Letters to the Editor, Feb. 18, 2015
February 17, 2015
Voles are important for ecosystem
I read the recent Park Record article about increasing vole numbers, submitted by Utah State University, with much disappointment. Vole numbers have increased at least temporarily. The last time I noticed this, so did I notice a subsequent increase in red tail hawks. Voles can actually have an important place in our ecosystem. Their runway systems increase soil aeration and studies have shown that voles may provide some benefit to agriculture and especially in regards to grasslands, may contribute to soil formation. I was especially upset with the mention of the usage of zinc phosphide and anticoagulants for usage in rural areas. There is a risk to both birds and mammals when these are used. Predators such as red tail hawks and foxes (which numbers seemed to have already dropped), could be affected as well as animals attracted to bait grains, Death is delayed for several days – yes slow and unpleasant. I truly hope people will either use the other methods suggested if intolerant to voles, or accept a year with a few more of them and most likely some increased hawks in the sky.
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Park users beware: Big Brother is watching
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Recent users of Willow Creek Park or Matt Knoop Memorial Park may have noticed some strange towers being installed. There are two at the former and one at the latter. Each is about 30 feet tall, has a solar panel and four small appendages attached at the top. Presumably, each cost several thousand dollars.
Earlier this week I asked a service engineer what their purpose was. The answer? The appendages are cameras to record people with dogs off leash.
This in a state that a few years ago decided to ban traffic cameras at intersections on the basis that – even though they would probably save lives – they were an invasion of privacy.
The disdain of the county officers for dog walkers simply baffles me. They recently voted to add 4 additional animal control officers – again one assumes primarily to monitor dogs. Do they ever go out into the community to observe what goes on? For example, on school days practically the only users of the two parks – or Round Valley – are people walking dogs. Simply making these parks an "off leash" zone until (say) 10 a.m. or noon on school days would satisfy almost all users and save tax payers a bundle.
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