Watchable Wildlife Etiquette
Approved by Jim Anderson—written by Barb Rumer
A mountain goat is again part of our community. I am excited! The opportunity for close proximity to our natural world is why many of us live in Central Oregon. I enjoy the mountains, the high desert and the wildlife. And yet, I was saddened to recently see some visitors at Dry Canyon, before it was closed, in their excitement, unknowingly exhibit harassing and disrespectful behavior. Going off the trail, these two rushed up to the top of the cliff and ran towards the billy to get a "better photograph". In doing so, the goat was spooked, moved away from the cliff face preventing other hikers enjoying his presence and forcing him to use his precious limited energy.
So many opportunities are coming up to observe birds and spring animals with their babies. What is wildlife watching etiquette? How can we be more thoughtful and respectful and indeed share their home and space? ODFW and the Forest Service have guidelines for watchable wildlife. Among some of these are:
Watch or photograph animals without knowingly disturb, or flush the animal. (If animals move when you approach, you are too close. Many animals are very shy and flush easily. Some animals are tolerant and let you get closer but that doesn't necessarily mean that they like us that close.)
Sage grouse are particularly sensitive (and they are close to being endangered). Loud voices and getting out of your car will spook these and the female will leave the site and not breed. One would not want to be the reason for a failed season.
Use quiet voices. Walk or move very slowly—animals are very aware of any movements—if, by your actions, they change their behavior in eating or standing—you have disturbed them. Keep a respectful distance from nests and young.
Don't pick up a young animal. Teach children to leave young wildlife alone. If you believe an animal or bird is seriously hurt, call ODFW or Oregon State Police.
I am excited watching for the upcoming osprey return, observing and photographing their nests with babies, as well as watching bald eagles on nests, deer, elk and mountain goats traveling through their natural habitat.
A friend succinctly put it: how would you feel if someone entered your house and yard, talked loudly and looked in your windows without permission, walked into your living room with a camera? Hmmm. Let's all enjoy our animal friends with awe as well as respect.
Bend City Councilman Mark Capell recently stated that by putting the new water pipe under Skyliners Road would save Bend water ratepayers money in the long run. This is fuzzy math.
First of all, the pipe is larger than necessary. Secondly, putting the pipe under a paved road is more expensive to install and maintain over time–rather than installing the pipe in the right-of-way adjacent to the road. Thirdly, installing the pipe now, prior to the resolution of legal issues, is also an unwarranted financial risk. Finally, this piping (or surface water option) requires an expensive treatment facility.
The City of Bend has a history of financial mismanagement. They purchased land from the Bend Bulletin for nearly $5 million—it is currently on the market for about $2 million. Juniper Ridge, promoted as a moneymaker, has actually cost the city millions. And now, the proposal to continue dredging Mirror Pond and taking over the liabilities of the Pacific Power dam could result in another taxpayer fiasco.
Response to Mirror Pond, Etc.
...Mirror Pond is the centerpiece of downtown Bend, and has been for close to 100 years. Hearing the argument "a natural river with park like banks will save Bend's residents millions," do you all think that up-keeping more park acreage will be free? Dredging the river cost 25-30 million and it has been 30 years. There is also the cost of transforming the muck into usable land, paying property owners for the land they never really had under the water. AND, that silt and build up will just accumulate just beyond 1st St. rapids.
...OSU—This topic is getting as much or more coverage than Mirror Pond. The main complaints seem to be "thousands of more people" "increase in traffic" "no infrastructure in place." While these might normally be valid concerns, I want to know if those same people complaining cared about the impact THEY had on the area when they moved here. I think those people that live in Broken Top and along Mt. Washington have been enjoying the relative quiet compared to the rest of town.
...Hotel Tax—The last few months I really started noticing how much advertising had been popping up on social media about Bend. I noticed how many ads and articles were from places like D.C., New York and other far away places. Several local entities pretty much turned in to travel agencies and the new direct flights from Redmond to Los Angeles are sure to bolster tourism here. So Bend will, and is on its way to becoming a playground for the rich, never mind the locals have to share housing just to survive.
...Mt. Bachelor—Not much to say here; you ski/ride beyond the closed signs, you lose your privilege to do so. I know "I didn't see any markings because I was off trail." Well, that's BS, Ski Patrol ropes off areas until they are open, pretty clear the area is closed. It is YOUR responsibility to check and see what is open and or closed..
All that I have written above leads to this conclusion; the overall attitude in Bend has changed for the worse. In case you haven't noticed, most streets here are 25mph, not 50! Stop signs mean STOP. Unless you're taking someone to the hospital, there is no reason to be speeding. When you see that guy/gal on a bicycle approaching the same intersection, don't speed up and cut them off. And when you're riding your bike, you have to follow the same laws as cars.
I am sick of going out to places for dinner and hearing a bunch of people talking about how to make money off of Bend. Can't you just enjoy living here? We can barely go out to dinner anymore without having to wait 30-45 minutes as it is, do we really need to attract more people to Bend? Just six years ago you could drive out Century Dr. and pull off any number of dirt roads and be free of people. Now due to over use, most of the roads are closed or jam packed with cars. And yes, Shevlin Park is a "on-leash" park.
People think that "outsiders" are not welcome in Bend. In actuality, folks that have lived here for more than 5-7 years are being pushed out. Places we used to go for the peace and quiet are now overrun.
I am quite aware that Bend is going to continue to grow, I just hope it doesn't turn into any of those places people moved from.
Letter of the Week!
Whew, Brent, that was a lot to get off your chest (and there was even more, readers; we edited for size). I hope you feel better, or perhaps a $5 certificate to Crow's Feet Commons will help, we hope there won't be a wait.