Friday, August 27, 2010

Aw, Wilderness!

ONE day in early 1970, a cross-country skier got lost along the 46-mile Kekekabic Trail, which winds through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. Unable to make his way out, he died of exposure. In response, the Forest Service installed markers along the trail. But when, years later, it became time to replace them, the agency refused, claiming that the 1964 Wilderness Act banned signage in the nation’s wilderness areas. Despite the millions of people who have visited the country’s national parks, forests and wildernesses this summer, the Forest Service has become increasingly strict in its enforcement of the Wilderness Act. The result may be more pristine lands, but the agency’s zealous enforcement has also heightened safety risks and limited access to America’s wilderness areas. Over the last 45 years Congress has designated as wilderness 40 percent of the land in our national parks and one-third of the land in our national forests — more than 170,000 square miles, an area nearly as large as California, Massachusetts and New Jersey combined — as wilderness. In March 2009, President Obama signed a law protecting 3,125 more square miles, the largest expansion in more than a generation. Over the decades an obvious contradiction has emerged between preservation and access. As the Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management — each of which claims jurisdiction over different wilderness areas — adopted stricter interpretations of the act, they forbade signs, baby strollers, certain climbing tools and carts that hunters use to carry game. As a result, the agencies have made these supposedly open recreational areas inaccessible and even dangerous, putting themselves in opposition to healthy and environmentally sound human-powered activities...more

Finally someone in the MSM is writing factually about the restrictions in Wilderness Areas. I never dreamed it would be the New York Times.


Anonymous said...

Aw, Too Bad!

We need wild places, and we need to resist the nannies among us who wish to protect us every waking minute. Sure, make cars safer for us. Make all the things that are manufactured for us to buy safer for us. But when it comes to wilderness, it needs to be left wild, and if that means dangerous, then that's the choice I make when I choose to enjoy wilderness.

”The ultimate result of shielding men from the results of folly is to fill the world with fools.“ Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

Anonymous said...

“Since when is "public safety" the root password to the Constitution?”
C. D. Tavares