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  1. #1
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    Irreplaceable

    Why Wilderness? It’s Irreplaceable

    Posted By Franz Camenzind On October 2, 2018

    There is a lot being said about wilderness these days: some misrepresentations and a lot of confusion as to what wilderness is, legally and ecologically.

    First, wilderness designation is the best land protection law our nation has. As one wildlands advocate stated decades ago: “Wilderness is nature in its original condition.”

    Wilderness cannot be manufactured; it can only be protected. Just as the 300-square-mile Jonah Field exists where oil and gas occurs, so can wilderness be protected only where it occurs. And the Jackson region is blessed with incomparable wild lands in need of protection.

    Some say a wilderness designation is tantamount to a “lockout.” Wilderness is not a lockout. Anyone can enter on foot, skis, canoe, kayak, horseback or wheelchair. Anyone can backpack and camp, and any license-holder can enter to hunt and fish. Licensed hunting camps are permitted in wilderness areas, and many allow livestock grazing.

    What wilderness excludes is entry by mechanized transport and the commercial extraction of resources, the building of dams and roads, the flying of drones and the landing of aircraft. It allows whipsaws, but not chain saws. It welcomes footsteps and sweat, but not motorized conveniences.

    Nor is wilderness a place to be raced through on mountain bikes. Instead, it’s a place to be experienced as it was before the invention of the wheel. It’s incredible to think that anyone capable of riding a mountain bike into a wilderness area would not be able to walk or ride a horse into the same landscape.

    At most wilderness is a filter that asks nothing more of those seeking entry than to check mechanization at the trailhead. Wilderness designation protects the land’s “original conditions” while allowing human activities that leave no land-altering footprint.

    Our wilderness areas help shape our quality of life by providing incomparable, year-round recreation opportunities. They help fuel today’s robust economy while also protecting our watersheds and wildlife.

    Besides the obvious benefits to humans, wilderness provides our iconic wildlife with secure habitats and movement corridors at a time when globally the rate of wilderness loss is nearly double the rate of protection.

    We have our wilderness areas and national parks because of the vision of Jackson Hole’s first conservationists. They understood the value of protecting what is best about this region: our public lands. Their foresight and determination has served us well, and continuing their legacy is clearly today’s best investment strategy.

    Jackson Hole’s conservation work continues. We are now on the threshold of making the largest land management decision in decades: the destiny of the Palisades and Shoal Creek wilderness study areas.

    These wilderness study areas came about as a result of the 1984 Wyoming Wilderness Act, which dedicated the Gros Ventre, Winegar Hole and Jedediah Smith wilderness areas. Although both county political parties and the full Teton County Commission wanted more wilderness dedicated, they could not convince our Congressional delegation. Consequently, a compromise was reached where it was agreed that these areas would be protected as WSAs, to be managed as wilderness until their fate could be determined at a later date. Now is that later date.

    The Palisades connects the Tetons and the northern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to the Wyoming and Salt River ranges, which in turn approach the High Uintas, which then line with the Colorado Rockies.

    A Palisades Wilderness will allow wide-ranging species such as the lynx, wolverine, wolf and potentially the grizzly bear to reconnect with large portions of their historic range. It will benefit all our native wildlife and provide them with a better chance of thriving well into the future.

    Likewise, the Shoal Creek Wilderness Study Area has high ecological value. It contains low-elevation habitats rare in many wilderness areas. It provides summer parturition and winter habit for elk, deer and moose, and contains documented migration corridors for our mule deer population. Wilderness designation for the Shoal Creek Wilderness Study Area will ensure that these critical habitats retain their highest wildlife values.

    On Oct. 9 the Teton County Commission is tentatively set to take a position on the future of these lands. Will it recommend that the wilderness study areas be released for multiple use, such as roads, mechanized and motorized activities, logging and mineral development? Or will it recommend full wilderness protection?

    Jackson Hole has a long and enviable history of land conservation; to suddenly express less then full support for wilderness would be an economic and ecological mistake with irreparable consequences. And so doing would be an affront to our conservation legacy.

    The decision will put our community on record as either supporting wilderness, the best land protection option, or as giving up and turning these two great, in “original condition” land masses over to special interests for inevitable commercialization and degradation.

