, according to our story, he “looked slightly confused as neighbors below scurried around getting cellphone pictures and video.”

Exactly how does a bear look slightly confused? I gather it’s not quite the same as a thoroughly confused bear would look, eyes darting back and forth, front paws gesticulating wildly.

Perhaps the slightly confused bear features a frowning forehead, one paw tapping his pursed lips? Sort of like a Manchester taxpayer trying to fathom what the heck is a Police Chief Day.

I asked Union Leader reporter Doug Alden, our man on the bruin scene, but he brushed off my question as if I were interfering with his honey-gathering.

So I went back to the Derryfield Country Club, where a yearling deer has been seen prancing across the 17th and second fairways. You might think that strange in the city, but I am told it is just par for the course.

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