Letters to the Editor

Rabbits belong on American Camp prairie

A letter to the editor in response to Megan Dethier ("Supports National Park Service’s plan to control the rabbits at American Camp," Sept. 3 SanJuanJournal.com):

I am not your "neighbor," but I am a 40-year resident on San Juan Island so perhaps you are my neighbor (like it or not).

I do take offense to your letter. I would think that honoring the UW you would not have stepped into a pile of controversy. I see that you are in the marine biology field. Perhaps you should keep to that.

Saying that Yellow Island has a "prairie" made we wonder, who in the heck are you? Yellow Island is a total of 11 acres and is full of trees and of beautiful meadows (in the springtime). A prairie it is not! As you know, it is protected and is a wonderful jewel in the San Juans. It has nothing to do with American Camp on San Juan Island. Apples to oranges, so why would you even bring it up?

If you want to see 11 acres of the 1,700 acres at American Camp look like that of Yellow Island, I think it could be done. Quite simply without killing our rabbits even. Just fence in an area, but you're not really looking at the big picture. Yellow Island does not have deer; are we going to have to kill all the deer to preserve the plants that the NPS thinks are of value this decade? The NPS will be planting, which will in turn entice our deer to areas which they have not bothered to browse for many years.

Moonscape? MOONSCAPE? Wow, how shallow is that? The dunes at American Camp should be praised. They are also at risk of extinction. I am just amazed that the dunes do not get the respect that should be given them. In a few short years, they could be gone — extinct, along with all the wonderful plants that thrived in them. Do you not realize that the rabbits have played a large part to keep our dunes intact?

The San Juan Island NPS has used gas and poison to try to kill the rabbits and plants at American Camp. They have lied face to face at the public meeting, asking us to believe their statements, that they had not done anything to eradicate the rabbits, when less than one month later the truth came out that they had gassed the warrens even recently.

I feel that there can be another path to follow. One that will allow the rabbits to remain, allow the blackberries to remain. Fences can be constructed to protect the redoubt and other areas to try to protect new plantings in the park.

The rabbits are not a pest. They belong there and shame on you for not seeing that.

Have you not seen a copy of the booklet that the NPS published titled "The Rabbits of San Juan Island National Historical Park"? You can find it in our library and I suggest you read it. When the rabbits were plentiful, we had many golden eagles, along with the bald eagles and other raptors. As far as the eagles at American Camp are concerned, the NPS study was conducted after the decline of the rabbits, therefore there were few around (none out in the open), making their "study" a travesty.

Mary Elford
False Bay

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