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Our View: A city with a zoo is unique

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This newspaper has spoken many times in regards to how fortunate the City of Folsom is to have so many offerings that make it a unique place to live and visit. Among the many special places that help this city live up to its name of being distinct in nature is the simple fact that Folsom is fortunate enough to have its very own special place for animals, known as the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary.

As you read this week’s “Our View,” you may wonder how a zoo can make a community so special. There are likely many different answers to that question, but topping the list is the simple fact that the entire State of California is home to just a little more than two dozen public zoos in operation. Another special fact about the zoo right here in our city is that it is a sanctuary for animals that could not survive in the wild; they are rehabilitated and well cared for in a facility that educates its visitors day after day and does so with an outstanding force of volunteers.

The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary came about in 1963 when a little bear became. The University of California at Davis Veterinary Department had contacted Gordon Brong, Folsom Park Superintendent, seeking a safe home for the cub that had been orphaned and burned in a forest fire.

Brong had a number of deer and a coyote in an area around the parks’ office and visitors often would come to see them. He eventually convinced the city to provide space and local service clubs built a cage where “Smokey” joined the other animals to create what would be the Folsom Zoo.

Smokey became famous when the U.S. government contended only the “Smokey” known for forest fire prevention could use that name. The community rallied behind the Folsom Smokey and worldwide publicity brought even more support. Eventually the government relented and Smokey retained his name before he passed away in 1984.

Today, the Folsom Zoo continues to operate much like it started, with a community working together to operate it. The zoo not only operates with help of volunteers, it also operates on donations from the community. Admission prices go directly back into the operation, which is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.  

If you haven’t had the opportunity to pay a visit to our city’s special place that is home to numerous animals of all sizes, make it a point to do so. Until then, you can learn about the residents of the Folsom Zoo right here in the Folsom Telegraph as we profile a new animal each week in our “Who’s Who in the Folsom Zoo” feature that we have been publishing weekly throughout the last year in an effort to support this very special part of our community. – The Folsom Telegraph.