Posts Tagged ‘Wilderness’

Mt Bachelor, Or

Mt Bachelor, Or

I enjoy outdoor recreation.  I hike.  I camp. I mountain bike.  I ride cross-country motorcycles in recreational areas and act responsibly to protect public lands.

Last month the U.S. House approved and Obama signed into law yesterday a bill that unreasonably bans recreation on more than 2 million acres of public land by designating it Wilderness — meaning — no cars, no mountain bikes, no logging, no motorcycles, no permanent structures, no ATVs, no roads, no snowmobiles, no horses, no paragliding, nothing mechanized and no non-human-powered recreation PERIOD

Smith Rock

Smith Rock

The 1964 Wilderness Act cuts right to the point; “an area where earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”  A Wilderness designation means it will continue that way in perpetuity.  Think of it as a sanctuary to be preserved from humans by humans forever.  As example the five trails – Shining Lake, Shellrock Lake, Serene Lake, Grouse Point and Dry Ridge – that were open to mountain bikes is no longer allowed.  In the northwest, areas effected under this bill are: Mount Hood, Badlands, Spring Basin and Copper Salmon.

Before I get a bunch of doomsday comments re; catastrophic consequences… I do care about quality drinking water and am just as concerned about the Arctic ice shrinking as the next person, but this lack of democratic process and lack of public input or opportunity of review prior to becoming law is just another form of filling the federal treasury, adding layers of bureaucracy, and a literal “land grab” by the federal government.  I hold no delusion that the government is making any difference and today I’m temporarily “out-of-outrage”, but at some point people are going to wake up and be tired of this government over-reach!

As background, the bill followed congressional maneuvering which put new life into the measure AFTER it was originally defeated.  Unrelated, lawmakers approved HR146, known as the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Acquisition Grant Program, but at the last minute slipped in a collection of more than 160 pieces of legislation and more than 1,300 pages of text on the recreational ban.  The bill was formerly known as S.22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.  Again Congress’ first attempt to pass measure, S.22 on its own merits, was defeated.  House members never debated more than 70 of the bills included in the package before the vote.  Do you think they read it?!

Have fun out there, but whatever you do don’t touch your favorite huckleberry patch or soak your toes in the Roaring River as that background hum you hear might be a National Forest Service drone patrolling the air space looking for parking pass and Wilderness violators!

Photo of Mt Bachelor from NFD 370 Trail and Smith Rock.

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