Mammoth is feeding the bears
I’ve been fortunate enough to be living in Mammoth for the last month on a sabbatical. Prior to this time, I’ve visited Mammoth for years and years and have been under the impression that the town does a wonderful job of “not feeding the bears.” However, since I’ve been living here, I’ve realized this may not be the case.
I often walk the bike path from Eagle Lodge down to Lodestar Drive and back. In the past month, I’ve been shocked to see the same garbage dumpster raided by bears on numerous occasions. I’m sure there are other dumpsters in town that have problems, but almost every time I walk past the dumpster at the end of Lodestar Drive, I see trash on the ground and bike path, and evidence of bears (tracks and scat).
I’m no bear expert, but I’ve read the recent articles about how well Yosemite has done with its efforts to stop feeding their bears, and I’ve also heard that bears that are habituated to human food often have more confrontational or otherwise negative interactions with humans.
What is Mammoth Disposal or the town doing to fix this problem? From my perspective on the ground, the answer appears to be “nothing.”
For a community that prides itself on not feeding its bears, Mammoth’s wildlife sure appear to be feasting on human garbage an awful lot.
Editor’s note: Ms. Walters may be pleased to learn that the Sierra Conservation Project (SCP) in partnership with the Town of Mammoth Lakes recently received a $107,000 grant from CalRecycle. The grant will go towards upgrading dumpsters for all local bars/restaurants as well as dumpsters for local parks and the Lakes Basin so they are bear-proof.
Bear-proof containers, says SCP’s Brian Robinette, go for about $2,000 a pop.
The definition of leadership
A few months ago, an acquaintance of mine told me about a recently formed group, Mammoth Forward. I checked out their website quite thoroughly after attending my first meeting, and I liked what I learned. I like and appreciate the ideas, vision, and work that this group is doing. It is completely in line with my values, integrity and vision for a better future and better community for Mammoth. It gives me hope to the point where I want to be a part of this community for the first time since moving here in 1997.
I have NOT been involved for various reasons, including being too busy as well as feeling apathetic about past decisions that this town has made.
To me, getting involved in our community is leadership. It is citizens who are interested in learning what issues the Town of Mammoth Lakes is facing these days. Leadership is citizens who want to live in a certain kind of community and are willing to research the pros and cons of what that will take, voice their opinion and research, and/or support those groups and organizations that are in line with their values.
I am ready to take on that kind of social responsibility. I am a person who wants to help. I am a person who is starting to care again about the health of our environment and community instead of feeling helpless.
From the research and community involvement that I have begun in the past few months, I see that there are some wonderful, grass root groups starting to lead, attended by smart, caring, thoughtful, hard working, responsible people. I am excited to be a part of it.
I also see that there are some newer and existing businesses that are either thriving or hanging in there sufficiently.
For those interested in learning more about the work that Mammoth Forward is doing, their webpage (which is still under construction) is http://www.mammothforward.org/. They also have a Facebook page.
For my community involvement to start with, I will be putting my time and energy towards the following:
Helping with active voter registration. For the upcoming local election on June 3, 2014, there are candidates running for Town Council and other public service positions who I support 100% (or close to 100%). I support these people not only because their values and vision are similar to mine, which is mainly environmental and economically sustainable development for our community, but also because of their honesty and integrity.
Besides the candidates I support, the bigger picture IMO is that we need more people voting in our community. Vote for who you support. If you are not yet registered to vote, there is a link on Mammoth Foward’s website to do so.
Once I am done with active voter registration, I want to volunteer for one (or more) of the non profits and/or local organizations or committees that I am now researching that are related to my interests, and that I think I can help with the support that I provide.
To everyone in our community: What kind of community do you want to live in? If you are up to the task, there are many ways to help your vision become a reality. In my opinion and past experience, it is the numerous small things that add up, including voting for the candidates who support similar issues to the issues you support.
Jennifer Langlo Sheldon