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No Recreational Arms Race - Please
Written by Scott Silver   
Tuesday, 22 January 2008

The appended article about using motorized recreation as a local economic engine requires little introduction, other than to say that what is described for Washington and Idaho is occurring in all parts of the country.

Motorized recreation is everywhere being touted for this purpose.  The worse the economy gets, the heavier it will be promoted. I hope that the response of my community will NOT be to boast and tout their preferred forms of recreation so as to engage the motorized industry in what would amount to a recreational arms race.

Better responses can be made.

Scott

 

 "If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going
    to do is make the rubble bounce." -
Winston Churchill
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 January 2008 )
 
Valles Caldera Worse than a Failure
Written by Scott Silver   
Monday, 21 January 2008

Pasted below is a comment posted upon this website by someone who, apparently, is closely tracking the Valles Caldera / Charter Forest issue.

The poster has, so I believe, used a pseudonym and can not be identified.

My original 2006 post, to which this comment was directed, had been  titled "Valles Caldera - A Failed Experiment and Lessons to be Learned."

The good news is the Bush/Libertarian "Charter Forest" model has been invalidated. The Valles Caldera experiment has clearly and demonstrably failed.  GOOD -- because an important lesson was learned.

The bad news is that it will likely be at least another 7 or 8 years before the general public  can begin to enjoy and appreciate these public lands --  lands purchased with your tax-dollars at a cost of over $100,000,000. Lands which have been, and will continue to be, managed as a playground/reserve for the wealthy and the few.

Then again, perhaps that too is part of the good news. Perhaps as more Americans come to understand just how badly they've been screwed, they will actively resist the next attempted screwing, or the one after that, or the one after that, or the one after that ...

Scott

 
A Most Inconvenient Truth
Written by Scott Silver   
Monday, 21 January 2008

"Snowmobile fees are tough, but right choice" was the headline given to the appended Op-Ed by a Maine newspaper. Twenty-five years ago, the recreation industry, acting in response to challenges they saw looming for the continued growth in motorized recreation equipment sales and associated tourism revenues, came to much the same conclusion. Twenty-five years ago, the motorized recreation and the travel-tourism industries, with the blessing and full cooperation of the Reagan Administration, undertook the serious transformation of soul-comforting, nature-based re-creation into adrenaline pumping, pay-to-play outdoor wreckreation.  For them, it wasn't a tough choice at all. It was a rational and strategic business decision and it was not something they attempted to hide. To the contrary, they worked diligently to sell the pay-to-play idea to outdoor enthusiasts. They are still doing so to this very day.

I wish I could share the appended Op-Ed with only my environmental friends. I wish snowmobilers, dirtbikers, ATVers and jetskiers never got to read this Op-Ed or my introduction.  This Op-Ed got it right right, that is, if privatization, commercialization and motorization of recreational opportunities in nature is your desired objective.

You might ask, "Why, then, are you sharing this?"  To which I'd respond, "Because it is the truth."

This is what pay-to-play is all about.
Is it right for you?
Scott
 "When people who are honestly mistaken learn the truth, they will either cease being mistaken, or cease being honest."
       (- source of quote unknown)
Last Updated ( Monday, 21 January 2008 )
 
Keep Silver Falls as State Park
Written by Scott Silver   
Sunday, 20 January 2008

Some enviros (and some who are quite the opposite, such as Rep. Fred Girod (R-Slayton)) like the idea of turning Oregon's Silver Falls State Park into a National Park. I don't.

A friend and fellow Oregonian who happens to be a NPS retiree, shared with me his opinion. He said:

"Trying to turn Silver Falls over to the feds is one of the three stupidest ideas Oregon ever came up with. 1. lower gas taxes and take the money away from state parks and OSP. 2. The Kick yourself in the ass tax rebate 3. trying to turn silver falls over. 4 would have been 1. with measure 37, but we shot that in the ass, only wounding it, but it's a start."

