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Fish, geese and turtles, oh my!

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In response to Richard Walker’s letter of Feb. 21, I would like to offer another perspective on the fishing derby in Meadow Vista. While I fully agree with his challenge asking everyone to be responsible, I would like to add we should also be realistic, respectful and reasonable. For the nearly 600 kids, parents and volunteers that participated last year, I would say they had a really good time. The wide smiles and memories of that first catch, the hugs dad gave to the not-so-triumphant angler, the wafting smells of an early morning pancake breakfast, and the thrill of winning a raffle prize will last a lifetime. I saw respect for the animals involved and most were very careful to clean up after ourselves and each other. ARD even used a boat to scour the shoreline of the island in search of hooks and line. I did see some adults from outside our area who fished for the two weeks following the event leave trash, poach too many fish, and disrespect our park treasure. But overall, I believe and thank the community groups, ARD, volunteers, parents and animal lovers for doing their very best to protect the safety, enjoyment and integrity of this event while minimizing any impact on the park’s animal residents. Mr. Walker mentioned how his kids “grew up ... fishing, feeding, and chasing the ducks.” Aside from the dangers of feeding wildlife human food, I know that any chasing of ducks or geese would not have been allowed that beautiful Saturday morning last year. No one wants to harm a duck, goose, or turtle. (Yes, Meadow Vista has signs saying it is a bird sanctuary but historical rumor has it that the original signs were made by a local school boy who simply posted them at either end of town one day.) This park should be a sanctuary, a sanctuary where the human, tax-paying members of the community are equally allowed to enjoy a sunny day, learn to fish for the first time, learn respect for the animal foods we may catch, and perhaps even animal husbandry and what to do in the rare chance of accidentally hooking a turtle. The park is for all to use, the pond for all to fish, and once fully funded, the community center for all to enjoy. Randall Hensley, Meadow Vista