The Denver Post reports on efforts to get more wilderness in Colorado, and it’s picked up by the AP.. interesting to take a look at this article and compare it to the Gold Standard of Journalism here. I am a fan of interior West newspapers, but please Denver Post, don’t have annoying music and videos when we simply want to read a story!
Here’s an excerpt:
Population growth and the development boom in the West are propelling the efforts to establish wilderness protection while it’s still possible. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials found, in a 2013 survey, that 70 percent of Coloradans consider wilderness or undeveloped open lands offering solitude very important or extremely important. And 72 percent ranked protection of more land as wilderness as “high-priority” or “essential” — an even higher proportion of residents than the high percentages favoring more forest campgrounds, community trails, urban greenways and parks.
But Congress consistently has failed to deliver on most wilderness proposals.
“We need to set aside land and protect it as much as we can,” said San Juan County Commissioner Scott Fetchenhier, who went to Washington recently as part of a delegation of elected officials.
The locals extolled “economic values” of preserving nature — fellow San Juan County Commissioner Ernie Kuhlman has said that, with the demise of mining, wilderness that enables recreation is Colorado’s new gold.
My question is what “development” is wilderness preserving “nature” from? I’d think, as a person who spent time making comparison tables of “things allowed in wilderness” and “things allowed in roadless areas,” that you could be more specific about the benefits of a wilderness designation. Perhaps your thinking would be “no mountain bikes”- it’s impossible to tell exactly from this article. But since the population in Colorado is growing, it’s likely to be more crowded in the backcountry whether it’s a designated wilderness or not. In fact, the CPW study cited in the story says “undeveloped open land” into which roadless areas, as well as other designations, would also fit.
Colorado ranks sixth among states for its amount of federally designated wilderness areas but has had few new designations recently. The state’s population is meanwhile growing at nearly twice the national rate.
What on earth does the state’s population growth have to do with designation of wilderness? This article seems to assume that these two concepts are related. It almost sounds as if the person who wrote this, or the group that spoke to them is thinking that houses will be built unless the area is designated wilderness. Maybe the lack of new designations means simply that enough was already designated? It seems to me like this article seems to simply accept the logic presented in (a press release? an interview with TWS?) without asking reasonable questions about the assertions made.
From the Gold Standard piece by Vince Byzdek here:
This method involves a kind of triangulation – seeking out multiple authoritative sources, vetting them thoroughly, disclosing as much as possible about the sources, and allowing people who are accused or challenged in our stories to have the chance to comment before we publish the stories. That means always including opposing views.<