Bear Problems 2

Dear Editor,

This letter is a response to Mr. Terrance Lambert’s March 19th letter which The Three Forks Gazette chose to publish in it’s otherwise fine pages.

This being the United States of America, certainly Mr. Lambert is entitled to his opinion. However, I can say without hyperbole that his cowardice is a cancer rotting our community from the inside.

I say what this town needs is a little more of the spirit of our pioneer forefathers.

Move the Three Forks Honey Festival? That festival has been held at the mouth of Bear Cave for the past 50 years, and it will continue as long as I am alive. And as long as my remaining children are alive. The only thing that can stop us is giving up. Maybe if a few more people had the strong will of former Mayor Lee “No Bear” Hillsdale (the man for which No Bear Hill was named), we would make it through the opening ceremony this year.

Hillsdale shared the Pioneer Spirit. He knew that when founders like my great, great, grandfather came here in 1880 they wouldn’t be stopped by little things like mercury contamination, rampant dysentery, and the fact that Indians already lived there. And certainly not hundreds of aggressive bears.

When Terrance Lambert’s great grandfather came here–six months ago (from back east, folks…), he lacked this same Pioneer Spirit. The First Families of Three Forks moved here for religious freedom and relaxed gambling laws. Old-Man-Lambert was simply passing through town on his way to California. Yet both shared the same fate: savagely mauled to death by bears. The difference is in how they lived their lives. One cowardly visiting his son during a train layover and the other as a glorious, brief, and extremely violent celebration of life.

The fact is, it’s appeasement policies from pushovers like Terrance Lambert that have given the bears their current foothold. How dare he suggest that the hard working people of Three Forks alter their lifestyles to stave off wave after wave of bear attacks. If anything, we should be more bold, to show the bears that no amount of aggression can deter us. If not, then three of my five daughters have already died in vain.

Let us ask ourselves; has Terrance Lambert ever lost a child to the bears? No, he hasn’t. He’s only lost one to Mercury poisoning. Pretty hard to relate to, isn’t it?

My daughter Nancy, who recently became our oldest, has the Pioneer Spirit. Her birthday is coming up next week. When I think of some bear-sympathizer stooge denying her the childhood innocence of busting a piñata upwind of a family of grizzlies, it makes my blood boil. No bear is going to tell my family how to act. If a bear wants my little girl’s piñata, they’ll have to rip it from her cold dead hands, as they so often have.

That’s the Pioneer Spirit.

This weekend, I will be first in line for the blindfolded three-legged race and log crawl in Bear Hollow that Mr. Lambert is so afraid to run…and I will do it with the pride in our community that he so sorely lacks. I will proudly flaunt that same pride each and every day until the bears ferociously rip my limbs from my still-screaming body. The question is: will you be with me?

After all, if we let these setbacks dampen our spirits, then haven’t the bears have already won?

-Jim Arster