Some 185 Tule Elk have been spotted at Grizzly Island Wildlife Area near Benecia.
SLOUGHS AND MARSHES: When one reads of a place called "Grizzly Island Wildlife Area" one might expect there to be, well, animals of an ursine, snouty nature rambling hither and thither. There are no grizzlies on Grizzly Island but there are Tule Elk, which are majestic and breathtaking and all of the things elk easily are. But of special not? Officials have recorded "the largest number" of Tule Elk ever to be seen around Grizzly Island -- some 185 in all. That's an impressive number, and especially when you consider that the slough- and marsh-filled land -- two of our favorite words ever, slough and marsh -- is not all that far from Benecia and where urban life begins. In other words? Nature, the kind of nature we see on television, with herds of grazing elk, can be be witnessed without making a seven-hour drive or plane ride into "the wilderness." The wilderness, it turns out, is fairly close at hand.
AND THE NUMBERS GROW... That number -- 185 elk -- is a big'n, but when you consider that springtime brings more calf action, that figure could soon grow. The wee calves have white spots, but you'll know them on account of the fact that they are of course smaller than the bulls and cows (two more of our favorite words, bulls and cows).
OTTER TIME: Also of note in the Suisun Marsh area? The impressive number of river otters, thought to be one of the largest in the U.S. (an official says this is hard to confirm, but the otters are plentiful). Spotted elk caves and river otters, just a pop over from the city? Grizzly Island, we don't even mind that you're bear-free, despite your name. We just want a slice of nature, fast.