Respect the Rivers

(photo by Julie Sutor, Summit Daily)

Here’s a link to a great story about the Dillon Ranger District helping people learn to protect streams by changing their behavior. Given our previous discussions this week about the use of litigation as a tactic, one response would be to litigate to force the FS to prohibit dispersed camping. But that would punish the good campers, and chances are the bad would continue to do it illegally, and there will probably never be enough staffing to patrol for dispersed campers. Just a possible example of how 20th century solutions may not fit 21st century problems.

3 thoughts on “Respect the Rivers”

  1. I have a question Sharon. Since you brought up Colorado and considering the Lynx designation. Wouldn’t it be possible to litigate and force the USFS to close vast colorado wildernesses to “hiking” (non-motorised recreation). Ya know, just to monkey wrench and mock the whole ESA thing. Certainly the USFS hasn’t adequately analized the “effects” of it. Probably haven’t analized it at all. Certainly I’d win that one-and make a good living. Of course Judge Molloy would have to agree. Here we have dozens oftens of thousands of noisy enviros driving away the Lynx from millions of acres of critical habitat every weekend. You’ve seen the trailheads in summer. Wouldn’t that be a fun headline- “enviros demand change to ESA”.

  2. Smokey’s question, “Would you like to see dispersed camping be a thing of the past and have everyone pay $10.00 a night for a site?”, is a microcosm of a long-standing debate pitting free-market environmentalists against government progressives.

    Free-market environmentalism answers Smokey’s question with a resounding “yes.” Proponents blend the liberal economic theory of Adam Smith’s invisible hand with Niskanan’s budget-maximizing bureaucratic behavior. From this shotgun wedding, free-market environmentalism promotes direct links between what the public demands (by its willingness to pay) and the bureaucrat’s budget (by its ability to keep what is paid).

    Government progressives, exemplified most famously by Forest Service spiritual founder Gifford Pinchot, seek to expand government control over economic activity. To progressives, the national forests represent representational democracy’s distribution of wealth to assure “the greatest good to the greatest number for the longest time,” as determined by scientifically-trained professionals assumed to have altruistic motives.

    I enjoy the company of friends and colleagues from both camps, especially when they have taken the time to introspectively shake the cobwebs of their personal philosophies and understand from whence they came.


Leave a Comment