Public Speaker on Public Issues



Contempt for the American public was driven home on a snowmobile recently with the Administration's announcement of a general ban on snowmobiles in national parks.

In this 'wordsmith' world we live in today--perhaps the American public was asleep at the snowmobile handlebars when all the compromising, consensus building, stewardshipping, win-winning and all the rest of the policy-making lip serving was taking place.

Or perhaps the American public wasn't asleep. Perhaps it was doing what ONCE came so naturally to Americans — believing in the fundamental honesty of their government. How times do change.

Regardless of what was going on the American public was handed a reality check of just how irrelevant they and their ever sought after "public input" really is. Perhaps this is the best thing that could have happened to this nation in a very long time. The learning curve of what it means when so called "alarmists" send out warnings about the destruction of this nation's foundations has just been shortened.

Americans have been operating for decades under the obvious misconception that national parks were created for their enjoyment. How silly of us. Why…we even thought that the National Park Service (NPS) was supposed to be managing things as we went along.

We thought that as stewards of the national treasures, the National Park Service's development of their professional land managers would include training managers how to recognize trends and anticipate needed changes. Additionally, they would have been trained in budget development, and how to make a convincing case to congressional appropriation committees. They would also have been trained in how to keep accurate track of funds that were appropriated.

Such training and professional development would have perhaps eliminated the swat team approach to public land management. The swat team approach comes in to play when a cry of 'crisis' comes up, so drastic measures are taken.

Perhaps the American public should consider a class action lawsuit against both the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture for criminal neglect of our national treasures. The NPS admits that it hasn't done its monitoring and mitigating of increased recreational use as required. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) claims it hadn't been maintaining roads. Each agency has now employed swat team tactics, which reflect neither respect for the public, nor the caliber of resource management that the challenges of the 21st century require. Does the word 'incompetence' come to anybody's mind?

That word 'incompetence' is, however, only one of a few words that might be appropriate. How about deliberate tactics and planned strategies. I don't think that either of these should be ruled out.

If the real goal is, however, to create huge areas of connected landscapes where human activity is restricted or forbidden; one of the mechanisms is piecemeal exclusion. Let's call this Buffer Zone Creep for lack of a better term.

Deliberately allowing things to seriously deteriorate, or deceiving the general public that they have deteriorated sets the perfect stage for drastic measures. Drastic measures are not to be confused with professional management.

However, where the snowmobile issue is concerned, I don't think we should assume that the industry is totally blameless. How committed the industry has or has not been to the TIMELY development of cleaner/quieter sleds warrants careful study before drawing any conclusions.

Extreme environmentalists and the federal agencies have promoted living 'litely' on the land through tourism and recreation for at least the past 15 years. Convincing folks that we should 'all give something' has come to mean-I'll give you guilt, and you give up your lifestyle'. The underlying message has been that recreation and tourism were the only morally acceptable ways to utilize public lands.

Many folks blindly and comfortably allowed themselves and their communities to be driven down this deceptive path. This path has, however, lead to a cultural cliff. Some of our fellow Americans have already been driven off this cliff in their logging, mining and oil and gas trucks, some were on horseback moving their livestock off the cliff ahead of them. Now is the turn of recreationists/tourists.

Clearing huge landscape areas of all such imprints and legal claims serves the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is the conversion of public lands to the private empire of the federal government. This federal empire has a 'culture vulture' mentality that consumes any and all legal rights that get in the way.

We're singing a different song these days. It's no longer..'this land is your land, this land is my land.' ALL LAND IS MY LAND is the name of this Administration's theme song.

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