Pasted below is a letter to the editor by someone intimately familiar with this particular park. She begins:

"I think Rep. Girod is really barking up the wrong tree! If he had more facts regarding the park itself, he would not be trying to do this."

I hope those who would transfer Silver Falls, or would consider transferring other public lands, to the NPS will carefully read the LTE which appears below. The author doesn't hit all the bases, but she makes a good start.

Scott 

 
Watch Partners Outdoor Dummies Move Their Lips
Written by Scott Silver   
Friday, 18 January 2008

 

For nearly twenty years, the American Recreation Coalition has held two major events each year wherein they instruct federal land managers how to run America's public lands. Each year,  the ARC creates a new rhetorical frame to which the land managers adapt, sing and dance.

This year's theme is "More Kids in the Woods". It's not exactly new, but it is very effective. It is unusually effective because it appears to be so apple-pie.

In reality, the ARC's  Kids in the Woods frame dates to the time when the ARC and that great environmental villain, Senator Frank Murkowski,  conceived their "Recreation Super-Bill" --- a major legislative effort designed to transform the Great Outdoors into the great wreckreational playground. Murkowski's super-bill was stillborn, but it was unneeded. The land management agencies operating under the ARC's directive  have all but accomplished the wreckreation agenda without need of authorizing legislation.

The Partners Outdoors 2008 meeting ended yesterday. Beginning on Tuesday of this week, seventy five leaders of industry and seventy five high level land management agencies yucked it up at Utah's Snowbird Resort. Today those land mangers return to the important tasks of implementing the newest instructions handed down by ARC's President, Derrick Crandall. Come August, the public and private sectors will meet again for the ARC's "Great Outdoors Week." There will be many high level meetings in between.

For many years I have referred to Partners Outdoors by its more appropriate name "Collusion Outdoors." My reports are available on the Wild Wilderness website www.wildwilderness.org/docs/po.htm

Today the Forest Service placed upon its website a 6 minute video depicting Chief Kimball and the Head of Recreation, Jim Bedwell, giving their welcoming presentation. If you look closely, you can almost see the strings controlling their wooden limbs and passive mouths.

To learn more about this year's event, click here.

Scott 

 
Private Wilderness - Steps Toward the Goal
Written by Scott Silver   
Tuesday, 15 January 2008

These days we hear much from land management agencies in regard to their efforts to price recreation at its correct market value. Today, public land managers look to the prices charged by private recreation alternatives and set the price for public access accordingly.

After they have done so, private recreation provides, no longer being compelled to keep their prices low in order to remain competitive with public alternatives, are able to increase their prices.  And, as you would imagine, the spiral repeats. The winners are the sellers of access, both public and private. I needn't remind you who are the intended losers.

That said... there is a darker and much more important issue associated with these  efforts to marketize and, specifically to price, everything from Wilderness, to hunting fishing, camping, skiing, boating, and swimming, etc.

Appended are excerpts from a "Proceedings"  paper presented 25 years ago.   It begins with this question:

[Knowing that a wilderness exists may have value to some people, even if they never visit a wilderness area nor intend to. But why is this value dependent on public ownership of the wilderness?]

The paper's Conclusion begins with these words that pertain to the wholesale disposal / privatization of our publicly owned lands:

[Because of equity difficulties that would inhere in any disposal program and because of a healthy public skepticism about the potential for fraud and give-away, I am doubtful that disposition on a large scale is politically feasible at the present time.]

Contained between those two passages is the reason why today's land managers are obsessed with pricing recreation and with the enforced exclusion of those citizens who are unwilling or unable to pay.

Scott 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 January 2008 )
 
Groups Appeal Grand Canyon Ruling
Written by Guest; RIVERWIRE   
Friday, 11 January 2008

RRFW Riverwire
Groups Appeal GC Ruling on Park's 100th Birthday
January 11, 2008

 
Four conservation groups filed an appeal today to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of their on-going effort to protect and restore the Grand Canyon's natural sounds and wilderness values from motorized and commercial uses.

