He was always quotable | SteamboatToday.com

He was always quotable

At issue

Jim Haskins’ admirable 37 years with Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Our view

Retired wildlife manager tells it like it is when it comes to bears, moose and lions.

The news this month that Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Manager Jim Haskins has retired after 37 years with the agency — which looks after Colorado’s wildlife, large and small — was a blow to this newspaper’s newsroom.

At issue

Jim Haskins’ admirable 37 years with Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Where are we going to find someone as quotable as Haskins to talk about wildlife officers’ interactions with belligerent moose, bears that can seemingly pick the locks of Subarus and favor denning under hot tubs or mountain lions that set up housekeeping in abandoned barns in the midst of luxury subdivisions?

We can’t speak for the black bears who tangled with Haskins, but we’re certain Steamboat Pilot and Today’s newsroom will sorely miss him. And if the news staff is going to miss Haskins, then, by extension, the newspaper’s readers will miss him, as well.

Haskins is the kind of guy who tells it like it is, and he isn’t hesitant to make a blunt (though always tasteful) comment that lets his constituents at other government entities know exactly what he thinks about the community bear problem. We have always valued his frankness.

Case in point: In early August 2012, Haskins told one of our reporters that his staff had trapped and relocated three bears already that summer and observed that, you can trap a bear and move it, only to have it cause problems elsewhere.

“That bear was comfortable around people,” said Haskins, who went on to explain it had been put down because it snapped at an officer and “bit the tip of his finger.”

Reporters can’t always count on sources uttering the kind of juicy quotes that make a news story compelling and real. Most often, Haskins came through.

Haskins grew up in upstate New York with access to a family farm in Massachusetts. After earning degrees in wildlife and range ecology from Colorado State University, he became an expert on bear behavior while working on Colorado’s first bear study. But his work in the Yampa Valley involved all creatures, large and small. And his contributions to enhancing grouse habitat and protecting elk wintering grounds were significant.

Hayden residents are fortunate that Haskins, who serves as town mayor, has already announced his intention to seek another term. But we expect he’ll miss a few town board meetings this autumn.

One of the limiting aspects of being a CPW officer is that you can never leave on vacation September through November, due to the intensity of big game hunting season here. We hope Haskins and his wife, Dana, can break away this autumn and return to upstate New York to experience fall colors in the hardwood forests of his youth.

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