Fraudulent Wilderness, Part 3

Wilderness designation is wrongly thought to provide the “highest form” of environmental protection. In fact, wilderness designation destroys land by eliminating stewardship, stewardship that has been ongoing for 13,500 years.

Wilderness designation has wrongly applied, in denial of the actual history of our landscapes, and catastrophe has ensued. The elimination of human stewardship and wholesale destruction go hand in hand.

We have given some examples in Parts 1 and 2 of this essay. Here are some more:

The 19,100 acre Boulder Creek Wilderness was incinerated last summer by the 20,200 acre Rattle Fire. That was the second fire to decimate the Boulder Creek watershed since designation in 1984. The first was the 16,500 acre Spring Fire in 1996. Those fires burned in accumulated fuels, and crowned, plumed, and killed most of the old-growth trees.

One special area within the Boulder Creek Wilderness is Pine Bench, an old-growth ponderosa pine flat in the midst of a predominantly Douglas-fir forest. The pine are artifacts of thousands of years of human occupation. Frequent, seasonal, anthropogenic fires maintained the pine in an area of traditional use for food production. The wilderness designation of “untrammeled” was applied even though the evidence was clear that this area had experienced thousands of years of human use and the imprint of man was strong and well-documented.

The 100,000 acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness has been roasted by severe fires twice since designation in 1964. In 1987 the Silver Fire burned 110,000 acres of which 53,600 acres were in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. In 2002 the Biscuit Fire ignited in the Kalmiopsis, burned the entire wilderness area, escaped the boundaries, and burned an additional 400,000 acres beyond. Over $150 million was spent to stop the Biscuit Fire from burning down towns 20 miles away from the Kalmiopsis.

The 286,700 acre Three Sisters Wilderness was designated by the original 1964 Wilderness Act. Since then it has been burned by the Cache Mountain Fire (2002), Eyerly Complex Fire (2002), B and B Complex Fire (2003), Link Fire (2003), Black Crater Fire (2006), Puzzle Fire (2006), Lake George Fire (2006), and the GW Fire (2007), to name a few. The old-growth ponderosa pine forests that were destroyed in the Three Sisters Wilderness were there because that area had hosted extensive human activity and stewardship for millennia. Santiam Pass has been the main trafficked way in the Central Cascades for the last 6,000 years, at least. Obsidian Cliffs have been the principal obsidian quarry for much of Oregon for all that time.

The Ventana Wilderness, 240,026 acres, established in 1978. This year 244,000 acres burned in the Indians/Basin Complex Fires, the second largest fire in California history and most expensive at $120 million. Most of that fire was in the Ventana Wilderness. Contrary to political perceptions, the Ventana has been home to human beings for more than 10,000 years.

Last year the Zaca Fire Fire burned 240,000 acres and cost $117 million to fight. Significant portions of the San Rafael Wilderness (197,380 acres), Dick Smith Wilderness (64,700 acres) and Matilija Wilderness (29,600 acres) were burned. Again, the areas were designated wilderness in defiance of the established historical fact that they had been occupied by humans since the dawn of the Holocene.

The Jarbidge Wilderness in eastern Nevada was established in 1964 and expanded to 113,000 acres in 1989. This year it was decimated by the 54,500 acre East Slide Rock Ridge WFU Fire that spread well beyond the wilderness boundaries. It is well-known that the area was home to the Shoshone and other northern Uto-Aztecan language groups for millennia.

Other designated wilderness areas subject to catastrophic fires since designation include Alpine Lakes, Bandelier, Black Canyon, Bob Marshall, Bull of the Woods, Frank Church-River of No Return, Golden Trout, Gospel Hump, Hells Canyon, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth, Manzano Mountain, Marble Mountains, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, Okefenokee, Rogue Umpqua Divide, Saddle Mountain, Selway-Bitterroot, Siskiyou, South Sierra, Tatoosh, Yolla-Bolly, and many others.

Every single one of these wilderness areas has documented and extensive evidence of human occupation for millennia. Yet that well-known human use has been denied repeatedly.

For instance, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, in concert with the University of Montana, both ostensibly scientific organizations, make this claim about the Siskiyou Wilderness [here]:

Many authorities on the subject suspect Bigfoot could be hiding out in the untrammeled regions.

That is crap, pure crap, and racist jibber-jabber to boot. Our “educational” institutions have sunk to pure bullshit in their efforts to deny real history, real science, and real traditions. So desperate are these politically motivated (and taxpayer funded) organizations to inflict destructive wilderness designation that they gladly heave all their scientific integrity into the burn barrel to do it.

This is not a yuck-yuck moment. Real destruction and enormous costs has ensued from fraudulent wilderness designation. The wilderness promoters are in utter denial, and their denial is a-scientific and racist without a doubt.

