Known for the last wild herd of bison, bubbling mud pots, wolves, and geysers, Yellowstone National Park is an extraordinary place and very unique to America’s geography. But protecting the special nature of this spectacular park has been a battle.
Thankfully, after years of attack by an administration bent on increasing the roar of snowmobiles, a federal court judge has finally said its time to protect the park.
Throughout the past eight years, the Bush administration has treated our country’s wild lands as if they belong to industry.
Through a series of short-cut measures and regulations that have cut science and the public out of decision making, the administration has consistently rolled back environmental protections and sharply favored industrial use and exploitation of our wild lands above all other public concerns.
As predicted, the Bush Administration continues to push through last-minute regulations and policy changes detrimental to America’s public lands.
The latest is a flawed new wilderness stewardship policy for the National Wildlife Refuge System, released yesterday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service without any opportunity for public comment. Among other things, the new policy exempts the 80 percent of America’s refuges located in Alaska from wilderness review requirements, and totally ignores the very real threats posed to refuges by global warming.
Last week I sat down and listened to a live acoustic guitar session by singer-songwriter, Brett Dennen. I have to admit that I had heard of Brett, but hadn’t ever heard his music. I was floored by the passion he showed as he strummed his guitar and sang with ease. I also learned that he has another passion – wilderness.
With the election over, there’s already much to discuss about the future Obama administration. However, the Bush administration is still in action, and it’s using its final months to target some 624 acres of our public lands.
In covering the final months of this administration, you’ll find a large list of last minute land management plans, regulation re-writes and policy changes that could wreak havoc on protected places.
While concerns about the economy continue to generate huge media interest, a “Who’s Who” of national reporters turned their attention for an hour to thinking about what the new Obama Administration might mean to America’s public lands and the wildlife that call them home.
Former World Bank Chief Economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, reiterated Oct. 27 that failure to confront global warming will result in a much more dire economic crisis than today’s financial meltdown. Many of the losses could occur on our public lands in the form of drought, disease, degradation of our forests, watersheds and biodiversity to the point where natural systems can no longer support the human communities that depend on them, according to leading scientists.
Six high school students huddled around a campfire at dusk surrounded by the Clearwater National Forest; their eyes fixed and their ears intently listened to a thrilling fireside story. However, this story was much different than the usual camp tales that force our minds to wander as something scratches the outside of our tents at night.
What if you were put in the same room with other conservationists, timber workers, the Forest Service, and local community leaders and asked how to manage a national forest? At first you might have hesitation and uncertainty, and rightly so as these groups have often worked against each other and had trouble hearing each other’s seemingly disconnected voices.