Dog Blog

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back in Sac after a couple of heavenly weeks at Lake Tahoe.  Peaches, Beau, and I enjoyed the cool and quiet of the Sierra while I gathered some fresh inspiration for my next novel. I had another bear encounter, although this time I only saw the aftermath of the bruin’s visitation.  Unaware that the previous tenants at the cabin hadn’t discarded their trash, I left the garage door open while I took the dogs for their walk.  It wasn’t until later when I went to put the car away that I noticed all the trashcans had been upended and their contents sorted through.  What this bear was looking for I haven’t a clue, because I never saw so much wasted food as was collected in those cans. What a smorgasbord! He had flipped the cart right up in the air and both cans had flown out of it.  I spent some time shoveling up the mess and made sure I closed the garage door until garbage pickup day.  Evidently, the bears have been trying to force their way through the closed garage door, too, since the bottom of the door was dented and the rubber trim shredded from claws or teeth! I’m glad I wasn’t there with the dogs at the time this was going on, though Peaches' barking might have scared him off.

There have been more bear encounters in Tahoe, as is also the case in Yellowstone with the Grizzlies, I read in the Bee this morning.  It will escalate as winter nears and they try to fill their tummies for hibernation. I collected some bear tales from a neighbor. She told me a big black bear and a smaller brown one make their rounds regularly in our area.  I think I saw that big black one once when I was riding my mountain bike on a trail behind the cabin.  A Momma and her cubs broke into one cabin and wintered inside it last year. While I was visiting this time, another bear decided to join a neighbor’s barbeque, sitting up and begging for its share of the feast.  

Could this increased bear activity be the result of the widespread forest clearing that’s going on at Tahoe, purportedly to reduce fire danger in the wake of the Angora firestorm and keep forests healthy? I read a lot of propaganda about forest "management" at the State Fair and wasn’t surprised to discover that the literature was published by a family-run forestry operation that sells the lumber harvested on their land for profit. I read an interesting article in the Tahoe Tribune titled, "Is This What a Forest Looks Like?" It showed the aftermath of the clearing being done at Tahoe, which looks like a nuclear holocaust, as the entire basin looked in the mid-1800s during the Silver Rush. Nearly all of Tahoe's timber floated down the flumes into Nevada for building and shoring up the silver mines. It's oxymoronic that the timber clearing now is being done on land owned by the Tahoe Conservancy.  What are they conserving?  Not the trees, that's for sure.  It's not hard to imagine that there is money to be made from the lumber being harvested.  It makes me sad to think that the pines that once shaded our cabin and made the forest dark and deep will not grow to their former majesty in my lifetime. Lucky Baldwin, Tahoe's first conservationist, is probably spinning in his grave. The few pines that survived the clearing of forests in the 19th Century still thrive on his Tallac property. 

Food sources and shelter for the animals are destroyed whenever forests are decimated by the Masticator, man's über efficient weapon of mass deforestation that rips old growth trees right out by their roots, strips them of their foliage and, chops and drops them back to the torn earth. I watched Golden Mantle Squirrels scurry to hide among scrub and Manzanita (which does not burn easily, by the way) that was no longer there. Whoever is profiting from this abomination, it's certainly not the wildlife or ultimately, human beings. From Earth we continue to wantonly take, rape, steal, and then we punish the animals for trying to survive in our trashed world we’ve created.  The decimation of forests is aggressive and widespread and shows no sign of slowing.   

As they like to remind us so often, "a fed bear is a dead bear." Pity the bears. Pity us.



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