To be continued…

13 Oct 2008, 9:22am
by Bob Z.


This is an excellent and informative series. Most Americans have bought so strongly into the concept of “Wilderness” that they don’t understand the underlying racist assumptions with which these areas were created, or the certain predictability with which they routinely burst into destructive wildfire.

Wilderness is racist for two reasons: 1) because of the “untrammeled” view of past cultures that white society has foisted on Native Americans and current taxpayers, as you are describing; and 2) because of the method in which they are freely used by healthy, privileged white Americans to escape their crowded “melting pot” urban neighborhoods.

Wilderness areas form safe, cheap enclaves for healthy, privileged white adults seeking to escape the responsibilities posed by dependent infants, young children, and frail seniors, and from their fear of black, Mexican,and Asian “gang-bangers.” These areas are too dangerous and isolated for the needs of young and old, and they are avoided by minorities for a host of economic, social, and cultural reasons. Check official USFS Wilderness user demographics on these claims, for those who may doubt their validity.

And despite the fact that the elderly and minorities do not receive any direct benefit from these racial enclaves, they are still taxed and pay for their creation and maintenance, along with everyone else — and at the exact same rates as the water-bottle buying users who occupy them (but do not remain).

And finally, because fuels are not permitted by law to be managed in these ancestral homelands of Native Americans, they predictably burn at catastrophic scales in periodic wildfires.

Before these areas became “Wilderness” they were home to people who understood how to use prescribed fire, when, where, and how to harvest seasonal crops, and the need to manage these amenities (today’s wildfire “fuels”) in order to best enjoy them and the beauty in which they grew.

Cattle ranchers, sheepherders, loggers, hunters, campers, berrypickers, and fishermen followed in their wake, enjoying and taking advantage of the bounty they had been given or took. And now we are systematically burning up and destroying these areas for the advantage of a few white kids wanting “solitude” and a few major corporations wanting to eliminate competition for forest and grassland products.

Thanks for your efforts to try and alert American taxpayers to this sham — however well it has been promoted and accepted. It is not “protection” at all, it is truly the rape and destruction of America’s resources, history, culture, and common sense.

Please keep up the good work on this important and neglected issue.

13 Oct 2008, 11:08am
by Mike

I find it appalling that our scientific institutions believe in Bigfoot but deny the existence of Native Americans. That has to be reason enough to de-fund and shut down the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and the University of Montana. Why pay for racist quackery? Do taxpayers fund the KKK? No, and we shouldn’t fund similar groups on the Crazy Fringe Left.

13 Oct 2008, 11:56am
by Bob Z.


This may be an important political point here.

In Germany it is illegal to be a Holocaust “denier”. Why not America?

Wilderness is the ultimate symbol of United States denial of American Indian genocide. Universities that teach this form of racist “history” should be held accountable. Agencies that practice such denial should be held accountable.

These supposedly “untrammeled” lands were the parks, homes, fields, lawns, hunting grounds, fisheries, berry patches, and orchards of hundreds of generations of thousands of families.

These lands are now valued only for “solitude” and “ecological processes” and are removed from meaningful and traditional resource management actions, and are therefore given almost no real value. Very much the same as the people who put them here for us.

We are not stewards; we are fakes. The land should be given back to the descendants of the people who used to care for it, or it should be purposefully tended. Anything less is both unethical and racist.

Allowing the land and resources to simply burn, as we do now, would have been unthinkable only 50 years ago. What happened?

14 Oct 2008, 7:35am
by bear bait

Time to keep score. Time to put on the fashion show for the emperor. The transparency of public light on insanity is a cleansing agent of note. WFU is the subprime mortgage public forest policy. The heritage forest bank is about to go bust, because not fighting fire is a bust, and last week’s trees half a millennium old are now killed dead by intentional fire. They are no longer living, carbon sequestering, habitat for unique Franklinesque lichens, or Maserite slugs and fungi. In 500 years, with luck, there might be another 500 year old tree to take the place of the one destroyed by wannabe forestry as practiced by our USFS today.

You want a green lawn, you mow it, and trim the shrubs. It is in our dna. You don’t set the house on fire to clear the vegetation from around your home. You carefully prepare and then burn. As people have been doing for 13,500 years. This is not rocket science. It is the most carefully learned activity of man since the Ice Age… and we get it wrong, now? The people who DID NOT have the wheel got the job done and we can’t… amazing!!! Been to the moon and now we are incapable of tending the wild. Incapable of understanding how we got here from back then. And in town, in the big city, people who trust the genius of those who run our public oversight, could care less if only because their Congress and our regulatory keepers have lost their fortune for them. Well, the very same dolts are deep into losing your heritage forests for you, too!!!!



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