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Big Sky Dogs's Denied the Pond Pleasures???

@bendparks is jumping for joy at Juniper Swim and Fitness. Tag @sourceweekly to appear in Lightmeter. - SUBMITTED
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  • @bendparks is jumping for joy at Juniper Swim and Fitness. Tag @sourceweekly to appear in Lightmeter.

Big Sky Dog's Denied the Pond Pleasures??!!

Recently signs and fencing went up keeping dogs out of the canals and pond featured at the Big Sky off leash dog park. I called Bend Parks and Rec to get the lowdown, and apparently COID requested the measure. I asked if there had been an incident of water contamination, and was told there had not been such. The water was in the Deschutes River before it got into the canals, and many humans and animals are utilizing it before it's piped for irrigation. Consequently, I'm wondering what prompted this, and what the reasoning behind the change is? Can man's best friend really be such an issue for a fairly rapidly flowing section of canal used for crop irrigation?

—Jeff Johnston

In response to, "We aren't the enemy of the people. We ARE the people," Opinion, on 8/16

Thank you for sharing this piece. Our country feels so divided right now, and it was a good reminder that we need the press. We need to be aware, and journalists help us get the information we need. I watch and read the news daily to stay informed about the world and what is going on in my community. I appreciate your stance and the hard work you all put into being a source of information for the people, by the people.

—Katie Dowling

In response to, "A River Runs Through Here," Feature, on 8/16

As long as we're valuing things in economic terms, an often-overlooked stakeholder, the working-class fisher, should be figured into the Deschutes River equation. River water does "put food on the table" when applied to farmland, but it quite literally puts food on the table when allowed to flow through its natural channel, creating ample habitat for a sustainable catch of fish. What that catch amounts to is very much related to how much cold, clean water is allowed to stay in the river. Downstream of the canal diversions, it's less than 10 percent of the natural flow. Seeing century-old photographs (taken by my farming ancestors) of the catches of fish once abundant in this now degraded stretch of river, I can tell you it used to be quite productive, as clean as and more continuously flowing than the Metolius. The difference between the economic benefits of river water in canals versus the economic benefits of river water in rivers is a difference between the economic benefits to landowners versus economic benefits to the general public. As degraded as the Middle Deschutes is now, it still provides a vital source of protein to some working-class families within bike riding distance of the river. With more water it could provide more, and more tourism dollars besides. The whitewater from Bend to Lake Billy Chinook could once again be the most exciting summer run in the state, and the native bull trout and red bands could return. There are programs already in place helping farmers switch to groundwater-based irrigation, and other solutions, such as pressurizing the entire north unit system, have already been discussed. I know that times have changed, eating fish you've tortured has fallen out of fashion, as have working class-families and preserving open space, but I hope that the voice of those often too busy to have a voice is heard when considering any changes to our mighty Deschutes.

—Tim Freeman

LETTER OF THE WEEK

Tim: Thanks for making that point—to which I might also add that fishing has a historical context that goes back even further, being a major food source for the native people of this region for centuries. Sigh. Come on in for your gift card to Palate!

— Nicole Vulcan, Editor

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