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How quickly can an ecosystem be destroyed?  

Try six years.  Witness neglect and contempt by the Bush regime.  The article referenced beneath the fold says more than I can say.

"In the national forests, big money was not king," wrote Pinchot. The Forest Service was beloved, he said, because "it stood up for the honest small man and fought the predatory big man as no government bureau had done before."

A century later, I drove through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest on my way to climb Mount Hood, and found the place in tatters. Roads are closed, or in disrepair. Trails are washed out. The campgrounds, those that are open, are frayed and unkempt. It looks like the forestry equivalent of a neighborhood crack house.

In the Pinchot woods, you see the George W. Bush public lands legacy. If you want to drill, or cut trees, or open a gas line — the place is yours. Most everything else has been trashed or left to bleed to death.

Oh, if there were a Theodore Roosevelt or a Gifford Pinchot to shake the foundations of our beliefs again!!  Bust the trusts, and protect the environment!      

I really don't see this in either party's field of candidates.

Is there any candidate, anywhere, who is a trust-buster?  It's been a hundred years since Teddy Roosevelt, and his legacy seems to have faded away.  

A melancholy song may be appropriate:

Once a piece of wilderness is lost, it is lost forever.  The same might be said of our Constitutional safeguards, after too long a time in the hands of criminals and fascists.

Originally posted to willb48 on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 04:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes, Al Gore! I am surprised that people haven't (10+ / 0-)

    gone in and cleaned it up themselves. Thats what I did. I went in and cleaned out a dumping area and party spot. The DNR thanked me and then proceeded to make it more difficult to dump there. Sometimes people just have to take matters in their own hands. Cleaning up our forrest is a fun way to spend a week-end or summer.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 04:18:31 AM PDT

  •  Where's your tip jar, dammit! (5+ / 0-)

    You've got mojo in your future.

    Just when they think they've got the answer, I change the question. -Roddy Piper

    by McGirk on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 04:19:08 AM PDT

  •  If I were President (7+ / 0-)

    I would create a new cabinet position:  High Commissioner of Environment and appoint Al Gore to do the job.  His first hire?  The Shrub who we know loves to clear brush.

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 04:27:44 AM PDT

  •  environmental criminals (4+ / 0-)
  •  Meanwhile in the National Parks (5+ / 0-)

    the number of law enforcement rangers has been cut[while the National Park Service's budget has increased] and the Interior Inspector General, Earl Devaney, has had his year long investigation into NPS law enforcement - which he titled "NPS Law Enforcment: A Disquieting State of Disorder" -totally ignored.
    Law enforcement rangers, when assaulted, suffer death or injury at a rate 11 times greater than either an FBI agent or DEA officer: This comes from a five year study by the Dept of Justice.
    Mr Devaney said it was imperative that the NPS immediately increase the number of law enforcement rangers for the rangers own safety!
    The NPS has decreased their numbers since then.

  •  Darn NYTIMES firewall! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Cronesense, willb48

    Would like to read the rest of the article... but I'm too cheap to pony up for a subscription.

    I hike in the Pacific Northwest every third year or so and was in the Gifford Pinchot NF last in 2005. I must say that the author's experience did not match mine, but we may have been in different parts of the forest. And there may have been neglect of campgrounds even since I was there.

    Couple of things to note:  The Gifford Pinchot is not the National Forest that surrounds Mount Hood, but rather the forest that covers the Cascades in Southern Washington.  You have to go thru it on the main approach to Mt St. Helens.  Many areas of the forest suffered damage during the Mt. St. Helens explosion.

    Also, I know that there was horrific flooding in the Washington Cascades last year.  The main road thru Mt Rainier National Park was completely washed out in several places over the winter, and it just reopened earlier this month, and I have heard that the damage is obvious and it's shocking to go there right now.  Some I'm wondering if the disrepair in the national forest is also flood related, and it might be that they have been overwhelmed with necessary spring maintenance on campgrounds and roads.

    •  Here's a link to a list of places in Pinchot... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, Cronesense, willb48

      ...that suffered flood/storm damage during last November's storms:

      A series of winter storms occurring in the fall of 2006 caused extensive damage to many roads and trails across the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.


      I'm playing devil's advocate blind here, since I can't see the specifics that the author has in the article.  But I'm just thinking that the Gifford Pinchot might not be a particularly representative forest to look at this year if you wanted to evaluate the Administration's performance in the national forests.

    •  Eh, a little more (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie, skymutt

      For most of the Bush years, the Interior Department was nominally run by a Stepford secretary, Gale Norton, while industry insiders like J. Steven Griles — the former coal lobbyist who pled guilty this year to obstruction of justice — ran the department.

      Same in the Forest Service, where an ex-timber industry insider, Mark Rey, guides administration policy.

      They don’t take care of these lands because they see them as one thing: a cash-out. Thus, in Bush’s budget proposal this year, he guts the Forest Service budget yet again, while floating the idea of selling thousands of acres to the highest bidder. The administration says it wants more money for national parks. But the parks are $10 billion behind on needed repairs; the proposal is a pittance.

      I'm trying to stay within "fair use" standards, here.  

      •  I should really pony up for a subscription (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There's no question that the Administration has put some bad actors in charge of Interior.  And I certainly hope they're not selling off National Forest lands... the government no doubt owns lands that could be sold off, but the National Forests ain't it.  We should be adding to our National Forests if we can.  But of course this crowd has run our debt sky high, and now it's time to pay the piper with cuts to the bone for agencies with no clout like the Forest Service, but of course the Defense budget is a sacred cow and the request has set another all-time record this year.

        •  The Department of Interior (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buckhorn okie, va dare, willb48, skymutt

          is responsible for National Parks and some government-owned land, but the US Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture, and has responsibility for National Forests.

          Wilderness areas are a shared responsibility between DOI, USFS and several other agencies - there is no agency with primary responsibility for wilderness.

          There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

          by badger on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 06:35:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm more a fan of aldo Leopold (5+ / 0-)

    He was more into conservation that the utilitarian viewpoint that Pinchot took.  He was and incredible advocate for wilderness.

    Impeach Bush/Cheney/Gonzales

    by dangangry on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 05:46:33 AM PDT

  •  I sympathize but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zydekos, willb48, geomoo

    I also disagree with the idea that "once a piece of wilderness is lost, it's lost forever."

    It would be difficult to find more that a few acres on most of the North American continent that isn't a human-created ecosystem as far back as 1492 (or 1491, to quote the title of the Charles C. Mann book, part of which covers the topic).

    While logging and other activities can really do damage to forests, the current state of wilderness, particularly with regard to flammability, isn't any better. Ironically, much of the degradation of both National Forests and wilderness areas is due to Pinchot and his intellectual descendants, who saw their primary task as excluding fire from ecosystems.

    On the other hand, most areas can be reclaimed and restored. My small acreage was both logged over and burned in a 1994 fire, but is starting to look pretty good now. Forests are dynamic systems and can improve as well as degrade.

    I'd post more, but I'm headed to a forest restoration field day in a few minutes - if you're really concerned, you should take the time to find out what can be done even if you can't find the time to actually do it.

    There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

    by badger on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 06:32:24 AM PDT

  •  In Indra's web, every strand reflects every other (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for the elegant holistic diary.  Depressing, but holistic.  New Orleans reflected in a washed out log crossing.  Detailed analysis can't adequately define the pervasive decline of so much that we hold dear.

    If it's our freedom they hate, they must love Bush's response to the WTC attacks.

    by geomoo on Sat Jun 23, 2007 at 08:29:59 AM PDT

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