Thursday, June 6, 2002

I’m thinking about things arriving here these days.

The other day we went for a walk in the woods to look for a reptile that everyone calls the “Dragon Lizard” but which has the more technical, if no less more fearsome. Name of “Northern Alligator Lizard.” These reptiles frequent rocky lairs around our place, and the neighbours cats often drag them in. Aine and I wanted to see if we could find one in it’s natural habitat rather than at the bottom of a yoghurt container, so we went walking in the woods.

On our trek around Kilarney Lake, we turned up a number of rocks and logs and so on, and discovered lots of interesting creatures, including red-legged frogs, big dingy ground beetles, fiery hunter beetles, and the prize, an Ensatina salamander, lying pale pink under a maple log. No lizards, but lot’s of this sort of thing.

It set me to wondering about how these things get to an island that lies two miles of shore. I was still pondering the question when the bear arrived.

The bear is a young black bear that swam over here from somewhere, for some reason. After hanging around our place, and nearby Collins Farm, he wandered down by the school (causing a fair panic) and the around Artisan Square. Once folks got locking up the garbage, the bear moved on and was last seen around Cowen Point, in the far southern part of the Island. There are no plans to remove the bear or shoot it, as it has not become a nuisance. There are several people calling for it’s expulsion though, but the wildlife folks contend that Bowen is occasional bear habitat and they have no plans to move it.

It puts in question a deeper issue for me. Many people are saying that it is only a matter of time before the bear makes trouble, at which time it will be shot dead. They don’t relocate bears anymore. This raises the question about how wild Bowen really is. We are lucky that we have no human predators on Bowen, and are relatively free of cougars and bears. If we take a decision that these animals should not be allowed on this island, for whatever reason (including for good reasons) then we have sadly increased the human footprint here rather dramatically. These are larger philosophical questions, but worth asking none the less.

Other things continue to arrive here as well, especially people. The tourists are flooding on to the island, wandering aimlessly around the Cove, looking for things to spend their money on. There used to be a little button at The Snug that said “Why is it called tourist season if we can’t shoot at them.” That certainly sums up the mood of folks who get stuck in ferry overloads.

There are lots more summer cottagers around now too. And the good news is that Chris and Danusia and Annabelle, friends from Vancouver, moved here this week. They have a really nice place up above Artisan Square with a stunning view of the mountains in the Tantalus Range and the North Shore.

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