22 Sep 2008, 6:54pm
Federal forest policy
by admin

Wilderness Designation Lays Waste to the Land

by Julie Kay Smithson, property rights researcher, recreationist, and lover of truth [here]This email in its entirety, including headers, is to be accepted and construed at my official public comments regarding the “Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests Potential Wilderness Area Evaluations.”

My recommendation is that the USDA Forest Service add zero (0) acres of “recommended wilderness areas” in its latest Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS. I also direct this federal agency and its partners to cease adding any acres to the current obscene number of acres that have been “declared” to be “wilderness” — many of which are not “wilderness.” There is no need for such “designations” or their accompanying restrictions. They are fraught with language deception.

One of the thickly baited hooks in the “Roadless” scheme was/is “Inventoried Roadless Areas.” From that illegitimate, language deception loaded plan came “Recommended Wilderness Areas.” My considerable research and study on these and other related matters helps me conclude that such things were hatched in order to “create wilderness” where there is none and to forbid people in such areas, where people have been since time immemorial.

Thus, the Forest Service and other various and sundry agencies of the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, etc., are using a false premise in order to lay waste to many things related to these areas.

I describe these actions as laying waste because they grind timber harvest and other related, responsible resource providing uses to a halt and incrementally eliminate access by those with grazing, mineral, gas, timber, and recreational interests. All these things are important to the economic health of America. None of these uses may be falsely served up at the altar of “protection” or “management” when both “protection” and “management” is actually lock-up and Control.

According to one of federal government’s most conspicuous “public-private partners,” “The Nature Conservancy,” each and every place, both in America and worldwide, is special, in and of itself, and is “in need of protection.”

Since each of these places is special in its own right, according to “The Nature Conservancy” and its methodology of determining “last great places,” each is a separate and distinct recreational experience and as such, cannot be lumped with any other location/locale. Every place I choose to recreate — be it by over-the-snow vehicle, off-road vehicle, horseback, on foot (by foot, snowshoe or snow ski), or by dogsled — is separate and distinct, and has its own facets of the “Recreational Opportunity Spectrum.” Some facets are visual; others delight in other ways (smell, air quality, water quality, the mix of forest types, open meadows, rock formations, and many more: too many to count!).

I find it highly offensive that any agency, organization or individual would seek to stop access by over-the-snow and/or other motorized vehicle to these places. Not everyone is as physically fit or mobile as “wilderness restrictions” demand. Would the Forest Service deny a Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan or Desert Storm or World War II veteran the joy and experience of visiting these places simply by the Closed sign that a “wilderness” designation would mean to them? Irreparable harm is done to every American that needs motorized recreation and access for their health and well-being. Congress just passed the No Child Left Inside Act — but any further addition of “wilderness designation” means more places that are Closed to all but the most fit Americans and others that visit America from around the world (family and friends of Americans).

Think about this and its implications when these patriot veterans cast their votes on Election Day! No, Forest Service employees aren’t elected, but elected officials do have a say in who staffs your agency and others.

None of these places warrants, needs or belongs in a “wilderness” category of any type. These places are home to many roads, from old logging roads to “wildlife roads” to “pioneer roads,” but each is a road, just the same, so none are “wilderness” areas.

To reiterate: My recommendation is that the USDA Forest Service add zero (0) acres of “recommended wilderness areas” in its latest Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS.

I didn’t just ride into town last week on a turnip wagon. The word “protection” is false, as is “management.” What is sought is the Control of what is tantamount to everywhere. No conquering hordes of Romans, Huns or Vikings ever lusted after Control of the World like government and its allies. The use of unconstitutional (and according to Marbury v. Madison, null and void) legislation, which is repugnant to the Constitution, is being employed to decimate property rights and resource providing in America. “Wilderness designation” is one of several ways in which Control of property — resources, water, access — is being wrested from those who have responsibly utilized that property for many years. It appears that unadulterated greed is driving this runaway train of “wilderness designation,” a runaway train that must be stopped or derailed ASAP.

From timber growing and harvest to subsistence and other hunting; from commercial and recreational fishing to winter recreation, both motorized over-the-snow vehicle access and other motorized access at other times of the year; from usage of “endangered,” “threatened,” “candidate,” “at-risk,” and other terms associated with the “Endangered Species Act,” to other concocted “threats” to places whose only threat is government interference; this “Potential Wilderness Area” “evaluation” smacks of false premise, from A to Z.

In closing: My recommendation is that the USDA Forest Service add zero (0) acres of “recommended wilderness areas” in its latest Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS.

Additional facts:

There are 663 wilderness areas in the United States covering almost 106 million acres. This is an area larger than the state of California, or about the size of Oregon and Washington put together.

Alaska has 48 wildernesses that contain a total of 57,425,569 acres of designated wilderness

California has 138 wildernesses that contain a total of 14,335,878 acres of designated wilderness

Colorado has 41 wildernesses that contain a total of 3,390,635 acres of designated wilderness

Idaho has 6 wildernesses that contain a total of 4,005,754 acres of designated wilderness

Montana has 15 wildernesses that contain a total of 3,443,038 acres of designated wilderness

Nevada has 68 wildernesses that contain a total of 3,450,986 acres of designated wilderness

Oregon has 40 wildernesses that contain a total of 2,273,614 acres of designated wilderness

Utah has 16 wildernesses that contain a total of 900,614 acres of designated wilderness

Washington has 30 wildernesses that contain a total of 4,317,099 acres of designated wilderness

Wyoming has 15 wildernesses that contain a total of 3,111,232 acres of designated wilderness

I hope others will submit their comments to: r6_ewzplanrevision@fs.fed.us and be sure to put “Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests Potential Wilderness Area Evaluations” in the Subject Line. We can make a difference! We are making a difference, even if it seems small, some days. Each journey is comprised of many small steps!



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