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But the Oct. 8 article has made me think about location when I use this species in the future.
I normally work in areas where bears either rarely wander or there is little risk of direct conflict even if they are hanging out enjoying the fruits of my restoration labours. However when designing vegetation plans around building interfaces or high use greenway areas or medians, it is wise to think about the attractant factor. Planting plans in public interface areas generally consider the future size and footprint of a tree so that down the road that tree doesn't "outgrow its welcome." And if they don't they should! No tree should have to be sacrificed because we lacked the foresight to judge its falling risk or root or limb spread.
So take that one step further - make areas where bears may be enticed out of adjacent corridors and reservoirs by a natural food source (and then get into trouble with us) part of those same plans.
There are a number of suitable native alternatives that won't become a bear buffet and still provide excellent resources for fish and wildlife - and people. It doesn't have to be a battle; we are all working toward the same result - a healthy resilient landscape.
I realize not all locations or projects will have bear worries (beavers are more likely to be a problem, in my experience, than bears!), but it's just another reason why it's important to think about the big picture when undertaking restoration and landscaping efforts near natural areas.
Pamela Zevit, R.P. Bio
An answer to landscapers' concerns
There are a few points that I would like to clarify about the article "Bear Smart plant removals concern landscapers" (Pique Oct. 8), as I am a member of the Whistler Black Bear Working Group.
A couple phrases in particular were of concern regarding the letter that was sent to council from a group of landscape architects referring to the banning of plants and trees that create conflict with bears. They called it an "admirable but misguided attempt to reduce bear-human conflicts." The individuals who wrote the letter also said, "The bear working group will undermine environmental sustainability goals."
First of all, there is no banning of plants and trees. The working group is working on a list of trees, plants and shrubs that are considered high, medium and low bear attractants. The list is being worked on by biologists and other individuals with environmental studies backgrounds. The list is also being compiled from data that has been collected from the Conservation Officers hotline or the RAPP line (report all poachers and polluters) and PWORs (problem wildlife occurrence reports). In these reports it often lists what was attracting the bear to an area. This sometimes included mountain ash and this is recorded statistical data.