Town Starts Over on Bear Management

Last week the Mammoth Town Council Officially decided to part ways with former wildlife officer Steve Searles. With no more plans to hire Searles back as an employee, the new plan would have Mammoth residents create a non-profit bear management group, like the Tahoe Bear League.

Controversy and unanswered questions surrounding why the Town wont hire Searles back remain, but Town Officials have scheduled a community meeting on April 9, to get this volunteer bear program started.

When we spoke to Searles on Tuesday, he said that no one from the Town had asked him about the scheduled bear management meeting. Hes not against the idea of a volunteer group, though. Searles does say that the people in town already make up the biggest volunteer bear group in North America. People don’t have to sign up, they don’t have to pay dues, they just get the work done, he explained.

Who will crawl into the basement bear dens to flush the animals out remains a question. No one from the Town has called Searles to ask him to participate, though last week personnel director Michael Grossblatt told us that Searles would absolutely be welcome.

Town officials say that this yet to be defined non-profit bear group could be similar to the Tahoe Bear League. When we spoke to Ann Bryant, the Tahoe bear lady, she explained that the Bear League consults with Steve Searles every time they have a problem they cant solve. While the organization in Tahoe needs to have many volunteers because Tahoe is a large region, Bryant said that Searles could handle the calls in Mammoth by himself.

Town Officials say that Mammoth Police Sgt. Karen Smart will head up this Wildlife Management community workshop scheduled for April 9th at Fire Station 1 from 4-5:30. For more information or to sign up call Sgt. Smart at 934-2011

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