« Men On the Moon | Gene Expression Front Page | Less herbs, more synthetics! »
January 09, 2004

The price of the great outdoors

Mountain lion 'out for blood' killed after attacking bikers. The conflict between mountain lions and humans in the mountain West is not new. These are in general secretive big cats, attested to by the fact that while the wolf was exterminated from most of the lower 48, the cougar continues to haunt the Rockies.

But, many Westerners, often affluent liberal professionals, what to be "near the wilderness." Yesterday night as my girlfriend and I were walking back from her office late at night a family of deer were taking a rest in the middle of a lawn on a house just off the main street. I myself have seen the strange behavior of the local deer, as they come out of the hillsides and wait for the cars to pass on the main drag, before venturing to the other side of town. Here is the type of scene that is common place around where I live:

If you like the outdoors, clean water and a sky unmarred by smog, visit the portion of the I-5 corridor between Redding, California and Imbler, Imbler. But of course there are downsides to the "country life." No lights, no big city and no Banana Republic. Those are the things that most people think of when they imagine the urban life, and those are the things that many are escaping.

On the other hand, there are other issues that are more important once you actually live in the country. Fires are a fact of life, 2 years ago it was so bad that it was like twilight at noon. Because of the spread of rural developments for professionals, local resources are overstretched, trying to save houses in areas where old timers might have avoided building because they knew the negatives that came along with hillside vistas. People are pushing their way into the wilderness to enjoy it, but in the process are bringing the amenities that they take for granted with them.

Cougars eating human beings is not something I favor. But, I think some people need to understand that this is the reductio ad absurdum of living "in the wilderness." If you want to see yourself as just another animal in "harmony" with nature, you might open your mind to the possibility that the predators will start viewing you as meat.

Posted by razib at 02:16 PM