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Patriotic dilemma in one CT town: 4th of July fireworks or protect the American Bald Eagle?


COLUMBIA, Conn. (WTNH) — Columbia, Connecticut prides itself on being an all-American town. Perhaps that’s why there’s a great American debate there — celebrate America’s birthday with fireworks or ban fireworks to protect the great symbol of America?

You see, some American Bald Eagles have chosen Columbia as a place to recreate and repopulate the species. That’s a source of pride there.

“To also have an adult pair of eagles that are successfully hatching eaglets is incredible,” said Mark Walter, Columbia Town Administrator.

However, Walter says that also means banning fireworks at and near Lake Columbia, a place where the community traditionally likes to gather for fireworks. Walter says officials with DEEP told him fireworks would pose a serious danger to the little baby eaglet who’s just now trying to learn how to spread his wings in a nest near the lake.

“Fireworks could scare it where it could fall out of the nest and possibly not survive,” he said. “We’re trying to increase survivability of the eaglet.”

This would make the third straight year of no 4th of July fireworks — all because of activity in the eagles nest. While some in town are disappointed, most of the folks who were at the lake today enjoying the nice weather with their kids told News 8, preserving the American Bald Eagle is a grand reason to forego fireworks.

“It’s unfortunate for the town to miss out on the opportunity to see the fireworks around the lake,” said Jessica Lebrun, a Columbia resident. “It’s something our community always looks forward to. But, I also see it as why disrupt nature if there are animals here trying to procreate and have babies that are going through problems with extinction. We should respect that.”

“We all have to make sacrifices in order to make things work,” said Columbia resident, Sean McNamara.

“There are plenty of other places in the area local to us where people can go enjoy fireworks,” said Cory Herrick, of Hebron.

Everyone agrees on this point — don’t think for a minute that Columbia, Connecticut is not a patriotic town.

“Oh gosh no,” McNamara said. “I think to make a sacrifice of fireworks for the bald eagle is quite the opposite.”

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