Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Wilderness reinventory a cruel joke

"Wilderness" is defined by Congress to mean 5,000 acres of roadless land and … well, the rest doesn't matter. Although wilderness designation originally was intended for unique, pristine areas offering outstanding opportunities for solitude, it now merely means any 5,000-acre chunk of public land where roads can be ignored or red-lined. The quality of the land or the experience is irrelevant. It is strictly a numbers thing. The continuous theme of Western public lands is excess. The only thing that changes is the trophy-of-the-day (e.g., land, bison, grazing, timber, and, now, wilderness for the Green Barons). In the West, enough is never enough. Robert Abbey, who led a results-oriented 1996 wilderness reinventory for the Clinton administration, now leads the Obama reinventory. Make no mistake. The point isn't to analyze — that already has been done. The point is to bag trophies. Discussion and compromise provide the rational path forward. Wilderness protection and economic activity both can be accommodated — as Congress has done in Clark County, Nev., and Washington County, Utah. But discussion and compromise take time, and healthy democratic process isn't nearly as sexy as a swashbuckling coup that instantly gives a victory to one side of a multi-party issue...more

Steve Urquhart is a State Senator in Utah. Looks like they grow them pretty fuerte there.

1 comment:

wBenton said...

We should all feel the United States doctrine of "the management of endemic populations". After all, there isn't any demand to maintain any promises made. FLPMA . . . 1976, remember? As long as the vacuum created by the ownership of federal lands exists (and the money sources for their control is available) the land grab will continue. Private property rights have foundational implications on freedom. The United States has underwritten the continental shift of both the timber business and the cattle business just as it has on the international shift of the steel and the textile industries. That wouldn't have happened with stronger states' rights.