Monday, July 8, 2013

Still Are, Still Do and Working Away

The last couple of months have been brimming with the politics of Gold Butte. In May 2013 Senator Reid introduced a bill, the same ol’ bill that we have been seeing and hearing about for about the last ten plus years, into the Senate to designate Gold Butte as an NCA with loads of Wilderness. Then shortly thereafter Congressman Horsford introduced his version in the House. There has been a lot of good coverage about the details and meetings that have been going on over the last couple of months in both the Moapa Valley Progress and the Mesquite Citizens Journal.

I have spent a lot of time visiting with our County Commissioner going over the maps and proposals trying to come up with a cocktail of a compromise for a bill that could appease the differences of opinion on the best practices on public lands management. I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with, for myself, the things that I want out of our public lands. As I have tried to boil it all down for myself I believe the truth of the matter to be that the management practice of Wilderness and fancy designations from a Washington bureaucrat does nothing in reality for our public lands. My thoughts have been expressed over the years in different articles that I have written:

On wilderness: Wilderness as a Trophy
Designations as a Management Tool: Learning the Hard Way
Threats to Public Lands: What Do You See

As I have read over these articles my thoughts are still the same. Designations and unscientifically proven management practices should not be implemented on our public lands. Wilderness as defined by Congress in 1964 is an idealistic piece of poetry not public lands management:

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

For now, those who visit our public lands known as Gold Butte still are. Those who enjoy four wheeling responsibly, still do. Those who enjoy peaceful solitude in the back country still find it at Gold Butte. And those who make their living proselytizing bureaucracy in the form of wilderness are still working away.
Meanwhile the raging chronicle continues in regards to the politics that have consumed Gold Butte like a wildfire. As long as proposals and numbers on wilderness acres come before legitimate conversations on the actual issues that face our public lands there will always be contention.  

Let us hope that like those bills that have come before, this latest rendition will also go by the wayside.