The groups, which include River Runners for Wilderness, Rock the Earth, Living Rivers and Wilderness Watch, claim the National Park Service's new management plan for the Colorado River corridor which authorizes motorboat use and helicopter passenger exchanges in the heart of the Grand Canyon is inconsistent with National Park Service obligations to preserve the area's wilderness character. 

The groups challenged the National Park Service's management plan in Federal District Court in 2006, claiming that the Park's own policies require managing the canyon as wilderness. They also claimed that the National Park Service illegally granted the majority of river access to commercial concessionaires thereby forcing members of the general public to wait years for a chance to obtain a permit to float the Colorado River.

In November 2007, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell upheld the National Park Service's new river management plan. Intervening in defense of the Park's plan were the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association and the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Trade Association.

The groups' appeal comes on the 100th anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt's declaring the Grand Canyon a National Monument on January 11, 1908.

A century ago, President Roosevelt proclaimed, "We have gotten past the stage, my fellow-citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery. Whatever it is, handle it so that your children's children will get the benefit of it."

<CONTINUES>

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 January 2008 )
 
Simply Orwellian
Written by Scott Silver   
Friday, 11 January 2008

Several weeks ago, America's land management agencies circulated a press release which has been  regurgitated numerous times by various media outlets. While the text of the printed articles has remained constant, headlines given to this propaganda piece have gyrated around a common theme.

What, may I ask, has become of our "America the Beautiful" and, for that matter, of our National Parks? What has become of our government, that they should speak to us in this way?
 
Today's rendition of this regurgitation evoked, in me, a visceral response. The article appears below.


Scott

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 January 2008 )
 
Up the Plum Creek
Written by Scott Silver   
Sunday, 30 December 2007
The appended article provides an unusual (and therefor interesting) example of the rapidly escalating efforts to "commercialize, motorize and privatize" our National Forests. In this example the timber company "Plum Creek" is working with the US Forest Service to achieve Plum Creek's stated goal which, in their words is "to capture the most value from every acre that we own.

The USFS could, of course, have chosen not to create a problem for the US taxpayers. They could have chosen to manage the public lands in the public's best interest.  But that is not how the USFS thinks. It is not how the USFS operates ... not when there are private interests involved seeking to capture dollars.
 
There are almost invariably private interests involved and they are always seeking to capture dollars.
 
Scott
Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 December 2007 )
 
Miracles do happen
Written by Guest - Ken Fischman   
Saturday, 29 December 2007
Miracles do happen. In an age of bitter political recrimination, a truly bipartisan bill has just been introduced in Congress by Sens. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican, and Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat.

The Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act (S. 2438) would roll back thousands of fees that U.S. citizens are now being charged for mere access to their public lands. This bill is the culmination of the dream of a dedicated group of volunteer activists.

In 1996, a rider was attached to an appropriations bill, giving federal lands agencies the right to temporarily charge fees for many activities that had been free, supported by general tax funds. Activities such as backcountry camping, hiking and merely passing through public lands were now being charged fees. In one California forest they even charged a fee to park near a cliff to see the sunset.

Over the years these fees multiplied like a cancer, all over the United States, even reaching into Idaho.

<continues>
Last Updated ( Saturday, 29 December 2007 )
 
Agencies Captured in Industry's Orbit
Written by Scott Silver   
Friday, 21 December 2007

If I knew nothing about Rex Maughan and Derrick Crandall, the appended article from the American Recreation Coalition's website might only have made me feel slightly nauseous. Knowing the actual harm these two individuals and their respective companies have inflicted upon the National Park System, the harm they continue to inflict, and are attempting to inflict, made it difficult to read this article without feeling a need to actually puke.

