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River Views

I belong to the Sierra Club and support most of the environmental stands they take. However, they also have a way of shooting themselves in the foot, publicly. Take the January-February issue of Sierra magazine. In that publication Paul Rauber questions removing wolves from Wyoming’s endangered species list. He declares that vultures are responsible for 0.3% of cattle losses. Vultures, or buzzards, as my family always called them, clean up after the death of a bovine; they do not kill or injure cattle. Rauber’s statistics come from the US Department of Agriculture.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Listing vultures as a cause for cattle loss makes one wonder if anyone at the Department of Agriculture really knows what happens in cattle ranching. Furthermore, it only lends credence to the whackos who believe every part of our federal government is out to get them. For the Sierra Club to put this into print without the slightest pause for common sense furthers the stereotype that the Sierra Club leadership (and proofreaders — if there are any these days) are a bunch of ivory tower do-gooders who wouldn’t know a bull from a cow or a heifer from Hereford.

On a local level, we’ve had our share of folk who’d sooner chain themselves to a corporate logging gate than see a good-sized second growth tree felled. Some of those same people drove into the woods in their internal combustion engine automobiles. When they finished their righteous protest they returned to homes made from redwood logs.

There’s a poster appearing on coastal bulletin boards asking for funds to complete a land trust purchase in the neighborhood of Deadman’s Gulch off the lower Albion River. The photo on the poster depicts the remains of a trestle and marshland where the mouth of Deadman’s Gulch meets the Albion. The area in the photo is not part of the land trust that is pleading for money. The poster also uses the phrase “enchanted meadow.”

Let me make it clear to all readers: There is no such place. That phrase is barely 20 years old and was invented by those involved in lawsuits and countersuits with Louisiana-Pacific. In other words the “enchanted meadow” phrase was a public relations concoction, no different than the slogans and jargon used by corporations to sell dog food, drugs, or toilet cleaner.

No evidence exists that the so-called “enchanted meadow” was ever identified as anything more than “the field” by the Pomo who occasionally passed through for centuries or the white people who lived here for more than a century before the phrase was conjured up. My family having been a substantial number of those white people and among the very few who actually conversed with the remnants of the Pomo who camped in the area, this columnist has a certain level of understanding that transcends even the most enchanted Johnny-come-lately.

Much of the field so inaptly called “enchanted meadow” is covered with thistles, blackberry vines, and poison hemlock that should make anyone think twice about picking the berries entwined with them. One result of those suits and countersuits from the early 1990s created a land trust property that extends west from the mouth of Duck Pond Gulch to the Albion River boom. In that case L-P essentially hoodwinked the land trust backers into accepting a piece of property that amounts to tidewater flats. Every bit of the actual “enchanted meadow” land trust is within the floodwater plain of the lower Albion River. As such, it was already under the protection of state law. ¥¥

One Comment

  1. February 7, 2013

    I have always been amazed at how quickly Turkey Vultures arrive at the remains of a dead animal, especially cattle. They go right to work on the eyes and rectal area.
    I do not find it impossible that the birds hasten the death of 1 in 300 (.3%) fallen and near death animals and are ultimately responsible for their deaths.

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