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Getting Closer to Reality
Written by Scott Silver   
Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Today's post is unusual. It was something I shared earlier in the day with a group of peers who are themselves expert in the field of National Park management. It was a response to a post on the NationalParksTraveler website and it assumes a high level of familiarity with park management and related issues. It was my call to experts to step away from the the trendy, hot, news items now appearing on the topics of declining park visitation, videophillia, Nature Deficit Disorder and to rationally ask the question -- "What the hell is going on?"

For those who do not read past this introduction, please understand that the stories you have been reading about National Parks in the media are largely fabricated spin. To get to the truth, you need to get past the spin. we must,  as Thoreau said;

Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe...till we come to the hard bottom of rocks in place, which we can call reality.

Continue reading if you'd like to try and get closer to reality.

Scott

   Things are seldom as they seem;
   skim milk masquerades as cream.
             - W.S. Gilbert
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 February 2008 )
 
Recreation info from the other side
Written by Scott Silver   
Monday, 11 February 2008

American Recreation Coalition member groups keep their supporters updated as I as do Wild Wilderness' supporters. One of the ARC-slanted resources I monitor is the monthly newsletter of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

Pasted below are three short items from the "Government Affairs" section of their February edition. The first is about the National Park Centennial Initiative, the second about the Baucus Fee Repeal bill and the third is about ARC's efforts to shape the future of recreation at Army Corps rec-sites.... which, I'd just remind folks, provide the lion's share of ALL OUTDOOR RECREATION visits in this country.

In these three items you may notice that the common thread is private-sector recreation profits. When it comes to public lands recreation policy, private sector recreation profits is the main driver.

Scott

Last Updated ( Monday, 11 February 2008 )
 
USA Going Out of Business Sale
Written by Scott Silver   
Saturday, 09 February 2008

Fee-Demo was, very possibly, the first modern-day program which authorized a federal agency to sell something (in this case recreational access) and to KEEP the proceeds from that sale. After Fee-Demo, this trend became increasingly commonplace. and with each new application we have moved closer to the long-predicted (and long sought after), fire-sale liquidation of our publicly owned assets.

Pasted below is the most recent proposal as reported in yesterday's WashingtonPost. President Bush, has asked for a "real property disposal pilot" which, according to the Post,  "would move unneeded properties directly to sale and provide an incentive for agencies -- they would keep 20 percent of the net proceeds, with 80 percent going into the U.S. Treasury."

Please understand that the is NOTHING particularly new or unusual about this. The USFS piloted almost precisely this program in 2005 with an effort to dispose of "unneeded"  USFS-managed public properties.  Wild Wilderness played a significant role in drawing national media attention to what was going on. We placed the agency's Working Capital Fund Conveyance Plan online for the public and the media to examine. It was at about the same time that we similarly raised the red flag about the USFS program known as 'Recreation Site Facility Master Planning' --- another program that is part of the trend involving to dispose of so-called unneeded, unwanted or unprofitable, public properties. 

Here's a quote from the LA Times article published on  May 31, 2005.

[Tom Udall of New Mexico, was more skeptical. "I think it creates an incentive that could have some very adverse consequences," he said. "If you have agencies which are starved for maintenance funds, and you create the incentive to sell assets to get maintenance funds they might very well be carrying out transactions that are not the best."]

THAT, my friends, is precisely what we said about Fee-Demo when we broke that particular story in 1997.

I almost hate to ask this, but I will and would appreciate hearing from you.

Do you care enough to become actively engaged in resisting this trend?

Scott 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 09 February 2008 )
 
39 New Recreation Fees, 1000s more to come
Written by Scott Silver   
Friday, 08 February 2008

The Umatilla National Forest, located in the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington and northeast Oregon, has proposed charging recreation fees at new 39 sites as a follow-up action to their Recreation Site Facility Master Planning analysis. This is merely a "proposed action" --- in much the same was as the Umatilla RS-FMP was only an "analysis". Let's be straight, what is "proposed" is a foregone conclusion.

Pasted below are excerpts of today's announcement in the Federal Register. What I'd like to draw your attention to is the Forest Service's claimed 'justification' for charging new access fees at 17 trailheads.

When the old, entirely unrestricted,  fee-demonstration program became the new RAT (Recreation Access Tax) in late 2004, Congress thought it was raising the threshold for charging fees. Congress believed that it was stopping the FS from charging access fees simply because they could. Congress' defined the minimum level of development at a recreation site that could possibly warrant the charging of fees and prohibited the charging of fees where this standard was not met. The intent was to prevent the FS for charging for simple access or imposing a fee upon those who merely wished to enjoy a walk in the woods.

