To the Editor
May 15, 2012
Untapped land has more potential for youth use than just hiking parks
It is unfortunate that the Issaquah Alps Trails Club thinks their lack of youth participation is a marketing problem. It’s not.
I recently bumped into the head of the Washington High School Cycling League and asked her how it was going this, its second year. She said the team in Issaquah had doubled from the first year and would likely need to split up because it was too big to be one team. She also told me she is seriously considering starting a middle school league because she has had to turn away so many interested kids.
The especially concerning part is that the Issaquah Alps Trails Club worked against the expansion of mountain biking in Issaquah. It won, and the most modest of recommendations made it out of the Park Board.
Unfortunately, many city leaders share the same sort of “preservation” sort of thinking and are less for progress or change. We get “Confluence Park,” while the community pool and rec center are sorely outdated. We get Park Pointe and its stewardship plan while the outdated skate park gets a fence. We get a refurbished trolley car and McCarry Woods, while the city center remains unsafe and unattractive for kids to get around on their own.
Issaquah is already surrounded by a vast array of essentially hiking-only parks in the form of the Issaquah Alps. The challenge for the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, and for Issaquah, is not about marketing. It’s about seeing the many and emerging interests of the community and flexing to make a home for all of them.
I’m pretty sure the “Last Child in the Woods” is going to find a way to enjoy the great outdoors his or her own way … not my way or the Issaquah Alps Trails Club way. You can see it now at Duthie Hill Park: Nothing like that ever existed when I was a kid. If the next generation of kids wants to swing from the trees, let’s help them do it.
Come listen to expert speak about co-existing with carnivores
We are fortunate to live on the Wildland-Urban Interface, where we get to see a broad array of wildlife. Black bears and other animals can become a nuisance, but as your article notes, 90 percent of the wildlife problems stem from our failure to recognize required precautions when living along the interface.
We are also fortunate to live in a state that sponsors scientific research regarding wildlife. On June 6, Brian Kertson, carnivore research scientist at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, will present a general interest, family-friendly presentation, “From Backyards to Mountain Tops: Coexisting with Carnivores in Washington.” The free show will start at 6 p.m. at the Sammamish Library, just before the Sammamish Farmers Market closes for the week.
Dr. Kertson will answer questions after his presentation, providing an opportunity to clarify questions about predators. Regular Issaquah Press readers may remember that Brian did his Ph.D. study about cougars in our area (Issaquah Press, Feb. 21 and Aug. 2). I’ll have free literature available from the Mountain Lion Foundation, the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Karelian Bear Dog Program. I’m also working to schedule a program with Karelian Bear Dogs for later in the summer.
The department uses the dogs to attempt to rehabilitate bears to avoid populated areas; it would be interesting to see whether the dogs would work with the Overdale Park bear, although it sounds as if the bear is entrenched in its scavenging behavior.
Not mentioned in the article is the saying, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” Brutal, but if we don’t take precautions with pets, food and garbage, we put fish and wildlife officers in an impossible situation, and it’s always the wild animal that ends up losing.
I believe that the more we know about our magnificent wildlife, the better equipped we are to leave a rich heritage for future generations.
Ban fits pro-environment population
The ban on plastic bags should be a no-brainer. Issaquah is reputed to be an environmentally responsible city, so let’s be responsible.
Sure, I’ve always reused the plastic bags for pet poop and other things, but giving that up is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of protecting our land and water.
Americans have always been so much more wasteful and they consume so much more energy than individuals in any other country. Let’s stop the whining and do what has to be done if we give a hoot about the planet our kids and grandkids will be living on.
Fear is unnecessary
I read the story about the honeybees at the fire station and really was amazed that so many people live in fear of nothing.
Honeybees are not killer bees from Africa, and unless you are allergic, so what? It hurts a little. Kids get stung, so what? It’s not like they are going to be traumatized for life because of it. I do not get this coddling and fear of everything. Educate yourself and stop overreacting.
The pollination benefit of honeybees outweighs any irrational fear of a bee sting or cost.
Michael T. Barr