The locations of the "Where in the Wild Are You?" contest photos in our
March/April issue can now be revealed:
1. Atchafalaya Swamp, Louisiana
2. Lost Coast, California
3. Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park, California
4. Stikine River, Alaska
The winner, chosen in a random drawing of correct entries, will receive a Sierra
Club rafting and backpacking trip for two in Canyonlands National Park, courtesy
of Sierra Club Outings. Contest sponsor Nature Valley will also provide two Dana
Design backpacks, a Jana tent, and a year's supply of granola bars. For the name
of the winner (who has already been notified), send a self-addressed, stamped
envelope to Sierra. Many thanks to our generous sponsors.
Thank you for the enlightening "Running With Bears" by Paul Rauber (March/April).
With all of the violent, downright frightening tales of grizzly attacks in the
media, your publication shines through with an objective, honest look at humans
in touch with their place in the food chain. It is one of the too few stories of
the healthy relationship that can be formed between humans and animals. This
article may even get my husband to hike in bear country with me! Dave Connelly
Durham, North Carolina
I spent six days last year with a group of five others in Katmai National Park,
Alaska, in the company of veteran bear biologist Lynn Rogers doing many of the
same things described in your article. Each day offered new insight as we lay
down in meadows and watched in awe as the great animals ignored us and went about
making their living as they have done there for thousands of years.
their cubs, dug clams at low tide, grazed, and played-often so close we could
hear their breathing and see the expression in their eyes. On one occasion, we
saw 31 grizzlies at once, yet none of us felt the slightest bit threatened.
Certainly, I would not have undertaken this opportunity except with an
experienced bear researcher, but those six days altered forever my outlook on the
nature of bears. Patricia Briggs
San Francisco, California
I have nothing whatsoever to say about the mysteries of bears and humans, but I
feel sad that Sierra wasted its prime lead-article space on a piece that reveals
so little about Kamchatka's plight and its defenders, but will probably trigger a
rush of self-indulgent tourists who want an instant primary experience with
bears, and are well-heeled enough to afford $2,400 helicopter flights without
Multinational mining companies collude with the cash-starved government to mine
gold in Kamchatka's proposed national parks. In the Sea of Okhotsk, between
Kamchatka and the Russian mainland, the last great feeding frenzy of uncontrolled
international factory-fishing fleets is decimating the waters.
Meanwhile, the urban population of Petropavlovsk faces the bleak prospect of a
thoroughly polluted bay and a collapsed economy. But what does Paul Rauber
concentrate on? How irresistible it is to meander around
too close to bears for their good, or his own. John Cloud
Santa Barbara, California
Paul Rauber replies: Sierra ran an article about Kamchatka and the Aginsky gold
mine project, "Rich in Gold and Grizzlies," in November/December 1998. But we
have found it is important to leaven the doom and gloom of environmental ills
with stories that remind people what they're fighting to protect. Those wishing
information on other issues in Kamchatka and the Russian Far East should contact
the Pacific Environment and Resources Center, 1440 Broadway, Suite 306, Oakland,
CA 94612; (510) 251-8800; email@example.com; www.pacenv.org.
I read Ted Williams' article, "Thoreau's Dream" (March/April), with hope and
fear. I grew up on Moosehead Lake. On a trip back to The Birches after an absence
of 20 years, I plunged into the woods, my son in tow, breathlessly telling him of
my memories of a marvelous spot in the forest we were about to visit. Once a
narrow path led to a hidden, rock-lined spring where my sister and I used to have
picnics and pretend we were woods fairies.
Here had been huge, mossy rocks, a
hushed forest floor covered with a deep carpet of needles dropped by the fir and
spruce that towered overhead, bunch berries, ferns, and lady slippers. I walked
through a thicket of alder and wild raspberry beside the road, trying to get my
bearings, and suddenly came up short. The forest was gone! Five hundred feet
beyond the road was a gouged, rutted mess of dirt and piles of discarded limbs
and branches. It seemed a tornado had torn through the entire woods-this
beautiful, silent forest that had stretched as far as my childhood mind could
encompass. Once it had been a natural parkland. Now it was a vacant lot.
If left alone, I suppose in a hundred years those woods might come back to a
semblance of what they were. Perhaps there might again be moss, dogberry, fern,
and all the haphazard delights of a natural forest. There might be light
filtering down between nature's lovely variety of trees: fir, spruce, birch,
maple, beech. But not in my lifetime. For me it is gone forever. Robin Fahey Cameron
It's amazing that people in this secular country blame religion for our
population problem ("Letters," March/
April). The Catholic Church teaches natural birth control and encourages purity
and chastity, which, if followed, would eliminate all of our
illegitimate children. The church opposes test-tube babies, sperm banks, and the
churning out of litters of babies by fertility clinics. The church teaches a
simple lifestyle and celebrates as saints those who have said the future belongs
to those who need the least.
In this country, our "religion" consists of the profit motive, consumption, and
materialism. It is the business world and the corporate giants who push for
growth by constantly advertising sex and consumer goods. Hordes of consumers and
crowds of workers to exploit are essential in order to gain greater profits. Can
any honest person look at all of our material progress, gained at the expense of
natural ecosystems and for which future generations will have to pay dearly,
without concluding that indeed materialism is the most powerful
religion of all? Mary Ellen Sweeney
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Careful reader Don Forman writes to tell us that the Russian words used to
describe American cockroaches in "Running With Bears" (March/April)
should have been tarakany amerikanskie.
Sierra welcomes letters from readers in response to recently published articles.
Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Write to us at 85 Second St.,
2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-3441; fax (415) 977-5794;
or you can e-mail us at:firstname.lastname@example.org.