What is described below has a lot less to do with introducing children to nature than with industry's attempt to sell to kids it's particular brand of Disneyfied wreckreation -- along with the products, goods and services required to consume that brand.

The DOI, NPS, BLM, USFS are all co-sponsors of this upcoming ARC/Forever-Resorts event. To learn the nauseating details, download this brochure from their website. If that doesn't enough to evoke the gag response,  learn more about the players putting on this event. You can easiest do so by using the search tools provided on Wild Wilderness' website.

I'll just add that the land-management agencies have been sucked into the wreckreation industry's orbit. This isn't an example of "partnership". The agencies aren't partners. They are mere satellites orbiting entirely within the industry's influence.  Industry calls the tunes and the agencies pipe along.

Scott

Last Updated ( Friday, 21 December 2007 )
 
Syrup No Pizza Fee
Written by Scott Silver   
Monday, 17 December 2007

The concept behind the proposed San Francisco soft-drink fee described in the appended article, is too silly for words. That doesn't mean it isn't dangerous Yes, I know that my political correct friends will say "High fructose corn syrup is bad for you blah, blah, blah."  I mean no disrespect to my friends, but such comments are irrelevant to the issue at hand. Let me explain.
The proposed fee will be charged to those stores which sell sodas containing HFCS (mom and pop stores being exempted, though I can't see why).   Safeway, Albertsons, Vons and every other supermarket that now sells soda will continue to sell soda. They will pass along to their customers the added cost imposed by the soda tax. There will be no nexus between the fee paid and the consumption of high fructose containing soda. The impact upon childhood obesity will be zero, zilch, nada.

That said, the concept behind what the city of San Francisco is proposing is becoming increasing commonplace and few people are likely to call BS on what is clearly a BS idea. Someone needs to do it and it might as well be me.

In the name of a sound-good, touchy-feely cause --in this case childhood obesity-- San Francisco would impose a tax they will not call a tax.  On the National Forests, the Recreation Access Tax is not called a tax and yet is most certainly a tax. The Forest Service has even made the claim that their recreation tax is a valuable tool in the fight against childhood obesity. I don't see that they're making a particularly valid point.

Fail to pay the forest tax and you've committed a criminal offense punishable by a hefty fine. Stores won't fail to pay the syrup tax. It will be no skin off their noses. They'll pass along the cost to the low-income mom shopping for her obese kids who might like to walk in the woods, but can't afford that luxury or who might like to eat more vegetables if only vegetables didn't cost so much. The government will, of course, continue to subsidize the conversion of corn into ethanol and you and I will pay that subsidy, but that's another BS idea best dealt with separately.

You'll be pleased to know that the mayor of San Francisco said already said he has no intention of imposing a similar tax upon pizza.  There's a real possible that he will impose a tax upon Hershey's milk chocolate, though Ghirardelli's ultra-premium chocolate will likely be exempt.

Scott

Last Updated ( Monday, 17 December 2007 )
 
Is this still your land?
Written by Scott Silver   
Saturday, 15 December 2007

Today, park managers, recreation touts and privatization ideologues assure us that the public is not only delighted to pay dramatically higher park entrance fees,  the public thinks the parks are under-priced.

These park mangers, recreation touts and privatization ideologues tell us that at least a portion of the public would like to pay more than the $25 now charged at "premium" National Parks -- and so they have arranged to keep the price increases coming and coming

The appended article from MONEY Magazine was published in 1987. It tells a very different story. It says that indignant tourists, socked with unexpected entrance fees, are growling. It says Senator Bradley was so incensed by the proposed $1 fee to visit the Statute of Liberty that he introduced exempting legislation. It has the Sierra Club asking, "Why should people have to pay to look at their own land?"

Can attitudes be so different in 2007 than they were in 1987? Have things changed so much? Is twenty five dollars now worth less than a dollar was worth in 1987? Or is it possible that park managers, recreation touts and privatization ideologues simply do not value the segment of the market made up of Americans who consider a $25 entrance fee as an obstacle to park visitation?

