Friday, March 04, 2011

Some are misusing the Wilderness Act

I've read and reread the Wilderness Act, and for the life of me, I can't see where it prevents two wilderness shelters from being replaced in Olympic National Park or a fire lookout in Glacier Peak Wilderness from being restored. Yet the shelters are rotting away and the Green Mountain Lookout may be torn down if a group of environmental nuts from Wilderness Watch prevail in their suit against the Forest Service. The shelters at Low Divide and Home Sweet Home, built long before the Wilderness Act, are old news. Destroyed by snows and age, they were rebuilt outside the wilderness area of the park according to historic plans by Olympic National Park workers and were scheduled to be flown, piece-by-piece, to their original locations. But a lawsuit claimed the helicopters that would tote the shelter parts would violate the Wilderness Act. Now the new shelters are rotting away somewhere and the matter is forgotten. Not so with the Green Mountain Lookout, which was restored partly with original pieces from the historic lookout, using hundreds of hours of volunteer work. The lookout on the west side of Glacier Peak Wilderness was built in the 1930s by Civilian Conservation Corps workers and was on the National Register of Historic Places. The severe winter of 2002 and flooding the following year ended restoration efforts until last year, when a state recreation grant helped the Forest Service and volunteers rebuild the lookout. That caught the attention of the Wilderness Watch, a Montana-based group that claims to be one of the great defenders of our wild places as defined by the Wilderness Act. What a crock. It's groups like Wilderness Watch that give environmentalists a bad name...more

Better get used to it. Local wilderness groups sell their legislative proposals by saying "but you can do this and you can do that" in Wilderness areas. After the law is enacted Wilderness Watch comes along and says"oh no you can't."

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