Stop Timber Rattlesnake Quabbin Island Project/DCR Accountability to Taxpayers

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Mr. Tom French from The State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife is heading plans to grow a population of timber rattlesnakes, and place them on an island in the Quabbin Reservoir.  Residents and visitors to the Quabbin area are concerned, and object to this project.  Timber rattlesnakes have caused death due to bites.  They are very capable swimmers.  This is not an uninhabited island.  In fact it is inhabited by many protected wildlife.  There is also a small damn which connects only yards to the inland, and a short swim distance of approximately 100 yards to shore.  Many have walked onto this island to explore.  There are also portable toilets placed on this island for boaters and hikers to use with signs for use causing great concern for safety.  Timber Rattlesnakes have been known to travel 4 miles or more from their dens.  There are no medical facilities close by to assist in the event of a bite, and a state police boat would take one hour to reach this location.  This area of "Mt Zion" is accessible via Gate 43, and many hikers frequent this area.  These snakes will have transponders placed on them, which also causes concern for the protected eagles, fox, owls, opossums, etc...which eat Timber rattlesnakes.  They can live for more than 30 years.  They are extremely venomous.  Simple searches for "rattlesnake deaths" in America will demonstrate deaths caused by these snakes, even from a camper simply sitting around a campfire.  No provoking. There are hikers, fishermen, walkers, explorers, children, elderly, and various tourists who enjoy the Quabbin area.  These snakes are capable of swimming off this island.  There are extensive concerns regarding these snakes, their transponders, their tracking history, dangers, destruction of current protected wildlife, and the ability to enjoy the area.  We also feel that residents and others are not being given any voice regarding this project, but rather being given false information regarding this venomous snake.  We object to this project, and ask the State to dismiss this placement, and seek an alternative area or alternate plan other than placing them in and around an area enjoyed by many.  An even larger concern, beyond poisonous snakes, is the DCR decision making process.  Legislative oversight and no responsibility to voters and taxpayers. From closing down parts of the Quabbin to deciding to re-populate these snakes, as well as other decisions which are proving poorly handled.  Leaving nowhere in the process to be responsible to taxpayers.  This overreach of power should not be allowed, and voters should have a voice in this situation, as taxpayer monies are being used.  We, the undersigned, request this plan to be stopped, and further investigation into DCR continued mishandling be performed.