Bear problems? What bear problems?
In The Aspen Times of Sunday, Aug. 21, an article written by Andre Salvail made a statement about “problematic bears” in certain neighborhoods, among them my own, McSkimming Road. I know of no problems with bears on my short street and when I checked with the police and sheriff departments for further details, they had no record of any bear problems here either.
I wonder on what Mr. Salvail based his report. False information such as this builds a degree of fear in the public, something the media is prone to enjoy, though I trust and hope that the Aspen newspapers are above that.
We do have a young bear in this neighborhood but he certainly cannot in any way be called a problem. On the contrary, he is very well behaved, eating only his natural food (the service berries) and doing so mostly during the night. To the best of my knowledge, I and all my neighbors are responsible citizens and follow the guidelines to not feed bears, to handle our trash responsibly, and not encourage familiarity. However, when they simply eat their natural food and do so when nobody is around to be bothered, it’s not true to call them a problem.
I have made a conscious choice to live in this area of incredible natural beauty, a beauty that is not a static still life but a living, moving tableau teeming with wildlife. Just as in a trip to Kenya we were warned to respect the wildlife while visiting their territory, so too we must recognize that this land is not just our land but that we share it with many other creatures. I feel blessed and honored to do so and to catch sight of them sometimes.
Certainly there is a tiny percentage of “bad” bears (usually sick and hungry) that create problems and have to be removed for the safety of humans, but most bears are gentle, peaceful, shy creatures. If we don’t like the “wild” in the wildlife of nature, we can move to cities where it’s only “bad” people we may have to contend with.
Let’s be careful not to call something a problem unless it really is a problem.
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The future of the Aspen-Pitkin County airport took a significant step forward Thursday. Pitkin County commissioners decided 4-1 to accept the recommendation of a community-based committee and leave the runway where it is, a bedrock decision in the long process toward a new terminal and airfield.