Out & About: Predator story prompts farmer

OUTREFLECT – Our May 27 Outdoors page feature, “Wildlife Services’ deadly force brings environmental problems,” cited experts who are challenging the government-funded cost and effectiveness of mass-killing predators to protect livestock or big game.

Some contend that wiping out large numbers of coyotes can result in boom of rodents that cause disease and damage habitat, impacting a wide range of species.

Hal Meenach, a Fairfield, Wash.- area farmer, is skeptical.

“From my observation and research, claims that taking predators causes prey collapse are far too simplistic,” he said.  “Most of our local prey-predator populations are for the most part human dependent.  They were not here before we created conditions favorable for them. 

“Humans have brought the habitats and transplanted to encourage these populations. 

“A hundred years ago, my grandfather went to the Cascades to hunt deer.  No population existed here.” 

Meenach said his wife’s grandfather found no elk in the Blue Mountains until he helped plant them around 1917. 

“Special events and introductions are highlights of prey and predator variability.  Parvo and mange mites are recent invaders. Blue tongue came with introduced cattle and distemper. 

“A heavy snow winter or an extended dry fall cause far more havoc with populations than any prey-predator relationship,” he said, noting that situations vary by region. 

“I would certainly agree that federal programs dealing with predators should change,” Meenach said.  “After all, these are the folks that spent decades and millions eliminating wolves and then spend a couple of hundred million more bringing them back when they were returning just fine on their own.”

Test drive new outdoor sports

OUTDO – Maybe you’d like to try a traditional sport, such as canoeing or kayaking, or maybe you’re curious about more modern sports such as geocacheing, slacklining or stand-up paddling.

Check out Sekani Adventure Day – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The equipment will be there along with people who will teach you how to use it.

The event is sponsored by Spokane Parks and Recreation and boosted by volunteers from a variety of outdoor groups. Other sports covered include mountain biking, letterboxing, paddle rafting, archery, map and compass navigation, scrambling and maybe rock climbing this year

Nothing is sold at this event. It’s strictly try it and see if you like it.

Where: Camp Sekani Conservation Area, 6707 E. Upriver Drive.

Cost: $9 preregistration or $15 at the gate.

Preregister: 625-6200 or tinyurl.com


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