Are Californians braver, smarter, more mature, and more tolerant than Easterners? Apparently so, if you believe Peter Nye’s argument against bringing cougars back to the Adirondacks [“It’s Debatable,” January/February 2015].
As a Californian (since 1976) and an Adirondacker (a camp on Piseco Lake, and a family history in the Adirondacks from the 1700s), I have a unique perspective on this silly (and never-ending) debate.
Here, within the city of Los Angeles, we have a lovely permanent cougar population. A big, beautiful male lives under the “Hollywood” sign. We hardly notice. Cougars are great at staying away from people, so much so that here, in the middle of the nation’s second-biggest city, their presence is not a problem—it’s just one more reason why it’s great to live here.
We have many residential communities that butt right up against cougar-populated mountains, and approximately zero problems with interactions between cougars and people. When I go hiking or mountain biking in the Santa Monica Mountains, I am well aware that cougars are around—and grateful that people here are awed and inspired by their presence.
Given a chance, the people of the Adirondacks would love having their own cougars in the woods.
Dexter Ford, Piseco, NY