Montana Outdoors

November 15, 2007

The infamous magic words

As reported in this story, when 86 lawmakers across the U.S. asked the Park Service to limit motorized winter travel in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks to trips aboard guided snowcoaches as a means of protecting the Parks, guess who the 10 politicians were who got together to oppose that plan, saying “the need to preserve the parks needs to be balanced against public access“? (Essentially the same argument was used against the Wilderness Bill, HR 1975.)

The 10 are:

Denny Rehberg, (R) Representative, Montana
Jon Tester, (D) Senator, Montana
Max Baucus, (D) Senator, Montana
Bill Sali, (R) Representative, Idaho
Michael K. Simpson, (R) Representative, Idaho
Larry Craig, (R) Senator, Idaho
Mike Crapo, (R) Senator, Idaho
Barbara Cubin, (R) Representative, Wyoming
John Barrasso, (R) Senator, Wyoming
Michael Enzi, (R) Senator, Wyoming

It’s becoming obvious that these western politicians feel that the magic words “public access” provide an almost universal excuse for permitting all possible exploitation of the outdoors. Who would dare to be so cynical as to say that maintaining their constituents’ ability to make the maximum amount money from the National Parks in their area, despite whatever damage it might incur, has anything to do with it? I guess it must not be all that important to be concerned about the environment. (Don‘t worry about the world of Nature: what the heck… it‘s not as if we can’t make more!)

They remind me of a group of prostitutes who, when there is a crackdown on their activities, counter it by advertising “everyday low prices”!

The real argument here should be about how and what it takes to adequately protect the environment of the parks. When, and only when that has been determined and accomplished does it become appropriate to address the amount and types of access that are reasonable and acceptable. Until then to simply talk about “balance” between the two is nothing more than misleading rhetoric used by those to whose advantage it is to continue a maximum level of exploitation.

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October 19, 2007

The balance

There is a balance which exists between mankind’s existence on and use of this Earth, and the ability of the natural world to support such existence and use. We don’t yet know what all of the rules are, or the boundaries and limitations. And yet…

A proposed Congressional Act, The “Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act” (HR 1975), which was designed to preserve much of the last remaining wild and natural country in the Northwest was discussed in the House of Representatives yesterday. The principal arguments against the Act were made by some politicians from a few western states who, under the guise of calling it a territorial dispute, want to retain the right to exploit National Forest System and public lands for the benefit of themselves and their own supporters, entirely disregarding the much larger issue.

We in the west are governed, in large part, by fools.

An A.P. story about yesterday’s discussion in the House may be found HERE

Information about HR 1975 may be found HERE

Information about the current roadless areas which are the areas addressed by the bill can be found HERE. This site will display maps of the roadless areas as road maps, topo maps or satellite maps.

A free printed copy of HR 1975 can be obtained from Congress by calling and requesting it at this phone number: 202-226-5210.

Since Wilderness designation is a big issue, there is an excellent website about wilderness which is a partnership project of the Wilderness Institute at The University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute which may be found HERE

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