    Jackson, which will it be: conservation or commercialization? When it comes to wilderness we can’t have it both ways.

    Share your views with the commission at: [email protected].

    Franz Camenzind is a a documentary wildlife filmmaker of black rhinoceros, grizzly bears, giant pandas, condors and wolves, and he directed the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance for 13 years before retirement. He remains actively involved with environmental issues, serving on organizational boards and councils, and acting as a science advisor.

    This column originally appeared in the Jackson Hole News & Guide.


    URL to article: https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10...irreplaceable/
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  2. #2
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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Irreplaceable-withyou.jpg  

    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  3. #3
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    tungsten!!!
    Well my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

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    Seems like an arbitrary distinction to exculde bikes and inculde kayaks and wheelchairs. It might just as well to say that we are going to exculde round things but allow square things becasue "reasons".

    If this argument was honest we would only allow people to enter wildness naked on the back of a bear. No nylon, gortex or flashlighs will be allowed.

    I'm going to look for my bear now....

  5. #5
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    I love tacos
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    "First, wilderness designation is the best land protection law our nation has. As one wildlands advocate stated decades ago: “Wilderness is nature in its original condition.” Wilderness cannot be manufactured; it can only be protected. "

    That's why there's a Wilderness area in California that's an old farm, including asphalt roads. Because that's original condition right? There's so much wrong with this, I'm going to stop picking at it after three lines because I actually have to go build trail today.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tungsten View Post
    Nor is wilderness a place to be raced through on mountain bikes.


    I along with thousands of riders completely disagree with you (and by "you" I mean the author of the quoted portion).
    Last edited by roughster; 10-03-2018 at 11:56 AM.

  8. #8
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    Trails open to MTB use in Wilderness quality alpine settings are also irreplaceable.
    If it's not powered solely by you, it's motorized.

    Worshiping at the Church of Singletrack since 1993.

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    tungsten has to be M. Vandeman.
    I ncredibly
    M yopic
    B ackstabbing
    A ssholes

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    So.......

    Mountain bikes = bad
    Resource Extraction = bad
    Mountain bikes = resource extraction = bad
    Hiking = good
    Horses = good
    Invention of the wheel = bad
    Racing through the wilderness on a bike = bad
    Meandering through the wilderness on a bike = Just as bad
    Racing through the wilderness on a horse = good
    Tire tracks on singletrack = bad
    Posthole deep hoofprints on singletrack = good
    Being seen by wildflife with a bike = bad
    Shooting same wildlife with a rifle = good
    Supporting local economy through exploiting wilderness for certain types of recreation while excluding others = good.

    That about sum it up?
    No dig no whine

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    It’s not complicated: without vast, connected areas of truly wild country where all the fatally destructive apparatus of human organization is absent, the bear and all top predators will be swiftly driven to extinction.
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10...al-mine/print/

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    tungsten,

    You are welcome to enjoy Wilderness... you just need to stay home and enjoy reading books and magazines about it, or watch some youtube videos of what humans used to do in Wilderness. Things that connected them to the land and the protection of that land. Because clearly, you envision a world where humans stay out of Wilderness.

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    Well, as long as we are posting links to things totally unrelated to mountain bikes in wilderness, here is a fascinating article on Jackalopes in Wyoming.

    https://www.legendsofamerica.com/wy-jackalope/

    Myth or reality? You decide!
    No dig no whine

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    And now for the silly reputation thing. I'm with you Tungsten.

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    History doesn't lie...

    Irreplaceable-1982-usfs-memo-about-bicycles.jpg

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    Hmm, the wilderness act does not ban bikes, they were allowed before 1984 until a different interpretation took place. The whole idea behind wilderness was exploration, under ones own power. The bike packing bike would be a perfect example. Mechanical transport referred to carts. So mechanical transport, like oar locks, ski bindings, and spring tip hiking poles should not be allowed either. But horses that grind the crap out of trails and spread horse shit everywhere is fine? I'm going to quote Bill ( shakespeare) " First kill all the lawyers" Common sense out the window. And what reasonable people would think. Yikes.
    Mike? Reformed or back at your old ways? Same wording, guessing no.

