Being an avid snake finder and fly flinger, my favorite season is quickly approaching. even though I have very little experience in the park compared with Mr. Casada, my excursions in the park have led me to believe that snakes see us much more often than we see them.
Case in point: late last summer, i was watching a couple of fisher folk along the tremont road. they were both in the stream, wearing waders and within 10 feet of a good snake-sunnin' rock. I was about 20 yds away, across the stream, in the shade and out of fish-spookin range when i saw a nice sized n. water snake slither up on the rock, facing the two fisherman who weren't 10 feet away. I watched them all for a few minutes and after several casts were made I told them about their new friend. I thought that was one incredibly sneaky snake. out in the open and nearly unseen. imagine what's waiting where we can't see very well. another reason i take a hiking stick wherever I go in the park.

I'm not a professional nor have I ever been bitten by a venomous snake, but what i've seen and read about others' experiences leads me to believe rattler bites can be serious in a hurry. while most of the timber rattlers around here only have hemotoxin which acts on the blood and muscles, several specimens found elsewhere have been found to contain both hemo and neurotoxins, a concoction similar to, but not as strong as, some cobras. recently in field and stream, there was a brief story about a man who had supposedly received a dry bite.

I wouldn't wish a rattler bite on anybody.
as far as copperheads, generally their venom is not as strong. according to what I belive is a credible web site, , between 2000 and 2007, only one person, a 51 year old male, died from a copperhead bite. the other report on that site also found that coagulapothy(profuse bleeding) was not very frequent in copper bites, though it did happen some.

watch where you go and go. be aware of what could be there but as Mr. Casada pointed out, don't let the unknown deter your wanderings.