TRAGIC AWAKENING (CONT.)
Jack Olsen's Grizzly Bear Murder Case (May 12 et seq.) has shaken me.
My own meetings with the Glacier Park wildlife seem so vastly inconsequential in comparison with the horrendous events that took place on the August night in 1967. However, with what I have seen, the animals of Glacier Park, from the largest, most unpredictable grizzly down to the tiny golden-mantled squirrel, are suffering from the coming of the easy life as associated with the encroachment of the American traveler with his garbage, litter and patronizing handouts. Once a wild animal has been fed through human hands, or has gotten an easy meal at an unkempt campsite, his self-sufficient spirit is broken. He then becomes the pesky, delinquent, welfare-seeking mammal that unfortunately abounds in our national parks today.
Glacier National Park, with its lofty splendor, should well be considered a sacred natural cathedral. Its parishioners, the wildlife, must be treated with respect; perhaps to the point of sanctification. Too many of us approach the animals of a national park with much the same attitude that we might approach the captives at the local zoo. However, at Glacier National Park we, too, are in the cage. The wild animal's one thought is to survive, via the easiest way possible. As reasoning human beings, it is our job to organize and facilitate a respectable survival for these natural citizens onto whose continent and into whose feeding grounds we are the intruders.
Certainly we must exterminate the grizzly. And while we're at it, let's destroy all dogs with teeth and all cats with claws. For who knows when one of these potentially dangerous beasts may turn on us?
Eventually, there should be only Man. Because we get along so well together.
PETER R. WEED
New York City
Jack Olsen's The Grizzly Bear Murder Case is the most magnificent example of journalism that I have ever had the privilege to read. By being uncompromising with the truth and economical with his words, Mr. Olsen has created a piece that stands at the pinnacle of his craft.
GORDON H. TAYLOR
New Haven, Conn.
Never again will we camp in a bear-infested national park. I have learned to hate bears. I do not intend to have my family exposed to Russian roulette. I have camped in Glacier National Park twice, 1941 and 1961, and will never return. My experience that last trip convinced me that grizzly bears and people are natural enemies. And with black bears behaving as they do, who needs enemies?
Perhaps Mr. Olsen will get a kick out of learning that a nature lover came to develop a deep hatred for our lovable national park bears—those detestable garbage-eating slobs.
I would also like to express my warm appreciation for the magnificent work done by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for conservation. You have accomplished more in two years than my beloved Sierra Club has in 77 years.
I have had a difficult time deciding whether or not to be disgusted at the way Mr. Olsen describes the killing of the two girls or to be frightened at the thought of just how dangerous a grizzly can be. If the purpose of the story was to warn people just how deadly the grizzly can be, or if it was to disgust people with his descriptions of the killings, whatever his original purpose was, Mr. Olsen has achieved both goals.