“So extraordinary is Nature with her choicest treasures, spending plant beauty as she spends sunshine, pouring it forth into land and sea, garden and desert. And so the beauty of the lilies falls on angels and men, bears and squirrels, wolves and sheep, birds and bees….” ~ John Muir
Some may use “cute” to describe a bear peeking out of a trash can. But “sad” and “displaced” are more accurate. What a contrast from the black bear I saw last summer in the Eastern Sierras. He majestically stood upright, in a wide open meadow overlooking his domain. Very different geographical locations, but the same needs of food, water and shelter.
Not being welcome at the farmer’s markets to pick fruits and vegetables, our local visitors have resorted to getting into trash cans and dumpsters. The fruit trees and pet food in our yards are on the menu, too. According to the Dept. of Fish and Game, the heat has drawn them into town looking for water. Last season’s below normal rainfall totals left local streams and other water sources either very low or dry.
Our mountains continue to recover from the effects of the Station Fire. The fire was a slow moving one and burned the vegetation down to the roots. It will take a number of years with good rainfall before the burned areas can support a healthy community of bears. Besides plants being a food source for bears, they also benefit from the water content in the foliage and berries. So out of the hills they come …
Our swimming pools, spas, ponds and sprinklers provide not only a drink, but a place to shower and cool off. So with this being said, “Welcome to the Crescenta Valley, Meatball and friends.”
Or maybe not so welcomed.
As I attempted to get on the 210 at Pennsylvania Avenue a few weeks ago, I was instantly greeted by cars frantically backing off of or turning around to exit the freeway. I could see the freeway had come to a complete stop. Apparently a frightened bear was roaming the eastbound lanes. Once again a misplaced bear was “lost in La Crescenta.” Given the name “Rosie,” she was tranquilized and returned to her real home in the mountains.
Black bears, 11 of them, were first introduced to the San Gabriels in 1933. Not by any choice of theirs, but Fish and Game in Yosemite National Park considered them a nuisance. Survival of a wild animal a “nuisance?”
With a good rainy season expected, the bears can return home to hibernate (a well-deserved rest). We are not there yet.
Clear skies and warm temperatures are forecast over the weekend. Meteorologists, with hesitation, expect a cool down next week with daytime highs around 70 and nights in the 60s.
Autumn has officially arrived!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at