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    In recent years it has become fashionable for conservationists to substitute and promote other land classification in place of wilderness designation. Wilderness is “passé” so we are told, even though it is the “gold standard” for land protection.

    In a recent white paper, The Wilderness Society outlined some of these alternatives such as National Recreation Area, Conservation Management Area, Special Management Area (Newberry Crater), National Scenic Area, Wildlife Management Area, and other titles.

    While such designations may confer greater flexibility than wilderness designation, and often more protection than no special label, since there is no “organic act” for such classifications, there is no consistent policy protection for such designations. The degree of protection provided can vary and depends entirely on the original language that created such areas. By contrast, with Wilderness designation, we know what we are getting.

    Many of these designations allow uses and activities that are non-conforming in designated wilderness. For instance, the Lolo National Forest has proposed logging the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area near Missoula, Montana. Logging also occurs in other NRAs including the Sawtooth NRA in Idaho, Hells Canyon NRA in Oregon, among others. Such logging would not be permitted in designated wilderness.

    However, TWS was careful to note “These designations are often referred to as ‘alternatives to wilderness.’ This description is not accurate because other designations are often applied to landscapes that are worthy of protection but are not appropriate for wilderness designation. “

    In other words, TWS recognizes that these alternative designations should not be advocated as an alternative to wilderness designation.

    Unfortunately, we find that many conservation groups automatically go to alternatives classification for land that is suitable for wilderness. Typically, the alternatives are offered before any legislation is finalized, and typically to reduce the animosity or opposition from a “user” groups like ranchers, mountain bikers or snowmobilers.
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11...to-wilderness/

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    You missed a few:

    Shit in trail= good
    Spreading noxious weeds=good
    Grazing cattle in Wilderness=good
    Spreading giardia in Wilderness=quit your whining and get a filter.
    Sitting on your fat ass riding into Wilderness on horse=good
    Working your ass off riding your bike into Wilderness=bad

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    That's why there's a Wilderness area in California that's an old farm, including asphalt roads. Because that's original condition right?
    Original and untrampled by man example sham #2: Dolly Sods Wilderness - Logged in early 1900's, former bombing and artillary range during WWII, Jeep trails/old roads still visible on Google Earth.
    Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club
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    You must be referring to the 2 WSA's in the Bitterroot National Forest. These areas have adequate trail systems already. In fact just trying to keep the trails open is a full time summer job, additional trails would make things more difficult. Interestingly the 1977 Montana Wilderness Study Act allowed for off road vehicle use to continue, something that Bitterroot National Forest managers seem to have forgotten. For more detailed legal information check out Montana Mountain Bike Alliance and Sustainable Trails Coalition on Facebook to read the submitted comment letters from those organizations.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    "First, wilderness designation is the best land protection law our nation has. As one wildlands advocate stated decades ago: “Wilderness is nature in its original condition.” Wilderness cannot be manufactured; it can only be protected. "

    That's why there's a Wilderness area in California that's an old farm, including asphalt roads. Because that's original condition right? There's so much wrong with this, I'm going to stop picking at it after three lines because I actually have to go build trail today.
    May I ask which wilderness area in California are you referring to?
    Veni vidi velo!

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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    May I ask which wilderness area in California are you referring to?
    I'll guess its the Phillip Burton Wilderness in Point Reyes National Seashore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    Well, as long as we are posting links to things totally unrelated to mountain bikes in wilderness, here is a fascinating article on Jackalopes in Wyoming.

    https://www.legendsofamerica.com/wy-jackalope/

    Myth or reality? You decide!
    Jackalopes exist, I had one stumble upon my campsite in South eastern Utah.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    May I ask which wilderness area in California are you referring to?
    You can. And my answer is, off the top of my head I don't remember. But if you MUST know, you can go back and listen to the Trail Cast episode in which I interviewed David Simon from the STC board. He's the one that brings up that particular wilderness area.

  25. #25
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    Do you maybe want to try typing something, maybe your own thoughts or?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    I'll guess its the Phillip Burton Wilderness in Point Reyes National Seashore.
    Man, it's about time they kick those dairy farmers right out of there.
    The dairy industry is actually advocating for the removal of elk reintroduced to the park decades ago.

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