Multiple Use Art and Photo Contest #proudtobeamultipleuseagency

This post follow up on our discussion here of the “BLM photo kerfuffle” (what is the web version of “imaginary tempest in a teapot”?) (Huff Post 0, E&E news, 1)

Everyone here knows I love me my recreation, but I wonder how some statutory missions are seen (and by whom) to be more OK than others (Parks, yes, BLM and FS no, wilderness, yes, other land allocations, no). Since multiple use was a part of the deal originally done with the western counties (as Ron Roizen has pointed out) and it is statutorily required (AKA the current law of the land), I’d like to explore why this might be the case. For example, when was the last “Multiple Use Art Show” you saw? If cities can be seen as beautiful (where people do stuff), why can’t landscapes where people do stuff be equally beautiful? Or are animals grazing only beautiful if they are wild, or in other countries? How does it work, is scenery with hiking people beautiful, fishing people OK, hunters not so much, ATV-ers questionable, coal mines a no-no, and so on. How about other land uses, like gas lines to hospitals or cell towers?

If I were a Rich Person, I might fund art and photography and writing contests that reflect and honor multiple use. However, there doesn’t seem to be a group that provides that kind of support for the concept of multiple use. Perhaps that’s why it has such a low profile. Or perhaps each “use” sticks to itself, or subdivides into groups (e.g. motorized and not recreation), that compete with each other.

I’m curious what others think about this. To kick this off, I posted a photo of elk grazing on a reclaimed methane drainage well site (methane drainage wells from an underground Colorado coal mine).


  1. Good question, Sharon. If I might add another example: Funny how “thinning the herd” [i.e., of excess grazing wild animals] seems to have a quite different moral valence from “thinning a stand” [i.e., of excess trees]. Maybe you’re right. And Kant too. Any one of these exemplars is a “ding an sich.” No principles, no generality, no sense of rationality need apply! Thanks!

  2. Random thoughts: (1) BLM putting big coal seam front and center on their website doesn’t bother me from a multiple use standpoint. It bothers me from a “why are you hyping declining coal” standpoint.
    (2) I don’t object to all ATV activity. Oregon Dunes is world-class and I thought it was cool to see a family of well-behaved riders traveling respectfully to a remote campsite (with permit) to teach their kids about nature and appreciate the beauty of special places. (3) If loggers like logging more than wilderness, I think it’s also OK for conservationists to prefer wild(er) places. FS perception of “balance” was heavily skewed toward logging til about 1990, so what’s wrong with pro-logging factions feeling the pro-environment pinch now?

    • Jim, it sounds to me as you look at a “a picture of people looking at a coal seam” and see “hyping declining coal” and I see “interesting geological patterns” and “one of BLM’s responsibilities.” You see “hyping” and I see “acknowledgement”. The great thing about this blog is that we get to exchange our different perspectives and hopefully get a broader picture of diverse views.

      And with regard to acknowledgement, certainly the fact that something is in decline (say old people) doesn’t make them (us) and the less valuable and worthy of photographic notice :)?

      At the risk of sounding like the redoubtable Jack Ward Thomas- the timber wars are over and clearly the timber industry lost- almost 30 years ago now. I wonder if we started with a clean slate, with the issues of today, would the problems and solutions look different?

      • Well, well, well, looks like the rotation program just published another picture today (Friday) of aan oil pipeline. Wonder if all the environmental combat organizations and militant media will fabricate a lie about this one too. The entire environmental movement has become something repugnant and that is too bad because nature is mostly wat I write about. Spoke once again to a BLM employee who also confirmed that this computer generated weekly rotation program & photos was origined by te previous administration and not the present hated one. But they will milk the negative publicity (even though it’s a lie) for all it’s propaganda value.