Unfortunately Congress set the bar low and gave the FS too many loopholes through which they could squeeze. The result is what we are now seeing.

Today, next week and the months and years to come UNLESS the RAT is repealed, the FS will be add 39 fees sites here, 25 there and thousands more scattered everywhere.  The FS will claim, as they have below,  that these new sites merit being fee-sites BECAUSE the are just like other fee-sites. They will justify the amount of the fee by saying that other recently created fee-sites charge that much. They will rationalize the imposition of additional trailhead fees on the basis of having added, or being prepared to add,  a cheap sign-board, a picnic table and a trashcan. The trail itself, which is the very reason and perhaps the ONLY reason for using a trailhead, will remain unmaintained or, at best, maintained by volunteers. 

Although this will be the future unless action is taken by the public, it need not be the future.  Legislation has been introduced that will repeal the RAT (S.2438). To learn more, click here.

Scott 

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 February 2008 )
 
Luring Kids to Nature
Written by Scott Silver   
Wednesday, 06 February 2008
Yesterday's post to the Wild Wilderness network, in which I quoted from Huxley's Brave New World, drew rave reviews, including this one:
 
   You outdid yourself here. This is such a wonderful,
   graphic illumination of the present calamity!


Let me be MORE graphic, because the issue of Luring Kids to Nature will likely be the biggest thing to impact the management of Outdoor Recreation anyone has seen in a very long time. I fear that far too few people have yet to understand the threat and that none are mobilized against it.
 
The wreckreation/tourism industry CONTROLS the Luring Kids to Nature issue. The wreckreation/tourism industry also CONTROLS the thinking of the their "partners" -- the land management agencies. The wreckreation/tourism industry has lined up the support of a few big-name conservation groups (such as the National Wildlife Federation) to help them push their agenda. AND ... the wreckreation/tourism industry is simultaneously pushing the related message saying that people have stopped going to the National Parks and other public lands because raw nature is no fun. The combination of these two messages has explosive potential.
 
Appended are the first few slides of a PowerPoint presentation that will, I hope, help you to better understand the agenda and the threat. In an effort to Lure Kids to Nature,  nature itself and the very nature of outdoor recreation MUST be reconfigured. It MUST be commercialized, privatized, and whenever possible, motorized. It must be transformed as was done in Brave New World. HERE is another quote from that classic.  I hope this helps you to better understand the agenda, and the threat. 

The Director and his students stood for a short time watching a game of Centrifugal Bubble-puppy. Twenty children were grouped in a circle round a chrome-steel tower. A ball thrown up so as to land on the platform at the top of the tower rolled down into the interior, fell on a rapidly revolving disk, was hurled through one or other of the numerous apertures pierced in the cylindrical casing, and had to be caught.

'Strange.' mused the Director, as they turned away, 'strange to think that even in Our Ford's day most game were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting. Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It's madness. Nowadays the Controllers won't approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games.' He interrupted himself.  

                  -- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World 1932
To learn more, click here. To learn the background, click here.
Scott
 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 February 2008 )
 
Unlocking the Recreation Vault
Written by Scott Silver   
Tuesday, 05 February 2008
Pasted below is the key to a treasure trove provided by the American Recreation Coalition and accessible to anyone interested in learning more about the Brave New World being planned for outdoor recreation. The amount of material continued within the links they have provided  is overwhelming in both quantity and detail.  It confirms in exquisite, or perhaps excruciating, detail the prediction made by Aldous Huxley in 1932 of what was to become of Outdoor Recreation. It confirms much of what I, myself, have been saying for the past decade. 
 
Here is Huxley's prediction. It is a flawless and precise statement of the conspiracy being advanced by the recreation industry and their federal land management partners. If you wish to learn more, you now have the key.
 
Patiently the D.H.C. [Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning] explained. If the children were made to scream at the sight of a rose, that was on grounds of high economic policy. Not so very long ago (a century or thereabouts), Gammas, Deltas, even Epsilons, had been conditioned to like flowers -- flowers in particular and nature in general. The idea was to make them want to be going out into the country at every available opportunity, and so compel them to consume transportation.
 
"And didn't they consume transport?' asked the student.
 
'Quite a lot," the D.H.C. replied. 'But nothing else.'
 
