Before you continue reading my blog I would like to make one thing perfectly clear. I am all for helping and saving animals. It bothers me when I see animals being abused and mistreated. However, this past week I witnessed on three different occasions people stopping their car alongside of the road, and endangering their life and the lives of the people traveling along the road to help a turtle cross the road. I found myself getting upset with these people. I’m not so sure how I feel about saving a turtle.
My first experience was driving from Madison to Canby along highway 75. It was around 8am Thursday morning and I noticed a car parked alongside of the highway ahead of me and they were heading in the same direction. As I got closer, I noticed a person standing outside of their car. Then I noticed what looked like a small turtle in my lane and I drove my car by the turtle careful not to run over it. I looked in my review mirror and noticed the woman running up to the turtle and picking it up and taking it across the highway. Traffic was very light so it was just me and her on the road. I thought that was ridiculous but a nice gesture by her and I’m sure glad I didn’t run over the turtle in front of her.
My second experience of watching a person saving a turtle on the highway happened later that same day and my feelings were different. I was heading to Granite Falls for the section baseball game and was traveling on Highway 212 between Montevideo and Granite Falls, traffic was heavy at the time. A large gravel truck was in front of me and all of a sudden he hits his brakes and I slam on mine and we come to a complete stop. I pulled my car out across the lane a bit to see why he had stopped so suddenly. Then I saw her, a woman wearing blue gloves was holding her hands out stopping traffic from the other way. Traffic had come to a complete stop in both directions. I started getting upset and wondering why is this woman standing in the middle of the highway. Is she crazy? Then it happened, she bent down and picked up a very large turtle, it might have been a snapping turtle I don’t know, but it was large. She preceded to carry the turtle to the other side of the highway and set it down in the grass. My thoughts were not good, I was upset! I started talking to myself. “Lady you could have caused a major traffic accident.” “You could have killed yourself.” “Thanks for disrupting my drive lady!” It was a way different feeling then my experience in the morning driving to Canby.
My last experience came Friday afternoon driving to Ortonville on highway 75. I had just turned by Club 7-75 and noticed a car alongside of the road and a lady walking across the highway holding a turtle. As I drove by her I thought, what is this National Save a Turtle Week? What is wrong with people? When I see a turtle on the highway I just make an effort not to run over it! I couldn’t believe I had witnessed three people helping turtles across the road in two days. I was sharing my experience with Maynard at the radio station Saturday morning and telling him how ridiculous I think it is to help a turtle across the road while endangering people’s lives to do it. To my surprise, Maynard tells me he stopped his car outside of Madison to help a turtle across highway 40! OMG!
I checked the internet and googled “saving a turtle across a highway.” I guess it’s the thing to do. I found out that the reason so many turtles are crossing the road is that they are returning to their nesting place to lay eggs. I’ve attached a link from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for you to read about assisting a turtle across the road safely. I have changed my attitude about this subject. So if you ever see Paul Raymo alongside of the highway helping a turtle across the road, honk and give him a thumbs up! I will do the same to the next person I see saving a turtle’s life and I promise not to get upset about it.