Plan disrespects the public

I was more than a little surprised to read in the Explorer that, despite the vast majority of comments (80 percent) opposing the Department of Environmental Conservation’s expansion of hunting and trapping in its Bobcat “Management” Plan (because, God forbid, they simply couldn’t manage without us) the agency went ahead and did what it wanted to do anyway. Is there a better definition of futility?

What value is public input if an agency is going to do what it wanted to do anyway? While resource management isn’t always done best by public referenda, we should pay attention to what the public wants in order to guide resource management in practice. Ignoring a public that says, “We want more bobcats, not fewer, and we want them alive, not dead,” will in the long run degrade the trust that the public puts in the agency and makes future decisions, even unrelated ones, that much harder to gain public traction.

DEC would do well to pay a lot more attention to the constituency that values wildlife for its living presence, not its value-subtracted transformation to a taxidermical specimen or a fashion statement.

James E. Close, Mechanicville

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