I wonder whether this is the time to put more acres into Wilderness. It seems to me that this bill has gone forward for years- and perhaps Covid-enhanced recreation, and the changes due to AGW (anthropogenic global warming), plus the need for domestically produced energy, plus attention to Native American burning, might cause people to rethink what goes in to Wilderness designation and the other designations in the bill. There might be opportunities for renewable energy infrastructure foregone. And what about the motorized community, who seems to be missing from this coverage (but not from TSW)?
For example, designating an area as Wilderness can lead to different fire management strategies.. if AGW is indeed leading to climate-induced holocausts, then would we want to reduce/make more difficult suppression and pre-suppression strategies (put fewer tools in the toolkit, or make it harder to get them out)? Here’s what Greg Aplet of The Wilderness Society has to say what activities are OK in Wilderness. I generally trust what Greg has to say, but I’d be interested in what other people think.
It makes me wonder if this Wilderness bill is more about symbolism or political solidarity-signalling, or perhaps backscratching in some form, than on-the-ground reality, or whether the concept of Wilderness perhaps needs to be rethought in light of the above changes in our understanding, and the science we’re finding out about everything (fire, fuels, climate change, recreation impacts, traditional ecological knowledge, and so on).
The pieces I’ve read sound a bit like a press release from the Senators.
Sen. John Hickenlooper, a member of the committee and a sponsor of the bill, stressed throughout the debate the community-driven nature of the bill, saying it could serve as a model for how public land should be crafted.
“The entire local community, a large part of the state of Colorado, supports these designations and recognize that this is the future and best use for these lands,” he said.
“This is exactly the kind of local, carefully constructed agreement that you’ll find throughout the CORE Act,” Bennet said. “And it’s more evidence, I think, to our Senate colleagues that this bill wasn’t written in Washington. It was written in Colorado from the ground up to ensure that every line in this bill reflects local values and local interest.”
It seems like from our previous discussions that there have also been concerns from the motorized community, but that was not reflected in the article. It’s almost as if some writers think that what (some) politicians say must be true and not worthy of some skepticism. I’m pretty skeptical of what any politician says, myself.
It would be pretty impressive if everyone in those areas agrees.
.. but in an earlier story in Colorado Politics, the local Congressperson claimed:
After the hearing, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Silt Republican who opposes the CORE Act, released a statement saying she hasn’t been consulted about the bill even though roughly two-thirds of the land it affects are in her 3rd Congressional District, which covers most of Colorado’s Western Slope.
“The CORE Act is a partisan land-grab promoted by big-city Democrats who aren’t affected by the land-use bureaucracy that they are shoving down rural Colorado’s throat,” she said.
“While locking up land may sound good to the swamp, it doesn’t work for the people who actually live there.”
Now I get that Boebert is fringy and prone to excessive partisan vitriol, but still I think it is a bit of an overstatement to think that “the entire local community” doesn’t include their elected representative- and she hadn’t been consulted (?) but “everyone agrees”. And here’s another one:
Over a decade ago, rancher Bill Fales was one of many Coloradans who gathered and talked about how to protect the lands outside his backdoor. He said he was discouraged by the tie vote.
“That’s exactly what we have been doing for 13 years,” he said. “We’ve adjusted the boundaries, we’ve adjusted the language, we’ve worked as hard as possible to make to work for our community. It’s why it has virtually unanimous support in our community.”
If you read this story, wouldn’t you want to hear from someone with concerns (besides the aforementioned Congressperson)? After all, there is a quote from someone who agrees (Bill Fales). I’m not sure from this news coverage we get both sides of the issue fairly explained. But what I’m really curious about is why that has been the case for this issue so consistently, even pre-Boebert.