  3. Jim

    Re: “so what’s wrong with pro-logging factions feeling the pro-environment pinch now?”
    –> Balance is better especially when uninformed “pro-environment” is really pro-unhealthy federal forest policy. No one that I know expects the federal forests to be managed intensively like industrial forests. However, allowing overly dense forests and the subsequent reduced ability to ward off insects and disease while increasing the risk of catastrophic loss to fire from proximity and fuel loads and loss to drought from excessive competition seems to be a win that any true environmentalists would be ashamed of. Why are large losses of endangered/threatened species ok if “hands off” forest policy causes it but even remote possibilities of small loss from habitat preserving forest management is unacceptable to the faux environmentalists?

    • “Why are large losses of endangered/threatened species ok if “hands off” forest policy causes it but even remote possibilities of small loss from habitat preserving forest management is unacceptable to the faux environmentalists?”

      I think this is rhetorical question. In situations where a small short-term loss would prevent a larger loss later, I don’t think anyone would oppose it (and such projects do occur). Where there is opposition it is more likely because of disagreement about the science and assignment of risk, especially since the likelihood of the larger loss in the future is uncertain compared to the immediate effects of action.

      • Jon

        I’ve seen several here and elsewhere where legal actions were taken for very small stakes contrary to your statement: “In situations where a small short-term loss would prevent a larger loss later, I don’t think anyone would oppose it”. And we’ve seen it for larger stakes to protect drinking watersheds, the legal game put off the treatment until the expected disaster occurred – not much sense of balance or priorities by the plaintiffs or the existing law and courts to act judiciously in a timely manner.

        • I agree that there are examples of lawsuits about what seem to be small stakes. I’m not sure they are about trading off what the plaintiffs want in the short-term for something they want in the long-term. More likely they are about trading off what the plaintiffs want for something somebody else wants.

  4. I think most industries already have a “group” to help corporate images. They can afford to do whatever greenwashing they think will help the bottom line, and if they thought utilitarian images would help then they would promote that (they do both of these things). (I do think there is a need for “groups” to tout the benefits provided by government regulations and services through our tax dollars, since using tax dollars for PR quickly becomes a lightning rod, doesn’t it.)

    • Jon, not quite sure what you mean. Let’s take the recreation industry, the ski industry, the oil and gas industry, the timber industry, the grazing industry, and the power industry (who has permits for powerlines and pipelines… and so on.

      In the Region I last worked in, the ski, oil and gas and coal industries were corporate entities who had lawyers and were not afraid to use them. And this was a fair fight because the bigger environmental groups could and did go toe to toe with them (except for maybe the ski areas). The timber and grazing folks were not even in the same league The idea of “corporate image” and groups like the Intermountain Forest Association or just are not in the same ballpark. That is not in any way to disrespect the work those groups do. While I have disagreed with them, I do respect their thinking and their work.

      • We’re probably on different pages. I was taking off from “there doesn’t seem to be a group that provides that kind of support for the concept of multiple use.” “That kind of support” seemed to be about things that “honor multiple use.” My point is there is less need of that for uses that are well-equipped for self-promotion. On the other hand, owls and hellbenders actually need some help. If your point is that ‘bigger environmental groups’ are more powerful than industry groups (not just more visible), I’d be pretty skeptical (in part because non-profits can’t make campaign contributions).×100.jpg

          • That’s an interesting website (heard of them but had never looked at them). Most environmental groups don’t play this game, but a few do (and they actually compete better than I thought). For comparison:
            Oil & gas $15.0 million
            Forestry and forest products $2.4 million
            Livestock 1.8 million
            Mining $1.7 million
            Environment $1.4 million

            But the really big money (by a factor of 100) is in “super pacs.” We don’t get to know as much about them, but just a hunch that the environment is a bit player there.

          • Sharon, the Sierra Club is not a tax-deductible non-profit, i.e., not a 501(c)(3). The IRS stripped the Club of its charitable status decades ago. Donations to the Sierra Club are not tax deductible for the donor.

