Recently, while hiking in the Bowman Lake area near Loney Meadows, I was disturbed by two signs: first, warning that roaming cattle were damaging the ecology of the meadow.
My family and I have been visiting that area since I was a little girl. This claim is pure propaganda.
The second sign depicted native evergreen trees being removed and replaced with white elm. This is not Colorado. I want the trees planted by nature in the Sierra.
In my experience, environmental screw-ups are interfering locally and damaging nature’s balance.
Examples: “Save the spotted owl” destroyed the logging industry and rural economies. Recently, the true predator was determined to be the “Barred Owl,” so now the USF&W is shooting one to save the other. “Save the forests/old growth” has created extraordinary fuel loads, causing increasingly super-heated catastrophic wildfires. In the last decade, “planting predatory ravens” killing native song birds. “Save the otter” at Pismo Beach caused the extinction of indigenous clams. Elsewhere, “planting timber wolves” endangers cattle, sheep and elk populations and threatens people enjoying the wilderness, including a child fatality.
These are ecological catastrophes created by an inexperienced environmental tourist movement.
The federal Organic Administration Act of 1897 established national forests. “No national forest shall be established, except to improve and protect the forest within the boundaries, or for the purpose of securing favorable conditions of water flows, and to furnish a continuous supply of timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States.” This act excluded from forest reserves lands primarily valuable for mineral ore and agriculture. Its express purpose was forest set aside for use by local people, including an inexpensive local resource for timber sales. Currently, national forest management for the people has instead become a gigantic bureaucracy having little to do with that originally expressed intent.
My parents are lifelong residents of this area for 80-plus years. All our generations were taught conservation by local schools. I recall planting trees every year of my youth. To our dismay, the federal government instituted clear-cutting and replanting “selected species” “to improve the forest.” Later, the government blamed the loggers for the result, and ignorant “educated” environmentalists propagated the deception.
The above examples of decisions imposed upon local folk destroyed nature’s balance and the economy, while claiming to “save the environment.” The lesson: Formal “education” alone doesn’t make people wise. However, much wisdom could be gained from the “experience” of local folk who have lived on, worked and preserved this area for decades.
Government and “educated” transplants, lacking necessary wisdom or with questionable motives, have been incrementally “taking” from the people and creating an unbalanced ecology. Personally, I’m tired of government and loud “educated” arrogant voices imposing their ignorant decisions, destroying the local forests, ecology and economy and blaming the local folk for their mistakes.
Even at present, the federal government’s “protect the yellow-legged frog and Yosemite toad” is attempting a 2 million-plus-acre USF&W designation throughout Nevada, Sierra, Plumas, El Dorado, and Placer counties, all the way to Yosemite. A recent hike to Squaw Peak (above the tree line and far from any essential water source) counters the ludicrous “science” being applied to affect a huge government land grab. The mentioned frogs live in mountain creeks and lakes at 1,200- to 7,500-foot elevations. Tadpoles require two years to develop. Frog decline, if any, can realistically be attributed to the continuous “planting of fish” (that eat tadpoles) since the late 1800s and, more recently, to unavoidable drift of pesticides aerially sprayed on forests, which ultimately arrive in the watershed. (Altrazine being the most common and linked to reproductive organ cancer in humans.)
Are “educated” environmentalists and the federal government doing a good job managing our forests and critters? By the smoke in the air, their motto seems to be “burn, baby, burn,” killing critters, trees and plants they vow to be “saving.”
This land belongs to the people and should be returned to and managed by experienced local people!
Please make your voice heard in opposition to this obscene over-reaching by our federal government. Public comments are being received concerning the USF&W 2 million-plus-acre land grab until Nov. 18. For information go to http://fws.gov.
Stay tuned, the USF&W next intends to reinforce its land grab to “protect” 400-plus plant species.
Sue McGuire lives in Nevada City.