6 Jul 2010, 10:59am
by admin

Work Break

I will be away from the Command Console for a few days. Got to make some dough. Back soon.

In the meantime, please contemplate the following:

Our “wildlands” are not truly wild. They have been homelands to people who have resided there for the past 10,000 years or so, and are owned, managed, and the responsibility of the landowner, the Federal government.

Nobody in this country should be subjected to catastrophic uncontrolled fires caused by negligence on the part of a neighbor, especially if that neighbor is a public land management agency.

Some of the farms, ranches, homes, and businesses subjected to the runaway Federal fires have been there for 150 years or more. They are not “new” impositions into a wild landscape.

Numerous towns are at certain risk of catastrophic fire. Without fuels management of surrounding public lands, they will burn fiercely someday, despite bans on new homes and/or the existing homeowners raking their pine needles.

The elimination of inhabitants and of fire suppression will not put out a single fire. Those oft proffered “solutions” solve nothing. In fact, those eliminations will make fires bigger. Modern megafires have traveled as much as 30 miles or more to burn private land far, far away from designated Wilderness.

Fire is not a special benefit that Mother Nature graces us with, but rather a very destructive force that needs to be managed for the health and safety of the populace and the landscape.

We need not live jam-packed into urban bomb shelters, surrounded by wolves and holocausts. There is a better way.

It’s called stewardship.

6 Jul 2010, 3:38pm
by YPmule

Thanks Mike, a lot to ponder for sure.

Hope to see you back soon.

10 Jul 2010, 4:58pm
by Bob Frankly

The idea that today’s industrial logging (sorry, “restoration”) is somehow comparable to the burning, maintenance etc.. that native people’s engaged in is beyond absurd.

I guess it’s a worth a laugh - a relatively small number of native peoples passed through some of our current wilderness areas so these areas are not “natural” or “true” wilderness. Let’s puncgh roads in, set up an infrastructure and fire up the chainsaws. Actually, let’s pave it all!

10 Jul 2010, 8:58pm
by Mike

Bob old chum,

Your notion that restoration forestry is identical to industrial tree farming is sadly uneducated. So too is your grasp of landscape history.

Do us all a favor please and educate yourself. Read the works in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: History of Western Landscapes. Read the references cited in those works. Expand your understanding. It could be a turning point for you, one that will change your life.

12 Jul 2010, 8:51am
by bear bait

As an unimpassioned observer of the efficiency (oxymoron time) and efficacy of the Federal Govt. in protecting any part of the environment, I recognize the source of the attacks on those who propose that we really do proactive forest restoration, or at the least, mimic the activities to some degree of the indigenous residents before European conquest. Our agencies are being taken over by ignorant automatons indoctrinated, not educated, in our public schools in the recent past, who deny vociferously historical fact because it does not fit the inculcated PC fantasies.

Five hundred years ago there were an estimated 90 million souls playing an active role in landscape management across the Western Hemisphere, who unfortunately did not have the genetic predisposition to survive the onslaught of Old World diseases. By the time most of us and our relatives got here, the societies that had been here for more than 10,000 years held but a shadow of their former numbers, and the landscapes they had managed were no longer maintained.

We can observe today only vestiges of what was. The prior state of vegetation, its diversity, extent, and breadth is partially reflected in the pioneer species and in some areas, climax species now occupying the landscape. The former glory of the landscape so appreciated by early exploration can now be found only with difficulty, by way of a process not unlike art restoration where the most recent layers are wiped away by the restorer until the original is all that is left.

Restoring paintings or landscapes with unrestrained, balls to the wall, unfought wildfire has roughly the same effect, total incineration. It’s insane, but that insanity appeals to the neo-Maoist great unwashed protest legacy of the Vietnam war era.

Just like art restoration, there is a high degree of skill and expertise required to do forest restoration. If the ignorant relatives fight about who pays for it, and what can and cannot be done by the restorers, nothing happens and the art continues to deteriorate. Similarly with our forests, which certainly are deteriorating before our eyes.

Great thinkers like Dr. Zybach and other landscape historians have the ability to examine landscapes and do that restoration in their minds and to transfer their findings to maps. The process of identifying vegetation, and its age structure, in the sparse populations and scattered areas that remain but are fast disappearing offer clues to what was. People see thrifty, maturing doug fir forests and think the landscape has always been thus, but in fact those areas are often entirely different from what they were, more likely long occupied tree-free prairies tended and maintained by the First People, torchbearers who were tragically wiped out by disease or relocation to concentration camps.

I really don’t care HOW the fuels are reduced. All I care about is that they be removed before severe fires incinerate the countryside. During the Vietnam era, the official US Govt. program was to burn villages to save them… which is exactly the USFS policy today. Our forests are being burned to “save” them, with effects similar to scorched earth warfare.

If you can’t see that, you are too damned young and stupid to be commenting here, or sadly uninformed as to the history of your country in the last five decades. Maoist puppet inane slogan shouting is not what’s needed right now.

We are NOT on a path to recovery, nor will we be as long as the enviro jingo litigants rule the day, day after day, with their strangle holding actions that make incineration odds rise with every heat wave, every peak summer lightning event. Not treating fuel-laden forests is exactly like the Feds refusing to allow oil skimmers work until they have had a Coast Guard inspection for life jackets, proper oil spill remediation instructions posted, and proper documentation of whether the hull was laid in the US or not under the Jones Act. The gears of the bureaucracy are jammed with monkey wrenches, litigious impediments that prevent any restoration from taking place.

And Congress has an addiction to power, an obsessive desire to get itself re-elected, which means nobody in office takes any responsibility much less blame for anything. It is time to replace them all. Clean the slate (or for all you newbies, erase the hard drive.)



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