Primroses and landscapes, he pointed out, have one grave defect: they are gratuitous. A love of nature keeps no factories busy. Is was decided to abolish the love of nature, at any rate amongst the lower classes to abolish the love of nature, but not the tendency to consume transport. For of course it was essential that they should keep on going to the country, even thought they hated it. The problem was to find an economically sounder reason for consuming transport than a mere affection for primroses and landscapes. It was duly found.
 
'We condition the masses to hate the country,' concluded the Director. 'But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports. At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail the use of elaborate apparatus. So that they consume manufactured articles as well as transport. Hence those electric shocks.'
 
'I see,'said the student, and was silent, lost in admiration.
 
                                 - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World 1932
Scott

                "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound
                truthful and murder respectable, and to give an
                appearance of solidity to pure wind.
" - George Orwell

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 February 2008 )
 
How nature became something for sale
Written by Scott Silver   
Tuesday, 05 February 2008

The appended article, titled "How public wildlife became something for sale" speaks narrowly of the commodification of wildlife and the transformation of traditional ethical hunting into outfitted, pay-to-bag, trophy-taking. It speaks of the diminution of wildlife that has resulted from this transformation and is an interesting article even when read in a vacuum.

The article becomes more valuable when you realize that the concepts presented are applicable to more than the taking of wildlife. It becomes more meaningful when you appreciate that in pointing an accusing finger at Texas and its policies, which are said to be the worst in the nation, Jim Posewitz is pointing to the State and policies which, for the past 7 years, have served as the model for privatization of virtually everything, including everything associated with the "great outdoors".  It has served as the chief model for the transformation of outdoor recreation on our public lands into the marketized, pay-to-play fee-asco that exists today.

The harm which has already resulted from these policies, is incalculable. 

Undoing that harm will not occur unless an active public makes it happen.

Scott

"In short, the very scarcity of wild places, reacting with the mores of advertising and promotion, tends to defeat any deliberate effort to prevent their growing still more scarce."
                 -Aldo Leopold
 
Transformation of recreation into wreckreation
Written by Scott Silver   
Monday, 04 February 2008

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has, in recent years, repositioned itself both ideologically and politically. Formerly a non-motorized recreation group with wheels, today IMBA is, practically speaking, a motorized wreckreation group without motors.

IMBA has taken a radical turn and as part of this transition, it is aligning itself ever more closely with the American Recreation Coalition and other anti-environmental / motorized / access interest groups.  Pasted below a recent example of the company IMBA now keeps.

I'd just add that IMBA is not the only non-motorized group in this position. Look at the list and you'll see two others, both of which are card-carrying members of the ARC.   Keep a sharp lookout and you will notice others. This transformation of recreation groups into wreckreation groups, and indeed the transformation of recreation into wreckreation,  is a disconcerting trend.

Scott 

Last Updated ( Monday, 04 February 2008 )
 
Senator Ken Salazar Co-sponsors Fee Repeal Bill
Written by Guest: Kitty Benzar   
Friday, 01 February 2008

From: WESTERN SLOPE NO-FEE COALITION

The Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act has gained another co-sponsor!

Colorado Senator Ken Salazar has joined Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both of Montana, and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo in backing S.2438, which will repeal the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, known to many as the Recreation Access Tax, or RAT.

Senator Salazar serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and on both the National Parks and Public Lands & Forests Subcommittees, so he is in an excellent position to help get S.2438 passed.

Thanks to all you Coloradans who contacted Senator Salazar, not only about this bill, but about fees in general over several years. Please take a moment to thank him for his decision and assure him of your support. At http://salazar.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm you can send a brief email of thanks and see a list of his office phone numbers around the state and in Washington.

All of you in other states, please take encouragement from this and keep calling and writing YOUR Senators! You can locate their contact information at www.senate.gov. Just a brief message is all it takes: Please co-sponsor S.2438, the Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act.

Kitty Benzar,
President, Western Slope No-Fee Coalition
 

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 February 2008 )
 
Forest Service Bake Sale?
Written by Scott Silver   
Friday, 01 February 2008

The appended article is NOT about the US Forest Service holding a real bake sale. The Forest Service is instead, and once again, selling public lands and keeping the cash.

The trend which has the USFS selling lands and keeping the cash did not begin with the passage of legislation in 2002, as this article reports. In my hometown of Bend, Oregon the USFS and special interest groups --with the full and active support of our elected officials-- broke the ground that led directly to the current state of affairs.

We Oregonians created, supported and ultimately passed legislation which authorized the Forest Service to sell 8 parcels of public lands in our State and to use the proceeds to construct a nice new administrative facility, soon to be built in my town.

