Thursday, August 21, 2008

Protecting the Squirrely Way of Life in Loonfoot Falls

Once, squirrels in Loonfoot Falls were able to run from Mosquito Flats to the fairgrounds, from the Belvedere-Union-Grand Hotel to Oak Grove Park, without setting foot on the ground, or in a tree.

Those days are gone.

Like so many towns, Loonfoot Falls has been burying its utilities. Overhead telephone and power lines have, over the years, been replaced by underground cables. Loonfoot Falls' Utilities Department has pointed out the advantages: greater reliability and safety.

Safety for the human population, perhaps: but not for the squirrels. These furry citizens are now forced, in many neighborhoods, to cross streets by leaping from one tree's outermost branches to another, or risk life and pelt in a mad dash across the pavement.

Concerned citizens have banded together to form the Society for the Preservation of Overhead Squirrel Highways. Members of SPOSH are gathering petitions, in an effort to prevent Loonfoot Falls' remaining power and telephone poles, and the lines connecting them, from going the way of the steam railroad.

Anastasia Anderson, founder and president of SPOSH, hopes to have enough signatures to put a 'save the poles' referendum on the local election ballots, later this year.

"We aren't against underground cables: We just want to make sure that our squirrely neighbors have a safe way to cross the street," Anderson explained. "Under the SPOSH proposal, as overhead lines are replaced with underground cable, squirrel-friendly lines will be strung between poles, providing safe transit over the streets, and preserving a tradition of inter-species cooperation."

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