            The Club is an outlier in this respect. The other players you know and love (CBD, Wilderness Society, Audubon, etc.) are tax-deductible charities. They cannot spend $ on partisan politicking, as can the Sierra Club.

              • Anyone and everyone, from Karl Rover to Obama, can create a 501(c)(4) political action committee. Donations to a (c)(4) are not tax deductible for the donor. Donations to a (c)(3), e.g., FSEEE, are tax deductible (hint, hint!). FSEEE cannot endorse candidates or do anything that resembles partisan electoral politicking. FSEEE can lobby on issues within limits set by IRS rules.

                Private corporations and individuals, however, can spend freely on federal campaign-related activities, so long as their spending is done independently of the federal candidate. So said the Supreme Court in Citizens United. First Amendment advocates, i.e., those skeptical of government regulation of individual speech, applaud the Court’s decision. Progressives, who believe government is a needed check on oligarchy by a wealthy elite, view the Court’s decision as lethal to their cause.

                • Andy, I don’t think I’m a “progressive” in the early 21st century meaning (but as I told the President of my progressive theology school, I don’t think I’m “regressive” either). I disagree with Citizens United also but I think it’s another example of courts getting a certain set of facts, portrayed by different lawyers, with random judicial thoughts coming to a silly, or more charitably, suboptimal conclusion. I saw that many times in my Forest Service career but the stakes were smaller.

                  • Sharon, you seem to have issues with the purpose of the judicial branch of government. It is not to produce “optimal” solutions. It is to interpret the laws and Constitution. Yes, judges are not experts in the subject matter, make mistakes and have biases, and that may lead to outcomes that sometimes look silly. But when parties can’t resolve disagreements among themselves (including with assistance from mediators), is there a better way?

                    The insidiousness of Citizens United is that facilitates corruption of the process that chooses judges – through buying those who appoint judges, or campaigning for judges directly in jurisdictions where judges are elected. Most recently, there was a lot of pro-corporate money targeted at the Senate vote on Justice Gorsuch.

                    I don’t see a conflict between being in favor of free speech and against Citizens United. You just have to believe that real people have more rights than corporations (which after all are created by people).

  5. Sharon: “one of BLM’s responsibilities…” Does this equate to just getting the coal mined and into markets or does this responsibility confer upon DOE and BLM the need to MANAGE federal coal resources in such a way that it benefits current and future generations. If you accept climate change as real and largely human caused (as I do), might the proper mgmt choice be to REDUCE or even suspend leasing, production, and consumption? If market forces (e.g. cheaper natural gas) are supplanting coal in energy production, why seek to put even more inefficient coal on the market?

  6. President not a dictator, as I recall from Democracy 101… And Trump was promising primarily coal jobs, not coal, per se. We’ll see how it goes. I predict most out of work miners will be very disappointed.

    • Jim

      Considering North Korea, Syria, Iran, ISSIS/ISIL, Russia, China and maybe a few others, that don’t come to mind right now, there appears to be a need to stop their use of negotiating to buy time to strengthen their position; I’m not so sure that “We’ll see how it goes.” Some of them would seem to be willing to blow up the world with nukes than loose their power and hopes to dominate the world. We don’t know who will blink and who won’t. So, any way that you look at it the only peaceful solution is surrender and a lot of us would rather die than do that. Make America Great Again 🙂 🙁

      It kind of makes everything that we discuss on this blog seem rather unimportant right now. Praise God, that I know Him in whom I have believed.

      Sorry, to get off of the blog’s agenda but, I feel a real need for heavy prayer for this world at this time.

  7. Gil: Might surprise you to know that I am a Christian, and former board member of Evangelical Environmental Coalition. When I said “we’ll see how it goes” I was merely referring to promised resurgence of coal, not the existential question of which Earthly powers will ultimately prevail. I too would like to see America prosper, yet I suspect even what that looks like might differ in our eyes. Just sayin’ I’m not buying into Trump’s road map.

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