Appended is the appeal Wild Wilderness issued on April 28, 2000. In it, we reached out to the community with the hope of nipping this trend in the bud. We didn't think the USFS should be selling the farm to pay the heating bills. We failed to convince others that this was a bad idea and today you are seeing the consequences.

Scott

 
Breaking New Ground - Jaws of Life Fee
Written by Scott Silver   
Friday, 01 February 2008

The appended article, which is about a proposed new $US1000 extraction fee for having yourself pried from within a mangled and crushed vehicle,  is described as breaking new ground.

Two questions:

  • 1) What becomes of someone who refuses to pay the Jaws of Life Fee?

  • 2) What will sprout up from this newly broken ground --i.e.,  what's next?

It was not so long ago that the American public could barely conceive of being charged a fee to walk in the woods, another fee to sit by a stream and watch the water flow, another fee to watch the deer browse, and yet another fee to look upon the setting sun.  New ground was broken with the Recreation Fee Demonstration program. All of those fees have now become part of our American culture and our American way of life. In the past decade, much has sprouted from that broken ground with the Jaws of Life Fee being an obvious extension.



As for the ANSWER to the first of my questions posed above, consider this. In order to make the newly proposed fee work, those who can not pay or who refuse to pay must suffer. It is only through the use of enforced suffering can fees such as these become accepted, or at least, tolerated.

Scott

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 February 2008 )
 
Frisky Frolicking, Strage Bedfellows and Popcorn Playgrounds
Written by Scott Silver   
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Yesterday I shared, and commented upon, a News Release distributed by the National Park Service but written by the American Recreation Coalition. It announced an ARC event that begins tomorrow and at which high-level federal officials will be participating. At the very top of the News Release appeared the words "MEDIA ADVISORY FROM GET OUTDOORS USA!"

Go to the Get Outdoors USA website and you discover that this "organization," founded by ARC President Derrick Crandall, has two, and only two,  "members" -- those being the American Recreation Coalition and the Coleman Company. The Coleman Company is a "sustaining member of the American Recreation Coalition"  and has long been represented on ARC's Board of Directors.

Read the News Release, and you see references to Derrick Crandall, to someone from the Coleman Company and to Rex Maughan -- listed as Chairman of Forever Resorts.

Maughan is so much more than just a rich, powerful, anti-environmental and pro-motorized wreckreation NPS concessionaire. He long served as Treasurer  upon the ARC's Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the concessionaire lobby which recently renamed itself "Park Partners". Explore the Park Partners website.  These people are indeed PARTNERS of the NPS. They are the managing partners while those persons employed by the NPS or the federal government are merely junior partners.

Yesterday, Kurt Repanshek at the NationalParksTraveler blog also wrote about this News Release. Kurt focused upon Crandall and the ARC connection. He titled his piece; "Strange Bedfellows" -- and he was correct.

Today I'd like to focus upon Rex Maughan. As important as Crandall is when it comes to shaping the look, feel and operation of America's National Parks, Maughan is more so. Crandall is, as the news release so proudly states, "The Outdoor Guru". Maughan is much more. Crandall is a hired hand. Maughan owns the ranch: many ranches, including the Southfork Ranch from the TV show "Dallas" -- pictured here.

In 1992, conservationist Michael Frome  in his book "Regreening The National Parks"  took Maughan and his NPS partners to task. Frome warned us about the frisky frolicking of these Strange Bedfellows.

Appended are Frome's words. Did anyone listen? Is anyone now listening?

Scott 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 January 2008 )
 
News from the NPS, Department of the American Recreation Coalition
Written by Scott Silver   
Tuesday, 29 January 2008


 

 

For more than two decades Secretaries, Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture  have bowed to the man known as "The Outdoor Guru".

This morning, The Guru spoke. He spoke against efforts in California to better control emissions from dirtbikes, snowmobiles and jetskis. He spoke in support of the motorized recreation and petroleum industries -- something The Guru has done for more than two decades. 

Two days from now, according to the appended NPS-Media Advisory, The Guru will be joined by Assistant Secretary Lyle Laverty and Undersecretary Mark Rey and together they will announce an important new initiative to Get Kids Outdoors.

Green or Greenwash? You decide.

Scott

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 January 2008 )
 
Chinese Words of Wisdom on Entrance Fees
Written by Scott Silver   
Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Some will say that the appended Editorial from today's Chinese press is of no relevance to America's National Parks and other public lands. Some might ask, "Of what possible relevance is the announcement that Communist China has stopped charging entrance fees at public museums under the jurisdiction of cultural authorizes?

