Have you ever wondered what is wandering around Valdese Lakeside Park? Thanks to our Media Specialist Zakk Heile we know!

2020 Highlights Video

2021 Highlights Video

In March 2020, Beth Heile commented that she had not been able to get a picture of the otters at the park. Ruth Fletcher Gage suggested a wildlife camera and that she would fund it. As they say, the rest is history.

To see all the best videos and still pictures,
visit Zakk’s Wildlife Page.

Zakk Heile researched cameras and started with a Campark T80. After seeing Zakk’s results posted on social media, John Setzler donated a Moultrie MCG-13270. This allowed setting up in more locations for longer periods of time. The Moultrie provides dates, time and temperature on the video for better tracking of habits. Trail cameras have long been known by hunters, but we are seeing the educational benefits.

Animals recorded on video: Deer, Heron, Turkey, Raccoon, Squirrel, Owl, Fox (Red and Gray), Coyote, Bob Cat, Canadian Goose, Possum, Nutria (Swamp Rat), Rabbit, Mouse, Skunk, Rare Black Skunk

Have seen at the park, but not caught on video: Otter

In January 2021, inspired by the amazing creatures on video, Steve Martinat made a donation for more trail cameras at the park. This time, Zakk chose 2 Campark T-45s.

Zakk is in charge of all camera operations – camera use, set up, pulling video and editing it. Since getting the first camera in March, he has honed his skills in finding the perfect location. Some is instinct, some is looking for footprints, scat, deer trails, and bedding areas. Cameras are moved about every 5 days and are well off the hiking/biking trails. They are motion activated and capture video for one minute.

One last note – In case you need to take a pit stop in the woods. This is what a trail cam looks like. This one is using a stick to angle it down. It has a bright ribbon to catch your attention. It has a lock to prevent theft. Cameras are usually 50 feet or more away from the trail and about chest height.


Camera Review:  Scale of 1-5 with 5 being best

Camera Campark T-45 Campark T-80 Browing Dark Ops Pro XD Moultrie M-50
Day Wildlife Quality 4 5 5 5
Night Wildlife Quality 2 3 4 4
Night Recording Length Infinite Infinite 20 Sec 30 Sec
User Inferface + Accessibility 4 – Color Screen, easy to use UI. Can view camera lens, but cannot use to guide mount position 5 – Color Screen, easy to use UI. Local Wifi-Connection to download content and guide mount position through smartphone 4 – Color Screen, good UI. Can view camera lens and use it to guide mount position. 1 – Non-Color Screen, acceptable UI. Cannot view camera lens.
Trigger Speed and Range 0.3 sec, 65ft 0.3 sec, 65ft 0.15 sec, 80ft 0.30 sec, 80ft
Storage Medium Micro SD up to 32GB SD up to 32GB SD up to 512GB SD up to 32GB
Batteries 4 or 8 8 6 8
Lock Compatibility Few Most Most Most
Accessory Compatibility Solar Panel Solar Panel, Remote Control WiFi Button Solar Panel, Battery Pack, Tree Mount, Security Box Solar Panel, Security Box
Cellular Compatibility No No No Yes
Pricing $50 with extra bonuses $90 with extra bonuses $170 $220
Recommendation Factoring in Price 4 – INEXPENSIVE Option 5 – Best Value 4 – Best Night 2 – Too Expensive