March 24, 2018

For The Benefit Of All

kayakI read with interest (and some frustration) the article in the Island Park News about the plight of the grizzly bear in America. It seems that they haven’t been introduced and / or haven’t flourished over the years. They don’t do well around people or civilization, and they apparently need some good, old-fashioned, peace and quiet (like me on a Saturday morning.)

While it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about the poor grizzly bear, I think several things need to be kept in mind. First, when the grizzly bears flourished here, people didn’t really populate this area. Sure, there were a few Indians (native Americans if you’re left handed,) but by and large, there wasn’t a population base to speak of. When the people came, the bears dwindled. So if you’re going to have a bear population you have to get rid of the humans.

How do you do that? By designating wilderness areas, etc. I know some of the best country for ATV’ing and snowmobiling is up on black canyon. But they shut that down to motorized vehicles to give the grizzly bears a place to be. Yes, you can hike there, but nobody does. Really, who wants to go hike in a place infested with grizzly bears? So the land is, in effect, useless to humans. We don’t use the resources, we don’t enjoy the beauty, we don’t go there and photograph it — nada.

And when you get right down to it, that’s true of most of Idaho. Our last real democrat senator, Frank Church (of the Panama Canal giveaway fame,) somehow designated much of Idaho as “wilderness area.” Wilderness area means no motorized vehicles, no development, etc. What this does is effectively shut down this area. For what? To have a place where people can go to see how things were 200 years ago.

I like that idea — intellectually. Isn’t that great? We were told it was being done for the common good. Now there is a place where everyone can go and see how things used to be. That’s a great and very noble intent. The problem is, nobody does. To get into that country you have to float, walk or ride a horse. Floating doesn’t really get you “into” the country, you’re really just passing through. So you have to walk or ride a horse. (NOTE: There are a few airstrips they haven’t closed yet, but they are not widely used.)

So what percentage of the population has even seen this area? If you mean the population of Idaho, it’s a tiny percentage. If you mean the population of the USA (which people are the “owners” of the land,) the number is so small as to be ridiculous.

I guess my question is, what good is a place that everyone can go if nobody goes? What have we accomplished? We’ve created a place where a teeny tiny percentage of the population (the “elitists”) can enjoy. The rest of us get no benefit from it whatsoever.

It’s also interesting to me that these things happen in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and not in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, etc. There used to be wolves, grizzlies, cougars, etc., there that were pushed out by humanity. Why are the people from those states so hell-bent on re-introducing them here? Why do they want us to bear the brunt of “the benefit of all?” Why are they not “blooming where they’re planted?” Why do they not push their people aside for the benefit of the animals (endangered and otherwise) whose well being they so jealously protect?

More than half the state of Idaho is “public” land. Meaning it’s “locked up” to the point the average person will never use it. How much of those above-mentioned New England states are taken up in “public” land? Or what percentage of their states is designated wilderness area? That all used to be wilderness. I think we should put some of it back into wilderness and re-introduce wolves and grizzly bears and see how well they like that. I’d be really curious to see if they still feel the same way.

The bottom line of this whole discussion is, if you want to see grizzlies flourish, you’re going to have to do so at the expense of humans. Most liberals have no problem with that (especially if it’s not in their back yard.) Most conservatives think the rights / needs / activities of humans trump those of the animals. Neither side is going to be convinced by the other.

As far as the grizzlies, let’s see Washington, Oregon, Northern California, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and others do their part then I’m ready to take the next step here. If we’re all going to do it, great. If I’m the only one doing things for “the benefit of all” then count me out. Thus far this has been a give and take relationship — we give they take. . . . not exactly what I would have proposed.


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