Scott 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 December 2007 )
 
Photo Fees Opposed
Written by Scott Silver   
Thursday, 13 December 2007

Appended is an article titled "Land of the fee for photos in national parks?"
 
 The original idea behind charging fees for commercial filming in the parks was to permit film studios and advertising agencies to purchase as much access and agency cooperation as they needed. Instead of Park managers saying 'NO' to Hollywood studios or Madison Avenue ad agencies when they wanted to use a National Park for purely commercial (and/or inappropriate) purposes, managers would say 'YES'   just so long as they got PAID and could retain whatever money (baksheesh) they collected.  (Sound familiar???) 

Somewhere along the line, this collaboration between the Department of Interior, Park managers, and their commercial customers (business partners?) went astray.

Somewhere along the line the media and the public's right to know got caught up in this fee issue. The result is what you see below. The result is dramatic -- as is the explicit language being used by senior members of Congress.

Opposition to pay-to-play is, finally, coming to a head -- and increasingly doing so for all the RIGHT reasons.
 
Details from the recent Committee hearing are available online.
 
Scott 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 December 2007 )
 
What's the Value of Forest Recreation?
Written by Scott Silver   
Wednesday, 12 December 2007

 I recently did an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting on the topic of the US Forest Service's efforts to close, decommission and privatize campgrounds and generally shrink its developed recreation program in an effort to improve profitability and minimize operating costs.
 
That interview became part of a special broadcast given the title "What's the Value of Forest Recreation", the text of which can be read below. For those wishing to hear the broadcast, a link is provided.
 
I thought this was a well-done production. Hope you enjoy it.
 
Scott

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 December 2007 )
 
Good Lattes, Mediocre National Parks
Written by Scott Silver   
Wednesday, 12 December 2007

In the grand scheme of things, the fact that the San Francisco Presidio is getting a Starbucks isn't exactly a big deal. After all, the Presidio was created as a self-funded National Park --- one that is rapidly being filled with much larger private and/or commercial intrusions than a mere Starbucks.

I'm sharing the appended article because it is important, because I'm quoted and because it provides an opportunity to share this quote from the Director of the National Parks Service, ca. 1950.

 

"If we are going to succeed in preserving the greatness of the national parks, they must be held inviolate. They represent the last stands of primitive America. If we are going to whittle away at them we should recognize, at the very beginning, that all such whittlings are cumulative and that the end result will be mediocrity."  - Newton Drury


Scott 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 December 2007 )
 
From someone who knows
Written by Guest - Colorado Guy   
Tuesday, 11 December 2007

For those of you who are worried about the 'loss' of the RAT fees used to keep a bit of your recreation resources well fed and groomed..  Well, that care comes right out of the hide of caring for other places on the Forest (or other Interior lands) which are just as important as the RAT target parcel.

Case in point: The Mount Evans highway - a road maintained by the State of Colorado, has a RAT toll booth at the bottom and the FS collects a LOT of money from folks using the road even tho technically they cannot charge for the use of the roadway itself. This money has been mostly plowed back into creating a large staff at Mount Evans and building some amenities which are prominently posted 'paid for with your user fees' or similar wording. If you were to look at the area prior to the 'in the dark of night' establishment of the infamous Fee Demo and the even more nefarious 'rider' which created the RAT, you'd see a portion of the Arapaho NF which was open to all comers. At one point the FS administered a special use permit for a lodge at the summit. Now the whole thing is an illegal toll road with the RAT being justified as making it possible to provide a 'better experience' for the visitor via a new trail, interpretive center, and an outsized force of fee enforcement folks in the guise of increased staff keeping the mountain from being overrun.

Of course what they don't tell you is that keeping the mountain from being overrun might entail a politically uncomfortable option like just limiting the sheer number of visitors allowed up the mountain on any one day (think river permits here). Nope, we can't cut off that revenue source by limiting numbers!

