Nature Notes: I-Beach driving ban?

<I>CRAIG SPARKS photo</I>

The description of our county as being "Nature's Best Effort" isn't far from the truth. With late spring rains and cool temperatures, the green of the coast is about as green as it gets. The lush foliage along our roadsides and parkways is always a wonderful reminder that the rest of the country does not have fern-lined roadsides and overhanging tree cover.

The deer population seems somewhat less affected by the lice problems of years' past, and although it is still somewhat evident, it seems to be on the decline. Best thing here is to leave them alone for a few seasons and let the strong and healthy deer, which have shown to be relatively immune to hair loss (caused by lice infestations), restore the deer population.

The black bear populations are declining due to habitat loss and human interference, but for the time being, a tolerant, more understanding attitude may be called for when the bears rip up your feeders because your neighbor mowed all of the bears' forage completely flat just before the blackberries and salal berries were ripe.

So many of the orphaned baby ducklings and goslings we get here at the Wildlife Center have been mauled by cats and are badly hurt. Fact. So the easy answer here is keep your cats indoors during the baby critter season which lasts until mid-July. By then, the babies are grown up enough to escape from danger. How hard is that? Consider the alternative....

Hey, call me a romantic, but I much prefer to hear the singing of goldfinches and robins and chickadees and meadowlarks and seagulls and sparrows and nuthatches and pine siskins and swallows and thrushes, then to see some neighbor's obese cat lurking at my bird feeders!

The coast here is as beautiful as any in the world, and the beach could be spectacular if it weren't for the trucks and cars that ruin the magnificent sanctuary of the ocean's edge.

The endless tire tracks and trash, the ever-present speeding trucks, the constant injuring and killing of seabirds and marine mammals are clear and sure signs that we don't care enough about the beach to protect it.

The end of the rainbow is right here, right at our doorstep. More than most, we have a priceless bounty of irreplaceable natural beauty. What a sacrilege to allow our natural wonders to be abused when so many animals depend on them for survival.

And, so many paying visitors just want to come to a safe, truck-free beach to play with their family. Hey, just ask them! The end of the rainbow shouldn't have motor vehicles at it. How much better to see families playing at the water's edge, building sand castles, reading books, working on their tans, whatever, without the threat of trucks.

A statewide voter initiative will do the trick... Stay tuned!

• Check out our new weekly nature movie at: (http://home.pacifier.com/~sparks/wildlife!!.html)

• Craig Sparks is director of NAWA, a filmmaker, freelance writer and wildlife rehabilitator.

• Found injured wildlife? Questions? Call the Wildlife Center at 665-3595 or send an e-mail to: sparks@pacifier.com.

• High quality photo reprints from Nature Notes can be found online at: www.chinookobserver.info.

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