Letters to the editor, Aug. 19
Seen and unseen
Several of us caravanned 2,500 miles in our street rods to West Yellowstone, Montana, for a car show and beyond. We traveled many back roads through Eastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, then home along I-84 and I-5 south. We saw gorgeous, breathtaking scenic landscapes visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. We saw Old Faithful, mud pots, boiling pots, lots of animals, miles of wheat and hay fields. We saw mountains, astounding rock formations, wild flowers, rivers, streams, waterfalls, sunrises, sunsets and all in astonishing hues of greens, reds, yellows, orange and browns. Wow-w-w-w-w! In northern Montana, right of Flathead Lake, we passed miles of cherry orchards and roadside stands.
We met the nicest, hard-working college kids from all over the world working the national parks and the nicest people from the U.S. and abroad. Because of our cars, we talked to hundreds of people. Rural America is great!
What we did not see was one speck of white plastic-covered field, white greenhouse tents, nor overly high fences placed smack in the middle of a field. It is sad what our state’s beautiful landscape has become. Sigh-h-h-h-h
Concerned by cougars
I am somewhat alarmed by the multiple cougar mom (and family of 3 cubs) sightings and encounters in Ashland the neighborhood near the Briscoe school playground and surrounding streets, the ditch trail and Hald-Strawberry Park.
I’m sure she was probably drawn to town by the abundant wildlife I see on a regular basis (from my deck and walking about — deer and fawns, turkeys and chicks, multiple squirrel types, raccoons & kits, rabbits, quail, lots of birds, etc. as well as small pets). Easy pickins’. Cougars are predators, they eat other animals, which is fine; a deer kill was reported below Scenic Drive recently (those of us trying to landscape might be OK with a few less deer). But they also, albeit rarely, hunt and/or kill people (typically deeper in the woods, but at least two deaths in the last couple years in Washington and Oregon that I’ve read about). A cougar attacking the vulnerable when hungry or if she feels she or her cubs (or their territory) are threatened is an instinct to be expected and respected.
I fear that if she raises her cubs from birth to be acclimatized to city life, even if they wander back into the woods after time, they might readily return when staking out their territory as they grow older. We can all avoid going outside for walks in the mornings and evenings and avoid some city parks, but before long, grade-school children will be walking to school or waiting for a bus in the early morning. If there is a human encounter where instincts take over, I fear this cat will be killed and the cubs end up as another roadside attraction on the way to the Oregon Caves.
I think in this case, for the safety of the cougar family (now and in the future) and the community, it might be best to tranquilize the mom and relocate her and her cubs to deeper into the woods. Hoping she goes on her own or that all people within the city are aware, alert and respectful of potentially dangerous wildlife is all well and good, but hope is not a strategy.