The answer is PLENTY!

Try to read this short Editorial not as if it were about Chinese museums, but as if it were about American parks, forests and other open spaces where free access is being phased out and where market-pricing is being phased in.

Is there some part of this Editorial with which you disagree?  I could find none.

Scott

 
Erosion of the ( ) as a Public Sphere
Written by Scott Silver   
Monday, 28 January 2008
I write almost daily about the privatization of nature, the commercialization of outdoor recreation and preserving the ideals of wildness and freedom. But those are merely the focus areas of the non-profit organization for which I serve as Executive Director.
 
For the past decade I have warned of the ongoing "Corporate Takeover of Nature," while never forgetting that the loss of nature is not occurring in a vacuum. It is but one of countless pieces of flotsam being carried on the same, outgoing, tide.
 
Pasted below are a few short excerpts from an article published in the current edition of MR-zine and titled "The Erosion of the University as a Public Sphere."  
 
With relatively simple edits, the piece could be rewritten and retitlted "The Erosion of the Great Outdoors as a Public Sphere." With simple edits, the piece could be rewritten to accurately describe an erosive process affecting everything and everyone.
 
You needn't care about nature, outdoor recreation or anything related to wilderness for the appended article to be relevant to you, your life and the future which awaits your children.  You needn't care about education, for this article to impact your future and threaten your country. You needed live in the USA: the author of this piece writes from Canada. What she describes has become a universal truth.
 
You can, if you so desire, replace the word "University" with almost any word of your choosing. Do so and what you get will accurately describe a transformational process the author referred to as "From Public to Private Good."
 
If you prefer, "The Ownership Society."
 
Scott
Last Updated ( Monday, 28 January 2008 )
 
Class and the UnHealthy-Kids TV tax
Written by Scott Silver   
Saturday, 26 January 2008

In the appended article and elsewhere we are told that kids are becoming obese while spending far too many hours immobilized before TV's and play-stations.  We are told, and it is true, that it would be highly beneficial if kids spent more time enjoying the natural environment and participating in unstructured outdoor play. I fully support those goals and yet I find myself questioning the mechanisms being brought to bear upon this situation.

Forget for the moment that the now-famous Richard Louv (Brand) "Nature Deficiency Disorder" is largely the over-hyped PR-creation of the recreation industry. Forget that the industry's purpose for promulgating this campaign (starting more than a decade before Louv was elevated to celebrity status) has always been to get more kids, teens, adults, retires and recreation consumers into the woods on off-road vehicles while pumping money into the tourism economy. Forget that vital piece of information and merely ask yourself whether it is appropriate to impose regressive and/or sin taxes that disproportionately impact persons of limited financial means?

In this instance, is it right to penalize a poor minority family or the single mother whose kids are getting fat while glued in front of the TV?  Will taxing their TV or video game resolve the social and economic issues that created this situation?  Will taking money from that family's budget solve their children's weight problems, improve the quality of their diet or allow poor children to have recreational opportunities even vaguely similar to those of wealthy families -- families easily capable of purchasing the biggest televisions on the market while spending but a fraction of the tax cuts heaped upon them in recent years -- families who can afford personal trainers, memberships at the gym and even the new "America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass" created by and for the identical recreation industry groups currently hyping the "More Kids in the Woods" mantra.

Poorer people and working people did not receive similar windfalls. Poorer families can not afford the higher fees charged to access outdoor recreation areas, engage in school sports, or to swim and play at the local municipal park.  Higher fees which exclude the poor are oftentimes, by design, meant to exclude the poor. EXCLUSION is their purpose 

I don't know what it is with the conservation community that they have become increasingly quick to rally behind regressive taxes and user fees. Socking it to the poor with TV-taxes is but the tip of an enormous iceberg of society-altering proposals based upon pricing and economic coercion. Pricing the poor out of the market has become a preferred tool of neoliberals and the liberals alike! Conservationists, in particular, have become extremely supportive of using targeted taxes and user fees to address a wide range of environmental problems. In this regard, they have embraced a New Environmentalism far removed from, and oftentimes counter to, the ideals of environmental and social justice.

Scott 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 January 2008 )
 
In Search of Future Customers -- Or the Goose is Dead
Written by Scott Silver   
Friday, 25 January 2008

The main-headline given to the appended Salt Lake Tribune article reads: "Nurturing love for outdoors" while the sub-headline reads: "Outdoor industry sees teens as business future." The bottom line of this article and of the entire industry-created "More Kids in the Woods" campaign, can be read in the final, uncharacteristically revealing, quote.

