Only against shepherdia removal

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Editor:

Re: Aug. 30 editorial, Bounty or bear attractant?

It’s obvious from your editorial that you misunderstood and misinterpreted the meaning of my letter in last week’s VOX POPULI.

You made it sound as though I am the ringleader of some Backyard Fruit Tree Fanatics movement, while in fact I hold a completely different point of view. Why would you choose to comment on letters from readers at all? Are you trying to stir things up? Create controversy? Maybe even encourage a storm of hostility against the letter writer? If so, this shows great disrespect to your readers, and the writer in question.

Now, then, I will try to clarify further the points which I thought were abundantly clear in my letter, in the first place:

1. I was talking about the removal of one plant species, the buffalo berry bush (i.e. Shepherdia canadensis), a shrub which is native to our mountains and is an important natural food source for bears as they range through the Bow Valley.

2. I fully support the removal of exotic fruit trees (e.g. crabapples) when found in local gardens, since, as we all should know, they may attract bears. I also fully support proper disposal of garbage in bearproof garbage containers, and all other measures we must take to ensure safety in bear country – and the survival of bears.

3. No, the buffalo berry bushes in question do not grow in my private garden up here in Middle Springs (I have no garden). Behind our condo is a patch of reserve land which is thinly wooded. It contains three native tree species: white spruce, lodgepole pine, and a few Douglas fir, while buffalo berry bushes grow in the understory, along with grasses and a few other plants. The female buffalo berry bushes are tagged and slated to be chopped off by the Town of Banff and Parks Canada on Sept. 7-8.

The main point to my letter in last week’s Outlook was that Parks Canada’s education effort appears to be sparse and ineffective these days, and needs serious reconstruction. Another major idea in my letter was that Parks Canada’s first priority is supposed to be the protection of ecological integrity. So, given the important role played by the humble buffalo berry in the ecosystem, why is Parks Canada targeting it?
I also questioned Parks Canada’s current obsession with public safety.

Shirley Truscott,
Banff

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