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Wolves, bears and mountain lions, oh my!

Snakes, ticks and mosquitoes, go bye-bye

It’s that time of the year when Plumas County residents can finally enjoy warm weather and venture outside. But what dangers lurk in our backyards and beyond?

In recent weeks we have written about mountain lion and wolf attacks, as well as too-close-for-comfort bear shenanigans. This week, reporter Victoria Metcalf warns us of diseases associated with pesky mosquitoes and invasive ticks. In past articles we have discussed the danger of rattlesnakes in the area and where they can be found.

All of the articles have addressed what to do to limit the potential dangers — what hours of the day bring the most likelihood of an encounter, what clothing should be worn, what repellant should be used, what actions one should take (i.e. in the case of a mountain lion — don’t run, but rather make yourself as big as possible and make noise), what one should do if one is chased, bitten, attacked, etc …

It’s enough to make one’s mind whirl, and ask “Is it worth it?” While the chances of a dangerous interaction aren’t likely, they do exist. We know people who have been bitten by rattlesnakes and bats, who have contracted Lyme disease from a tick, who have had mountain lions and bears in their yards, who have had livestock and pets killed by wildlife, and once we know of such incidents, we know that they can and do happen.

So again, the question must be asked: Is it worth it? And of course it is. We can all enjoy being outdoors and learn to share nature with various creatures as safely as we can. We just need to take some simple precautions for ourselves and for our children.

It will be interesting to see how this summer unfolds. No doubt with the proliferation of wildlife cameras, we will see some dramatic photographs and/or video of what prowls at night. There will be more impassioned meetings about wolves and their impacts on this county and the state in general. We will hear the discussions about what to do with the neighborhood bear, which at first was kind of cute, but now has progressed from garbage can foraging to home break-ins.

As long as we live this close to nature, there will be issues. We just need to use common sense when we head out the door. So here’s to a happy and safe summer outdoors because the temperatures will dip again all too soon.

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