Close Encounters With Nature Can Leave A Mark

CHRISTOPHER CREEK

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When we first moved to Christopher Creek five years ago, we could hardly believe how close to nature we really were.

We saw more species of birds than ever before. One day, we had about 100 elk eat 60 bales of hay we brought in for our horses and both the elk and deer have found Cindy's flowers irresistible.

My wife's dad, David, came to visit one time, and in the middle of the night we heard this noise and went out to see what was going on. At the time, we were living in a small building, and when we turned on the light, we saw our trash scattered all over.

As it was in the middle of the night and in the middle of the forest with no close neighbors, I decided that it would be OK if I picked up the trash, even though I was only wearing my shorts. The next morning, I looked out and saw the food again scattered all over and immediately saw a flash-back of me walking around in my shorts while a bear must have been just out of the light watching me.

I can just imagine what the headlines would have been if that bear had decided he wanted me instead of that trash. "Fire department rescues man from top of tree wearing only his shorts."

A side note on that story is that for the rest of his visit, David started carrying around a pistol and saw more bears than ever before or after. He looked like Daniel Boone standing guard over us city folk.

Anyway, the story is funny and something we will always remember, but it could have been very serious. It also could have been prevented if we had not kept our trash in cans around our home. Now we have an enclosed container and make sure we do not allow the odor to draw bears to our home.

This past week, one bear was killed and several others were sighted looking for food. Like I said, it makes a great story to say you saw a bear, but it usually becomes an unhappy story for the bears. Even if they are not killed, they usually need to be trapped and relocated.

The best thing to do is to prevent attracting bears. Don't leave trash where the odor will attract them. If you're camping, keep the food in your car where the odor will not be detected and bears can't get to it. Most importantly, if you get up in the middle of the night and think there is a bear around, put your pants on!

Fires still a threat

Just because the monsoon season is supposed to have started, and just because we have had several light rains, does not mean the threat of forest fires no longer exists.

Yes, the forests are open for camping and yes, we have had some moisture, but the forests are still very dry, the temperatures are very high and should a fire start, we would be in big trouble.

As I understand it, many of our forest firefighters are now in other states fighting fires. We are now in the dangerous position of not only having dry forests, and having little resources for resisting fires, but much of the public believes the fire season is behind us. It is not.

One careless spark, one careless campfire and we could be in serious trouble.

Before you go camping or start that cookfire, check with your local fire department to see what safety precautions fire officials recommend. Make sure you act responsibly before striking that match.

We would like to thank Diane Ham and Nelson Stanton for another donation of sports equipment to our Christopher Creek sports enthusiasts. They are being put to good use. Thank you.

If you have any questions, comments, stories or events to share with me, call 478-5050.

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