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Aldena Cook-Blue Ribbon Coalition

Discussion in 'Land Use' started by mudfanatic, Feb 21, 2001.

  1. mudfanatic

    mudfanatic 1/2 ton status

    Feb 18, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Aloha, Oregon
    Keep wilderness values in Wilderness
    By BlueRibbon Coalition Public Lands Director Adena Cook

    BlueRibbon Coalition
    PO Box 5449
    Pocatello, ID 83202
    ph. 800-258-3742

    "Natural quiet" is discussed prominently in many land managing agency planning
    documents crossing my desk. The subject sometimes appears as a part of the
    "issues" section introduced by comments received. Sometimes agencies will
    introduce it at the start without any prompting from outside interests.

    Some agencies have elevated "natural quiet" on public lands to the status of a
    resource as something tangible and part of the physical environment. "Natural
    quiet" is not a physical resource. It does not exist without the presence of
    human beings. These are very special human beings who are visiting public
    lands with a certain set of values. These values place a high priority on
    "natural quiet".

    These values have been, since 1964, carefully described and protected in the
    Wilderness Act. Before public land can be considered for Wilderness
    designation, certain criteria must be present: "(1) generally appears to have
    been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's
    work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for
    solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation;" (Wilderness Act
    Sec. 1131 (c)). Since that time, "natural quiet" has come to be considered an
    important component of solitude and a primitive type of recreation.

    Land managers use the above criteria when they are considering whether or not
    to recommend, in their land managing plans, a certain patch of ground for
    Wilderness designation by Congress. Certain roadless lands in national
    forests, and certain Wilderness Study Areas in BLM lands have been so
    recommended. So have certain areas in national parks, for example,
    backcountry Yellowstone. These criteria become important management
    considerations once Congress acts and designates an area Wilderness.
    Wilderness values should not be important management considerations without a
    congressional wilderness act.

    We increasingly find, however, these wilderness values being included in
    management considerations for all of public land. "Natural quiet" has been
    inappropriately included by the National Park Service as an important
    consideration for the highly developed area around Old Faithful. "Natural
    quiet" has been included as an important consideration in the management of
    all BLM lands in Utah; this was a part of the draft Standards for Public Land
    Health and Guidelines for Recreation Management for BLM Lands in Utah.

    "Natural quiet" is fine for Wilderness. To impose this component of
    wilderness values is not fine for the rest of public land. To elevate
    "natural quiet" to the status of a physical resource is ludicrous. Other
    sounds in the rest of public land can be appreciated, and must be acknowledged
    as a positive part of the experience.

    For example, I appreciate the sound of a chain saw. To hear a chain saw in
    the distance as I'm hiking along on a trail warms my heart. It means that
    someone is making use of a renewable resource. It means one more home will be
    built to house a family. It means that children are housed and fed by the
    wages of a good job.

    Perhaps that chain saw sound means that a home will be warm this winter.
    Perhaps it means that someone is gathering wood for our very own campfire that
    we will enjoy this evening. It could be that a trail is being cleared. I,
    myself, have gotten a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction out of giving that
    starter rope a yank, firing up the motor, and sawing logs that block the
    trail. It's time and labor well spent. I'm happy to provide this benefit to
    all who will pass.

    The sound of a chain saw means progress. It means that man and nature are
    interacting in a mutually beneficial way. It means a useful product for
    people, and a place for new trees to replace the old.

    We've got over 100 million acres of designated Wilderness for people with
    wilderness values to appreciate. There, they can find the "natural quiet"
    that the Wilderness Act mandates. The rest of public land is the place to
    appreciate other values, those that celebrate diverse recreation and
    productive use of natural resources.

    <font color=red>get involved with land issues or lose the land</font color=red>

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