And, after the official exercise of choosing what developed and undeveloped (the mythical "dispersed site") recreation sites to keep open with dwindling appropriated funds (think giant sucking noise from fire suppression folks defending private homes), only a pittance of the RAT funding (if any at all) is available for resource management outside the RAT site itself. In no way does the amount of $$ delivered to a unit by the RAT compensate for appropriated funding that has been chopped every year for nearly two decades. So we're at the crossroads where folks who aren't into paying a premium to visit some trophy site on a Forest are left without access to some primitive undeveloped site because all the money is being spent on either the 'income producing site' or, like on the Roosevelt NF where appropriated $$ to the tune of 1+ million dollars were used to reconstruct and enlarge a developed campground which was promptly turned over to a concessionaire to manage (and make a guaranteed profit from).

The RAT is a scam designed to feather the pockets of a few (including the empire building programs of a few Federal units which have 'high amenity value' lands set up with toll booth) at the expense of the vast majority of Forest and Public Lands visitors who are seeing their cherished 'off the track but beaten to hell' places closed or neglected due to being 'non-income producing.' For some units, the RAT is now an addiction. Pray that we can drown the RAT and fight like hell for the return of appropriated funds to take adequate care of the people's heritage. (Like stopping the hoards of OHVs spreading like a biblical plague across the landscape - Remember Chief Bosworth?)

Your mileage may vary. I started my journey in the 1950's when only NPS units could charge strictly limited entrance fees and only well developed campgrounds (like with water and trash pickup) could charge a nominal fee. My parents provided me with exposure to the public estate at very low cost - something that is increasingly out of reach for lower income families like ours. We can either let a few 'profit' from the income they rake off the public resources or we can profit as a nation by encouraging citizens and foreign visitors alike to access these same places without the accountants wringing their hands over the expense. It's our heritage, not that of the libertarian fringe - private enterprise vultures, that has been cared for over the decades by ALL of the people of the US, not just those with a little more room under their card's credit limit.

Kill the RAT!! 

 
It's Official Folks
Written by From Newswire   
Monday, 10 December 2007

[ NOTE: I am delighted that Senator Baucus' News Release (appended) credits the late Robert Funkhouser of Western Slope NoFee Coalition for his extraordinary contribution to making this RAT repeal bill a reality. Without Rob's efforts, we might never have gotten this far. It's now up to all of us who care about public lands to transform this bill into enacted law. - Scott]


Baucus, Crapo Bill Would Nix Recreation Fees
Montana, Idaho Sens. Team Up To Repeal Recreation Access Tax

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies would be blocked from charging Americans higher fees to access their public lands under legislation introduced today by two prominent Western lawmakers.

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) today joined Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in introducing the much-anticipated Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act of 2007.

The bill would revoke authority given federal agencies, with the exception of the National Park Service, in 2004 to institute new fees and increase existing fees at campgrounds, trailheads, and other public areas.

Specifically, the bill repeals the 2004-passed Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement Act, sometimes called the recreational access tax, and reinstates legislation dating back to 1965 that limits the use of fees on public lands.

Baucus, a long-time critic of the fees, said the current system amounts to double taxation.

"Americans already pay to use their public lands on April 15," Baucus said. "We shouldn't be taxed twice to go fishing, hiking, or camping on OUR public lands. It just doesn't make any sense. That's why Mike and I are going to fight like the dickens to get this bill passed."

The senators noted that both the Montana and Idaho State Legislatures passed resolutions to repeal FLREA.

Crapo said, "As an outdoorsman and legislator, I have always supported fair and reasonable access to our nation's public lands. Mandatory user fees for access to many of those lands limits accessibility to those who can afford the cost and results in a 'pay-to-play' system that is unacceptable. I also fully recognize that we need to adequately fund recreation activities on federal lands and will continue to fight in Congress to make sure the funding needs of our public lands management agencies are met."

