Letter to the editor: Mc Dougal is reasonable
You could see this coming a mile away, the situation between the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center and John McDougall. An issue that started long before John McDougall built his house and moved in. An issue I have seen develop since I have lived on the block for the past 11 years. Let me stipulate up front the Tahoe wildlife center provides a worthwhile and valuable service for the community and from what I have heard in the community, no one wants to see their operation go away. Let me also stipulate that John McDougall is a very reasonable person.
For the past many years the wildlife center was not much of an issue; it mainly served to take care of small wounded or damage animals, and still does. What changed, as we all know, was the addition of the bear pens, which may not have been fully understood by everyone in the neighborhood and has created the situation we face today. We could spend all day looking at how this issue got to where it is; I don’t know how helpful it would be. At the end of the day, it will have to be sorted out with the county, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and others.
Recently these pages have attacked Mr. McDougall in a way which is unfair and misses the bigger point. Mr. McDougall did not issue the original permit that put the wildlife center in a zoned neighborhood; Mr. McDougall did not miss the opportunity to purchase buffer lots in the neighborhood that may have avoided this issue; Mr. McDougall did not build a bear pen without proper permits and public hearings; and to my knowledge, Mr. McDougall did not bring this issue to the press. Blaming John McDougall and making him the bad guy is an easy way out. As I stated above, you could see this situation coming a mile away. If one wanted to, the finger of blame could truly be pointed in many directions. But meting out blame is not the issue.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune, in criticizing Mr. McDougall, has missed the bigger and more important point: How do we turn the current situation into a positive for everyone involved. I would suggest looking at creating a wildlife center that should be located in a place that is more appropriate – Sunset Ranch, perhaps. (Wouldn’t it be ironic to replace those stables with a facility that cared for and helped animals.) A wildlife center that can have educational and informational facilities for locals and visitors alike, a wildlife center where kids can learn about the importance of animals and habitat and protecting the environment. A wildlife center that can reach more people and generate far broader financial support and do more good. A wildlife center that can build on the good works of the volunteers who have put in many hours and go to the next level. The current situation is one that is truly unfortunate, but it doesn’t have to end that way.
South Lake Tahoe
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