Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Regarding the removal of  oak trees from a Squamish trail area because bears were attracted to the acorns which seasonally fall.

From the District of Squamish

We have updated the original post with this message from the Conservation Officer Service and District of Squamish Wildlife Educator: The decision to remove non-native oak trees from the Discovery Trail was multi-faceted. We had to weigh the very real concerns of public safety along a District Safe Routes to School trail versus removing food from bears. 

There are certain areas within Squamish that are considered ‘no-go’ zones for bears. Safe Routes to Schools are one of these areas where we do our best to either manage attractants (cutting vegetation back to provide less food and improve sight-lines) or remove attractants to reduce the potential for conflict. 

The Conservation Officer Service has been called to this location many years in a row, some bears have been relocated and some bears have been destroyed. Removing the trees was the only solution for this location that would allow for the protection of both the public and the bears.

From me:

There is apparently no way to talk to a conservation officer...but then I cannot talk to God either! Perhaps you might pass this on: I strongly disagree with the decision to remove the native Garry Oak trees concerned here. 

The acorns are natural food for the they are not habituated to garbage or any man made attractant. We have encroached on their habitat. They should have closed the trail and let the bears move on. 

My dealings with Conservation Officers in the past was with an understanding that they are compassionate people...I guess times have changed. 

There is a mature oak tree at the entrance to Howe Sound Secondary...are we to expect that this tree will be targeted under the guise of safety? I surely hope not...but who knows? 

BTW, regarding compassion: Several years ago a conservation officer had to reluctantly shoot a habituated bear on my deck. The man was reduced to tears over this but he was well justified. I realize the difference regarding THIS case and so should you!

My final question here is, though is doesn't really have much bearing on the actual issue, if these oaks are "non-native" as stated by the Conservation Office, what species are they and where did they come from? All oaks are majestic slow growing species and are no threat to any other species here. They are definitely NOT invasive. Garry Oak is native.

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