Read this article and decide whether the main or the contrasting sub-headline accurately explains the increasingly frantic efforts of an industry which sees the good times in its rear-view mirror and a vast emptiness of its own making,  through the windshield.

I would like to add that it is the recreation industry that is most directly responsible for transforming traditional, sustainable nature-based,  re-creation into unsustainable adrenaline-based wreckreation. I make almost no distinction between the efforts of the non-motorized industry described in this article and those of the motorized recreation industry which have long been the focus of own work as an environmental activist. The differences separating them are less than the ties binding them.

Scott

PS... Following the article is a passage quoted from "Protecting the Golden Goose", an appeal made in 1987 by conservationist Michael Frome to the Travel / Tourism Industry.
 

Last Updated ( Friday, 25 January 2008 )
 
Modern Hunting at the Extreme
Written by Scott Silver   
Thursday, 24 January 2008
 
Outdoor Editor and writer, Wes Smalling, has produced an important piece about the ways in which modern hunting  it is being hyped by interests that either know nothing, or care nothing, or have forgotten everything they might have known, about traditional outdoor ethics.
 
Smalling's article appears below, sandwiched between several short quotes from Aldo Leopold and one longer quote from Joseph L. Sax.
 
I'd like to remind folks that what Smalling writes about hunting can, should and needs to be applied to a wider range of outdoor-related issues.
 
Scott
 
Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 January 2008 )
 
Jeopardizing their true role
Written by Scott Silver   
Thursday, 24 January 2008

Appended is an article published today in the LA Times about collaboration and compromise.

 It begins:

["Collaboration" is all the rage. In collaboration, diverse stakeholders (as they invariably tag themselves) -- environmentalists, developers, off-roaders, timber companies, county officials -- hash out an agreement on how to manage their local public lands and then submit it to Congress for approval.]

As a further introduction,  I offer a few words from David Brower sent, in 1989, to Doug Scott,  then Conservation Director of the Sierra Club.

From - David Brower 1989

[My thesis is that compromise is often necessary but that it ought not originate with the Sierra Club. We are to hold fast to what we believe is right, fight for it, and find allies and adduce all possible arguments for our cause. If we cannot find enough vigor in us or them to win, then let someone else produce the compromise. We thereupon work hard to coax it our way. We become a nucleus around which the strongest force can build and function....

   The Club is so eager to appear reasonable that it goes soft, undercuts the strong grassroots efforts of chapters, groups, and other organizations -- as if the new professionalization and prioritization requires rampant tenderization. I go along with Ray Dasmann, when he speaks of those who want to appear reasonable to the Fortune 500 and allies, and who therefore go to lunches, or to other lengths, to demonstrate their credibility, access, insiderness, and reasonable strategy. Ray says it is a union between Bambi and Godzilla.
]


Scott

"(Many) national environmental organizations, I fear, have grown away from the grassroots to mirror the foxes they had been chasing. They seem to me to have turned tame, corporate and compromising, into raging moderates replacing activism with pragmatic politics, and a willingness to settle for paper victories."     --Michael Frome,  2000
Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 January 2008 )
 
Forest Service Implements "Proof of Concept" Model
Written by Scott Silver   
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Late in 2007 three forests, the Colville in Washington State, the Allegheny in Pennsylvania and the Shasta-Trinity in California,  began implementation of a new Proof of Concept business model. It should be looked upon as being another "demonstration program" -- perhaps similar to the "Recreation Fee Demonstration Program."
 
Pasted below is a short statement from the Forest Service announcing this program for the Colville NF and providing links to relevant documentation. Below that is an article from the Colville newspaper.
 
I've reviewed these materials and concluded that the "Proof of Concept" concept is worthy of careful monitoring by the conservation community.
 
There is, I suppose, the possibility of true benefits accruing from this experimental new business model.  Then again, there is the possibility that it is an attempt to revisit the kind of local control characteristic of the Reagan-era Sagebrush Rebellion. That's what it looks like to me.
 
Have a look at this ... and see what you think of it.
 
Scott
 
 
   "A major benefit of this pilot project is that Colville
   National Forest will have a stable budget, with many
   exciting grant and partnership opportunities. Proof of
   Concept is considered an innovative approach to public
   lands management and it was with some pride that Rick
   Brazell told us that Colville was expressly chosen because
   of its strong partnership with community and a high level
   of community involvement."

 

 
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