From the Editor: I’m sure most of you remember the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. As a young child, several scenes of the movie terrified me, the wicked witch, the flying monkeys – they were the worst, and then there was OZ with that deep booming voice. My heart wrenched when he yelled at the Scarecrow, calling him a “billowing bale of bovine fodder!” I was just as relieved as Dorothy when Toto pulled back the curtain and OZ was exposed.
It appears to me that today, terrifying people is part of an overall national agenda, a sort of OZ behind the curtain, propagated by certain political persuasions, environmental groups, and news outlets. To amplify this point, an article caught my attention from Durango Herald News by Jonathan Romeo, County & Environment reporter dated Wed., May 22, 2019. It pertained to a lawsuit against the Forest Service due to the need to clear hiking trails from downed beetle killed trees that were obstructing the paths. The article read: “A coalition of conservation groups has sued the U.S. Forest Service for its recent decision to allow chain saws for trail work in two wilderness areas in Southwest Colorado”….According to George Nickas with Wilderness Watch, in a prepared statement, “Wilderness exists for its own sake. It represents a piece of primitive America free of motors and technology that have allowed humans to dominate so much of the planet…” Darn those humans, dominating the planet with their motors and technology, destroying natural wilderness with the sound of chainsaws, disrupting nature by clearing dead wood from a hiking path! Don’t humans understand that chainsaws are noisy and need to be feared, especially in the vast wilderness, miles from human inhabitance!
So, to the next article that deserves a wink and grin.
Luke Ruediger wrote an article titled, “The Impact of Wilderness Bulldozing Last Fire Season” dated Sun. May 26, 2019, “Last year, fire managers in Southwest OR and Northwest CA authorized the use of bulldozers in the Soda Mountain Wilderness east of Ashland… authorization for the use of bulldozers in local wilderness areas demonstrate a trend towards more damaging backcountry firefighting tactics in our region.” Bulldozers, yikes, used to cut firelines to help contain ravaging out of control wildfires. These giant beasts cut landing pads so logging can be cleaner and less disruptive by using helicopters to move downed timber over the tree tops. The growl of heavy machinery can be heard through the forests as roads are built to carry logs to the mills and those same roads are then used by firefighters to help save communities that might otherwise be lost to fire. According to Mr. Ruediger, bulldozers have no place in the wilderness. Maybe he should try and convince Linda K. who sent me an email in reference to my efforts with wildfire and smoke issues that read: “Thank you for stepping up and fighting this travesty. Not only have I watched with tears in my eyes while my area in Siskiyou County, CA has been devastated by out of control wildfires, it has affected my health very seriously.” The very area that Mr. Ruediger says are being destroyed by bulldozers were decimated by wildfires. Where’s the common sense, is Mother Earth to be allowed to raze humans, or is fear the logic of the day?
I’ll save the Climate Change “fear” topic for another time, we hear enough of that on the evening news.
In closing, I typically don’t allow sarcasm to dominate my writing, but today I FEAR NOT and will be completely and unapologetically politically incorrect. Isn’t it time to bring back truth about how to effectively care for our forests? Together let’s expose the OZ behind the curtain, one story at a time.