There were six coyotes in the group, rolling and rumbling. They were biting each other's haunches, chasing tails and playing like the adolescents they were. Since I was a young man, I've always been led to believe that coyotes were mean, cruel, vicious predators. "If you see one, shoot it!" were the common instructions delivered for dealing with coyotes.
However, I'd never before had the opportunity to see them at play. It's an important lesson to learn. Just because we're told that something is bad, it always helps to see it with your own eyes before making the decision.
This concept was brought to light by coyotes in the back swamp and in a dusty old volume discovered in the Saranac Lake Free Library.
The Adirondack Room, located in the basement of the library, holds row upon row of bound copies of the old Forest and Stream periodicals. The publication, published from the 1870's through the 1930's dealt with such sporting matters as hunting and angling, canoeing and sailing.
Thumbing through old copies of the journal, I found some interesting items.
One such revelation came from the editor addressing the need to protect the Adirondacks, in a theme not far removed from current days. The article, in the 1898 periodical reads: "The State can hardly move too rapidly in the acquisition and protection of this magnificent forest. The wood and pulp industry continues it's devastating work ....The spruce and the pine are being rapidly cutoff, yet these are important factors, not only as related to the water supply, but as affecting the condition of this great natural sanitarium."
"Though much has been said and written on this subject, the importance of the Adirondacks from this point of view is but little realized. For the welfare of her own urban population the Empire State cannot afford to allow any further depredation of the Adirondacks .... No such natural conditions exist east of the Rocky Mountain region. Their preservation and availability are important not only to every citizen of the state, but to all of our eastern population. Suitably owned and cared for, the Adirondacks would be a source of large indirect revenue to the State, as well as of physical benefit and moral inspiration to increasingly thousands."