Let the Gunpowder Beavers BeI recently went fishing on the...


July 05, 1993

Let the Gunpowder Beavers Be

I recently went fishing on the Gunpowder River for trout after reading the June 1 article in The Sun about the killing of beavers on the Gunpowder watershed under permit by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

I did not see a single beaver, and the three beaver dams, which were there in February, were gone. The quality of my outdoor experience was lessened by their demise.

It is my belief that the beavers and their dams were an asset to the Gunpowder State Park, the environment and even the trout in whose name they were sacrificed.

The beavers use a few trees to build their homes, which are the dams. The dams are remarkable engineering feats to see, and they merely deepened existing pools on the stream.

Beavers do not go out and try to build a dam over fast-flowing riffle areas used by trout for spawning -- God gave them more brains than that.

The topography of the upper Gunpowder is a gorge area and, as such, the beaver dam pools were not extensive and shallow as they would be in a marshy area. They were deep, narrow and unlikely to cause thermal warming. In the last few years, the upper Gunpowder has had successful natural reproduction of brook, brown and even rainbow trout -- all while living in harmony with the beavers. I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Stop the killing.

If beavers are not permitted to live in our parks for people to enjoy seeing, where should they be allowed to exist? In a zoo?

Peter Kozlek


An Ugly Performance

I attended the public hearing with the Baltimore County school board and Superintendent Stuart Berger on the evening of June 23 as a concerned parent and as a member of our community wanting to hear first hand what was on the minds of parents and others gathered for this special meeting.

During the more than three hours of this meeting, I heard the voices of passion from many frustrated and angry parents and a few other speakers.

As an observer, since I did not have the facts in each of the situations, I can only superficially evaluate the speakers' comments. Many did appear to have legitimate concerns, but most seemed to be angry in principle at Dr. Berger and the members of the school board. They came to this meeting for one reason -- to ventilate this anger.

In many situations when their anger was expressed and a few times when someone called for the ouster of the superintendent and the board, the crowd of over 400 stood up to cheer. A couple of times I almost felt that if someone had yelled out, "Let's lynch him," the crowd would have responded with its approval.

A few speakers attempted to discredit Dr. Berger's earlier career, questioning why he was hired in the first place. When a journalist from Frederick spoke in glowing terms of what Dr. Berger did for that school system during his tenure there as superintendent, the audience jeered him and would not let him speak.

When he concluded by saying, "I know Dr. Berger hasn't ever made a decision that wasn't in the best interest of the students," the audience yelled out in unison, "Take him back!"

Out of over 100 speakers, four were African-Americans. Three were extremely supportive of the superintendent and the board in its efforts to implement change on the behalf of minority students.

In the case of these three, none was treated with common courtesy by the audience. While they were talking, the audience grumbled, jeered, booed and became so impatient with their presence at the microphone that these people did not even have an opportunity to fully express their opinions.

The audience was ready to humiliate anyone who did not agree with it. What I found most striking was that outside of the man from Frederick, the people that this almost completely white audience debased vociferously were three African-Americans. Racism continues to rear its ugly head in Baltimore County.

A big part of the problem is that bringing an outsider into a school system is usually a statement that change is desired. But many people fear "outsiders," as well as change.

I believe many of the people at the meeting see the "city" and all its problems encroaching on the county, and they are scared.

Numerous speakers said that they were not opposed to change, as long as it was slow and incremental. They do not seem ready to trust anyone, especially Dr. Berger, to implement programs or utilize his expertise to rectify problems.

Regrettably, change sometimes cannot be implemented in slow, incremental steps, if problems that have been festering for years are to be resolved. This reality is hard to swallow for those who are affected by the change.

With funding problems at all levels of public education, everyone is feeling the pinch. It is our children, our community and the entire society that will suffer in the future.

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