Without Lynn Rogers at work, Ely will suffer
On the Friday before the July 4th week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources quietly (cowardly?) did something it has been wanting to do for many years. It got even with Lynn Rogers (“DNR yanks research permit for popular Ely bear expert,” June 29). Rogers has made the major mistakes of pointing out when DNR logging policies were wrong; of having his followers contact the DNR to suggest that collared, research bears should not be shot, and of doing bear research better than the DNR does. For that, he has been denied permits for doing further bear research.
The worst part of this, for me, is that this action will deny the Ely area of, in my estimation, more than a million dollars worth of tourism and advertising per year. Our county commissioner and I had asked DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr and Fish and Wildlife Director Ed Boggess for information on the status of these permits for months, but we heard nothing until it was over. I’ve also asked the commissioner for a written rationale as to why something this detrimental to Ely was done. I’m not expecting a response — primarily because I don’t think this decision can stand the light of day. When did state employees become unaccountable to state taxpayers and elected officials?
ROSS PETERSEN, mayor; Ely, Minn.
• • •
I was disappointed to see that the DNR has discontinued Rogers’ research halfway through his comparative study of human-habituated bears and wild bears in Minnesota. Granted, the first half of the study, dealing with the habituated bears, was considered the easier part. Perhaps the DNR would see fit to allow Rogers to train wild bears to accept close human observation, feeding, battery changes to radio collars, etc., in order to more quickly conclude the second half of the study.
Excuse me — I seem to have lost track of what the research was about, and so did Rogers.
Larry Sibik, White Bear Lake
• • •
The DNR’s Lou Cornicelli says that “bears are breaking into cabins, sticking their heads in cars and behaving in ways wild bears would not otherwise do” and later states that “bears are unpredictable.” Huh?
I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the 1970s and ’80s. We had a remote cabin on the Salcha River, and several friends had cabins throughout the state. Bears always broke into cabins, though the cabin owners stored goods properly and removed their trash. Bears breaking into cabins is not new or unique to Minnesota or attributable to Rogers.
As far as bears sticking their heads in cars, ignorant tourists have been driving through national parks (like Denali) for decades, gleefully tossing ham sandwiches out the window to bears or any other wildlife that approaches. This recklessness would seem vastly different from a qualified researcher feeding a bear for the purpose of attaching a radio collar.
Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research stirred controversy as well.
DOUGLAS BROAD, St. Louis Park
COST OF COLLEGE
Debating the impact of loan rate increase
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.