There’s a war on Christmas underway in downtown St. Paul, and it’s being waged by fat, impetuous squirrels.
In Lowertown’s Mears Park, the squirrels are overfed and often relentless. Some visitors, against city ordinances and all advice about not feeding wildlife, throw them junk food or encourage them to perform tricks as if they were pets.
I have watched people with food in their hand, and they try to get the squirrels to jump up and take the food.
They try and lead them around the park. One guy was trying to get one to jump on him. It’s a little disturbing.Lee Ann LaBore, a resident of the Airye Condos overlooking Mears Park said.
SQUIRRELS CHEWING HOLIDAY LIGHT WIRES
LaBore has special reason this year to resent the squirrels — or “tree rats,” as she calls them — and those who love them.
As the co-chair of the Friends of Mears Park, she’s worked closely with the vendor that strings holiday lights throughout the tree canopy. The $27,400 lighting display, which went up in late November, had to be reduced and reconfigured this year because the Mears Park squirrels tend to chew through the wires, which are coated with polylactic acid, an apparently tantalizing derivative of corn sugar.
After a disastrous 2020, the vendor declined to repeat the experience.
Our vendor reuses the lights, and they can’t afford to put those lights up only to have the squirrels destroy them again, I don’t blame them.
I get some Facebook stuff, and it’s pretty negative, and I understand, People look down from their condos or apartments and they want to see the twinkly lights. Well, we can’t have twinkly lights. It was probably this or nothing. It’s gorgeous when you walk through it, but it’s not as pretty from up above.”LaBore said.
CANOPY LIGHTS GONE
Gone are the strings of decorative canopy lights. Instead, along the park’s walking paths, a projector creates kaleidoscope-like moving images of large white snowflakes that circulate, come together and separate. The birch trees are lit with base lights that bathe them in green and blue.
It’s a kid-friendly winter wonderland at eye level, but there’s far less pizzazz from a bird’s-eye view.