Debates have flared up in communities across the West as fees began to rise after the 2004 bill was passed. Baucus said he hopes his bill will help resolve those disputes.

Kitty Benzar, president of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, hailed the bill. Baucus worked closely with Benzar as well as the late Robert Funkhouser, who recently passed away, in crafting the legislation.

"This bill will bring an end to a failed experiment that has for 10 years burdened Americans with a double tax and kept them away from public lands they have always enjoyed," Benzar said. "I applaud this bipartisan effort."

The Baucus-Crapo bill would:

  • Repeal the FLREA
  • Reinstate the fee authorities established by the 1965 Land and Water Conservation Act
  • Reinstate the National Parks Pass system
  • Cap the amount that can be charged for entrance to national parks.

For complete text of the bill, visit http://www.baucus.senate.gov

SOURCE Office of Senator Max Baucus
http://www.baucus.senate.gov

Last Updated ( Monday, 10 December 2007 )
 
CIEDRA - Perfect Compromise, Privatization Perfected or something else?
Written by Scott Silver   
Monday, 10 December 2007

A decade ago, New Environmentalism was broadly denounced as being a thinly disguised effort by corporate America, working through free-market think tanks and ideologues such as Gale Norton, to weaken environmental laws so as to more efficiently transfer our shared commons to the control of special interest.  A decade ago, only the most market-oriented of conservation organizations dared to openly affiliate themselves with those New Environmentalists who were clearly seen as leading the public lands privatization agenda.

A decade ago,  the Battle for the Wilderness and the efforts of nature lovers to protect and preserve that which they loved, had nothing to do with New Environmentalism. A decade ago, the defense of fundamental principles, the exercise of raw idealism and the expenditure of effort in order to create tools that would facilitate attainment of a better future, were as important as successfully waged battles and well-deserved victories.

Today much has changed.

Pasted below is an Op-Ed published today in the Idaho Statesman. It is about the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act. Some see CIEDRA as the "Perfect Compromise". I believe the author of this piece looks upon CIEDRA as "Privatization Perfected" -- and I agree with that assessment.

CIEDRA is also about the abandonment of principles by those within the conservation community who are supporting this legislation. It is about the exercise of raw unvarnished pragmatism and the ill-advised expenditure of a great deal of conservation capital in order to create tools that will result in a worse future -- and one largely devoid of genuine victories. It is about the abandonment of love for nature, and accepting the consequences that come from love lost.

Similarly stated, New Environmentalism is about the abandonment of Environmentalism and accepting the consequences.

Scott 

 
Selling off not just Nevada
Written by Scott Silver   
Sunday, 09 December 2007

In today's New York Times there appeared an Editorial under the headline "Auctioning Off Nevada". The piece, which is appended, ended with these words.

[Nevadans have every right to have boccie and tennis courts. But it is not clear why the federal government should sell off chunks of the nation to pay for them.]

I wish to repeat a warning originally shared on 2/28/05 with the Wild Wilderness network in an e-mail message titled "Using SNPLMA as a model for liquidating the commons."

Here it is. Please take it to heart. What is at stake is larger than merely selling off Nevada.

 [I wonder what folks in the conservation community were thinking about when they willingly stepped onto the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act slippery slope?  I wonder what they think today, when they read articles such as the one pasted below?

And just imagine.... this same SNPLMA MODEL is being touted as a cornerstone within the American Recreation Coalition's newly proposed "Federal Recreation Policy Act".  The idea, of course, is to sell off unwanted public lands and use the money to fund new recreation development.

I wonder how many conservation and non-motorized recreation groups will be stepping onto THAT particular slippery slope. I hope the answer is none.] 

The ARC's Federal Recreation Policy Act has, so far, gone nowhere. That, however, does not mean it is going nowhere.

Scott

Last Updated ( Sunday, 09 December 2007 )
 
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