Utah Politicos Cry Foul At Fed Study For Two New Monuments

Utah Politicos Cry Foul At Fed Study For Two New Monuments

Hell yes, they do.  They know where this leads!

I’m writing this while watching “The Patriot“, starring Mel Gibson. In fact, I’m watching the part where General Cornwallis is just awarded, in futurum, a huge swath of land by King George if he wins the war against the patriots.  The move to grab patriot lands and award them to British generals was the King’s way of demoralizing the American people and recruiting more men to join the Loyalists.

This attempt at yet another federal land grab in one of the most conservative states in the union is nothing more than elitism at its worst. Bureaucrats from Washington flying out to the Rocky Mountain West, getting in a helicopter and surveying land they know nothing about which is home to people they don’t know (or care to), and then promptly taking it away.

After all, you see, these bureaucrats know what’s best. People who have been living off the land, and respecting it out of necessity, are in no position to decide for themselves how best to manage it, according to these elitists. No, they’ll have to be locked out of natural resources for decades to come and will be subject to byzantine rules set forth by the Sierra Club about what they can and can’t do in their own backyard.

Keep an eye on this. Soon you will see “studies” released attempting to justify the land grabs by showing that there are species of animal life previously “unknown” to science that are threatened by human activities in these new “federally protected areas”.  The locals, who will naturally be concerned about not having access to natural resources, will be derided as ignorant hicks by the left-stream media whenever they try to voice any kind of opposition due to the prospect of more lost jobs.  In Marie Antoinette fashion, they will be told, “The area is beautiful. You can make a living off of tourism.”  Yeah, four months of steady employment out of twelve sounds great, doesn’t it?  Well, it does if you’re, say, some kind of tenured environmental studies professor at an Ivy League university who advises the White House on such matters, and who teaches 4 months and goes on “sabbatical” for the other eight.

Let me be very straightforward. I’m not some blowhard spouting nonsense about something of which I don’t have first-hand knowledge. I know whereof I speak. I grew up in Kanab, Utah, which is a natural hub and jumping off point for visiting multiple major national parks, including the Grand Canyon. I grew up as a conservationist because part of my family background was in conservationism. My great-grandfather was a forest service employee for the Manti-LaSal area of Dixie National Forest near Moab, Utah. Back then, everything was dual-use…the parks and forests were balanced between conservation, recreation, and utility.  He was responsible for the Civilian Conservation Corps camps during the Great Depression that built the roads and bridges and other infrastructure that environmentalists enjoy today. That work was done in conjunction with logging, ranching, farming, and mining operations in that area with no appreciable negative impact on the environment.  Well, that is if you don’t count the presence of human beings actually making their modest homes in the same area.

My home town’s primary industries were energy, logging, and Hollywood Westerns (emphasis on the past-tense).  In the mid-1980s, the Sierra Club and various environmentalists, including none other than Robert Redford, who had filmed movies in the area, began to decry the locals’ livelihoods of logging on the Kaibab mountain range on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Long story short, Kaibab Industries ended up shutting down the sawmill that served as a major source of employment for local communities.  The reason? The Mexican Spotted Owl (or, in other made-up reports by environmental lobbyists, the sub-species Western Spotted Owl), which, we were told, required a wide range of habitat per nest.  You’ll also recall the simultaneous controversy about logging of old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest and the litigation that resulted in a devastating effect on the local economies as lumber mills, forced to spend millions to defend their industries.

However, the Kaibab doesn’t qualify as an old-growth forest. Not even close. With the dryness and natural lightning fires that took place, and still happen frequently, before any European or Spaniard ever set foot on that mountain, there were very few areas of the forest that could be scientifically described as “old growth” in the sense that the tree ring counts would show.  Yet, somehow, it was being designated by eco-lobbyists as irreplaceable habitat should further logging occur in the area.  Also, somehow, though the locals could not ever recall having ever seen a Mexican or Western spotted owl in 50 years of logging the area, suddenly there was a nesting pair right in the middle of prime logging.

Why, of course there was.

Then, there was the matter of the creation of the Grand-Staircase and Escalante National Monument. All that need be said of that was that a Democrat president named William Jefferson Clinton, who had a rather new definition of “public service”, took by presidential fiat millions of acres of ranching and recreational lands out of the hands of ordinary Americans and put them into the hands of distantly located technocrats.  What’s more, it was done under the auspices of the American Antiquities Act of 1906 (16USC431-433), which was arguably out-of-date for the circumstances of the present day and age and which should have been subject to voter scrutiny and revision by Congress prior to action thereon.

President Clinton knew that what he was doing was unfair to the people who had cultivated and cared for the lands in their possession (which, by the way, is 9/10 of the law).  Along the lines of 10th Amendment provisions, if we’re going by the spirit of the law and not the Warren court’s twisting of plain-written English, any federally mandated “eminent domain” land possession could be seen as a form of adverse possession.  Clinton was so aware of this, in fact, that he took specific pains to declare the monument while standing not in Utah, the home of the now dispossessed, but in Arizona.  Oh, and he also had the Kanab City Council quarantined when they showed up for the ceremony/press conference–for national security reasons, naturally.  Can’t have them voicing any opposition about the land grab in front of all those cameras.

Finally, to gain a full appreciation for what happens when the federal government takes over land management, one only needs to revisit the disaster that occurred on the lower Dixie National Forest regions near St. George, Utah and Cedar City, Utah.

I happen to know, because I was a forest service employee at Dixie at the time, that in the early 1990s, a huge bark beetle infestation began to overtake the Pine Valley and Cedar Mountain areas of the forest.  It was a completely containable situation had there not been a passel of Sierra Club lobbyists blocking the remedy.  The remedy was to simply spray for the beetles aerially and on the ground to keep the damage to a minimum.  But one mention of the word “chemicals” and “national forest” in the same sentence and the environmental lobby was apoplectic.

I won’t bore you with the details, but basically it amounted to lots of injunctions and legal proceedings that kept the treatments from happening. You can guess what happened next. Huge swaths of pristine lodgepole pine and fir trees were stripped bare of their bark after the voracious beetles ate through the wood underneath. This, of course, caused the needles to turn an ugly brown and shed and the tall trunks of what remained to turned an ashen white color.

Between the time that I moved away from the area as the infestation was just taking hold and when I returned to see the devastation, I literally began to weep. (Imagine that, a conservative weeping over forest devastation caused by liberal eco-lobbyists…is not the world turned upside down?)  I had many fond memories of lying awake at night in my tent while camping on Cedar Mountain (you know, as one of those evil brownshirt Boy Scouts) and listening to the unique sound of wind blowing through the needles of those now bare and dead trees.  It will be decades before those sounds return to their full glory.  And, to top it off, logging to salvage what was left was also completely prohibited, resulting in heightened fire risk, which resulted in more smoke and CO2 emissions that liberals only seem to care about if it’s you they’re coming from.

So, as you can see, the federal government taking over any of the lands belonging to Native Americans and so-called “European Americans” (though, aren’t we all “Native Americans” if we were born here?) is a risky proposition at best, and a criminal one at worst.  Who do you trust to take care of the lands? The people who live there and rely on it or people in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, Washington who deign to visit the area unless they’re suing the locals or enjoying the area recreationally.

But, hey, what do you and I know? We’re just dumb hicks from these sticks.  The only thing we’re good for is serving food in restaurants and making the beds the liberals have lain in.

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