Re: I hear you....

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Posted by RiverRat on October 16, 2002 at 12:21:42:

In Reply to: I hear you.... posted by hank jr on October 15, 2002 at 19:59:26:

Thank you, Hank Jr, for keeping this discussion civil. Please excuse the following if it appears to ramble.

My correlation (inference and example, actually, using wildlife) with the Grand Canyon is that preservation doesn't destroy the desert. The old river guides/commercial companies screamed bloody murder ("A Way Of Life Threatened!!!") when the NPS declared no uncontained wood fires (carry your wood in, pack your ashes and charcoal out, carry a fire pit), and pack your poop out (no sh*##*ng in the brush). Now, when you go there, there are no fire rings, beaches aren't stained with charcoal and ash, and there are no TP streamers dangling from the cactus. And this, in a place where some beaches get used every day of the late spring-summer-early fall (e.g., Badger Creek, North Canyon, Nankoweep, above Phantom, above Crystal, Bass Camp, above Havasu, below Lava, and so on). The NPS in The Canyon is a pain. But they are doing their job, and their successes have outnumbered their failures.

Perhaps visitation has increased in the desert (i.e., Day comments). I would hazard a guess, I imagine visitation everywhere has increased, and not a result of the DPA. I know it has in The Canyon, where it now takes about ten (10) years to get a permit for a private river trip. I imagine it has, in the aggregate, increased in Yosemite, Arches, Canyonlands, and so on.

[Gone forever in our lifetimes is Glen Canyon, buried under Lake Foul Reservoir. Perhaps the same thing would have happened to The Canyon, if not stopped by the hated (?) Sierra Club (see discussion of Marble Canyon dams, proposed by Bureau Rec in the 1960s).]

(Back to the California Desert): Perhaps the Saline Valley and Mojave would be better served under BLM. NPS administration of Saline Valley appears to lack the good sence God gave a jackass. However, would/could the BLM oppose the LasVegas airport proposed for Primm Valley, with flight paths directly over the Mojave? Maybe. But it seems, to me, the BLM is more like a willow, bending under the political breeze. No, it doesn't break, but would you rather go visit an oak forest or a willow grove?

In the Helf comments, ignoring the name calling in the first part, he mentions the true conservationalist. Day mentions "respects the desert". I have been going to Death Valley since 1975 or so, occasionally on foot, usually in inadaquate vehicles, through foul weather, with family or not, even going out of my way to drive through it on my way to somewhere else.

In the secret unknown spots I go to, both in DV and elsewhere, known only to those in the know, I usually bring out more garbage than I generate. I don't usually care, I consider that part of my rent for using such special places. But I would like, someday, to stop having to do this. And I have been doing this since before the Desert Protection Act. Does supporting the DPA (no, I'm not from SF or LA) make me a warm and fuzzy arm chair conservationalist, like the moth attracted to the light, unbaptized in the dust of the desert, a stranger to the True Path?

(How do I think the DPA has helped DV?) Hard to quantify, since I don't live there, I can only visit. I do see how desert protection can work, for example, like the NPS administration of the Grand Canyon since 190?? when it became a National Monument(?). It has taken a while for the Grand Canyon to get where it is now. Does the NPS have sh*# for brains at times? Yes, both here and there, and Eternal Vigilance is called for. I believe the DPA is a work in progress, the desert needs protection with some teeth in it, and I think it has been good for the desert. Is it the best? No. But it is something, passed by the Congress, and signed by the President (Reagan, I believe). Eternal Vigilance is called for, it is a means of protection, work with it or not, but don't throw up your hands and declare it the Mother of all problems with the desert. Bigger threats lurk in the shadows.

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