Opportunities to celebrate local Special Olympians and veterans of past wars are coming up this spring. And with the arrival of warmer weather, the city of Asheville provides tips on securing garbage to promote peaceful coexistence with Western North Carolina’s burgeoning bear population.
The most important thing is not to panic. Remember that most humans are just as scared of you as you are of them. Ninety percent of the time, they’ll run away. Try to resist the urge to chase them.
Western North Carolina’s wild places and creatures lie at the heart of the region’s appeal, inspiring local artists and attracting visitors from across the globe. Events in 2018 promised to shape the future of those natural resources for years to come.
Readers, you had a lot to say about local politics and civic goings-on in the region this year. From tourism and development to bears and the county government scandal, here’s a look back at some of the hot topics that sparked your opinions.
“But let’s get some perspective here. The rate of murders in the Asheville area is approximately 10 per 100,000 people; the rate of rapes, 48 per 100,000; the rate of assault, 335 per 100,000.”
“At the very least, City Council or the Wildlife Commission could stage a ‘bear summit’ to document the number and character of close calls.”
“Bears are not the enemy! We’re the ones who have to decide if we’re going to be the enemy. Coexistence is possible: We can do it, but it’s a practice.”
“We can protect wildlife by rinsing jars and replacing the lids, folding back the tab on beverage cans to block the hole, crushing cans before recycling them and cutting apart every section of six-pack rings.”
“They need to be thinned out by removal, sterilization, extended hunting season or whatever is appropriate in order for the bear population to remain healthy and the human population to remain safe.”
“The problem isn’t that we are taking over their habitat. Asheville is surrounded by thousands of acres of protected land; it’s just the food thing is easier in ours.”
“Someone needs to inform all these unsuspecting transplants who are moving here in droves and are paying outrageous prices for housing without being told that hanging out in their backyards at night might be an invitation for disaster.”
Municipal officials, wildlife experts and WNC residents talk bear-resistant trash cans, bird feeders and educational initiatives designed to protect citizens and wildlife living in close proximity to each other.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and NC State University have wrapped up the first year of urban bear study in Asheville. “While it is too early in the study to make any conclusions, we were impressed by the size and health of the yearling bears we handled,” reads a passage from NC Wildlifer.
I always forget the appropriate admonition. I’m talking about what one is supposed to do if you find yourself suddenly in the path of a bear. I suspect that I’ll be the one who forgets what to do and piss some bear off — royally.