To the editor: The animals that have come out from hiding and are roaming more freely in a Yosemite National Park closed to people because of the COVID-19 pandemic are simply reclaiming what was theirs in the first place — before John Muir and Ansel Adams ventured into the area, before East Coast companies began bickering over who should run the concessions in Yosemite and how to remake the park in their own image, much like what happened to Knott’s Berry Farm and Pacific Southwest Airlines and Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
The quiet must be deafening, with the dumpsters and parking lots empty and vending machines idle. There are no burgers being flipped, no meals or drinks being sold, nothing. Marvelous. Maybe if this lasts long enough, the animals that have grown to rely on humans for their food will relearn how to forage and hunt for themselves again.
Frankly, this pandemic is the deep breath of peace and quiet that nature in Yosemite needs so badly, but I shudder to think what next summer will bring.
Lincoln Gable Riley, Battle Mountain, Nev.
To the editor: One of the biggest lessons learned in this pandemic is that mankind is the most damaging of all the invasive species on this planet.
From the wildlife returning to their historic Sierra Nevada habitat, to the massive decreases in smog seen in Asian cities, to the impressive decreases in vehicle-related deaths in the United States, there seems to be no end to the positive impacts on the environment as a result of removing people from it.
It is time to view population control as major tool in combating global warming and pollution, and in the recovery of endangered species. As Thomas Malthus once warned, nature will heal itself from human infection through war, famine or pestilence.
Looks like we all just got a big dose of a natural remedy.
Mike Post, Winnetka
To the editor: Phrases like “social distancing,” “flattening the curve” and “the new normal” have absolutely no meaning whatsoever to the animals who call Yosemite National Park their home.
They have, however, probably noticed that their world has opened up for them due to the park being closed to all tourists. With their innate sense, they’re aware that they can roam beyond where they typically are able to do so. And, due to the expanded open spaces, the bear population has quadrupled.
It’s thrilling to see that these critters having virtually free rein to roam the land — at least for a while.
Bill Spitalnick, Newport Beach
To the editor: For those of us who love nature and Yosemite Valley, your report on bears and other large mammals returning to areas of Yosemite typically packed by tourists may have been the most hopeful and yet most cruel article in the paper.
I’m thrilled that Yosemite has an opportunity to recover, and deeply dismayed that I can’t be there to see it.
David Higgins, Los Angeles
To the editor: It’s so common for people to look down on our 19th century ancestors, but if they had the opportunity to change places with us — freeways, overcrowding, life in front of a computer screen — more than a few would decline.
Douglas Thompson, Hermosa Beach