When Monumentizing Goes Wrong?: The Case of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

This is related to yesterday’s post..Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is considered to be a co-managed federal unit between the Cochiti Pueblo and the BLM. It’s been closed for three years.

Here’s a story from KRQE News 13.  The story starts out with how difficult it was to find anything out about the closure and when it might be reopened:

The National Monument was closed to the public in the 2020 pandemic shutdown and it remains closed today. Why? KRQE News 13 went digging for answers.

For months, emails and phone calls requesting interviews with the state’s Tourism Department, the Bureau of Land Management, the Secretary of the Interior’s Office, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez, and Senator Martin Heinrich were answered with replies such as, “We will not be providing a comment or participating in this story at this time.”

Cochiti Pueblo leaders also declined to comment. The BLM updated the statement on its website on April 28, during the weeks of KRQE’s requests for information. Finally, the BLM agreed to chat via Zoom.

“BLM has been meeting regularly with the Pueblo,” said Jamie Garcia, an outdoor recreation planner with the BLM. “We have been in discussions about what reopening looks like.”

This isn’t very transparent.  Conceivably it could have been possible to give that answer sooner. One wonders if the co-management aspect may have made it more difficult to arrive at one answer that could be communicated.

On to the Monumentization aspect:

A ‘Double-Edged’ Sword

Garcia said they’re addressing long-standing issues including over-visitation, staffing needs, and resource protection, alongside Pueblo de Cochiti. “We’ve had such high recreation use and we want to make sure that we are taking a step back and really looking at that big picture item there, and seeing how we can move forward in a more sustainable and responsible way,” Garcia told KRQE News 13.

The Cochiti Pueblo remains closed citing Covid-19 restrictions, blocking road access to the national monument which sits on BLM land. As part of the presidential proclamation, the site is managed by the BLM in “close cooperation and partnership” with the Pueblo.

“I suspect that the designation of the National Monument was a double-edged sword,” said Dr. Smith. “On one hand, it provides resources and legal protections for preservation. But once someone sees a national monument on a map, it’s close to Interstate 25, it’s close to the Albuquerque-Rio Rancho-Santa Fe metropolitan areas — then that just becomes a magnet to draw more people,” Smith explained.


There’s a calculus here.. do more resources show up in enough quantities to deal with the enhanced visitation from Monumentizing? What, I wonder, was the Monument protected from?

Data published in a government-issued 2020 science plan shows visitation levels each year since the monument designation. In 2000, Tent Rocks recorded 14,674 visitors.

In 2001, that jumped to 25,000 annual visitors with the presidential proclamation. And since then, visitation has soared to more than 100,000 people a year before the covid shutdown.

(Tent Rocks Visitations by Fiscal Year )

“But even before the pandemic, I recall seeing activity discussions between the BLM and Cochiti trying to think about how to handle the large crowds, that it was having a detrimental impact on the landscape that they were joint stewards to preserve,” explained Smith.

During Spring Break 2018, KRQE News 13 reported on the massive line of cars waiting to enter Tent Rocks National Monument. Visitors were waiting 90 minutes just to park their vehicles.

“In the past few weeks, they’ve been over-capacity,” said Danita Burns during that Spring Break surge in 2018. “People from Australia, people that are coming in from Japan. It’s quite the destination now,” she said.

Monuments can attract tourists from outside the area.. this may be good for some in local communities, but lead to problems of overcrowding and reduction of the experience for locals and wildlife.

According to the pre-2020 data report, “Current visitation is nearly three times the original planned capacity,” which was designed to hold about 50,000 visitors annually. That’s been a concern for those working at the site.

Dr. Gary Smith with UNM students at Tent Rocks in 1992.

Timed ticketing, fee increases

So, will visits to the monument move to timed ticketing? Garcia says an online reservation system along with a fee increase has been proposed.

“We have not implemented anything yet, but it is something we would like to do, make sure that we can keep up with growing costs of supplies and demand,” Garcia told KRQE News 13.

Meanwhile, locals are still seeing advertisements for Tent Rocks, and still waiting for the monument to reopen. “Oh, I’ll look forward to going back again, for sure,” said Smith.

Dr. Smith said his colleagues and friends have been messaging him, asking for updates about the monument. “Do you think Tent Rocks will open this spring? How long can they keep it closed? You know, so it’s – everyone wants to know,” Smith said.

The Bureau of Land Management says it will update plans for Tent Rocks on its website, but they have yet to provide a timeline on when the national monument will reopen. Part of that depends on when the pueblo decides to open its gates to the public once again.

It seems to me that Monumentizing, in some cases,  is like many politically symbolic activities.  Someone announces something that sounds good and makes a splash… then leave the same old folks with the same pots of dollars and competing priorities to actually carry it out.

53 thoughts on “When Monumentizing Goes Wrong?: The Case of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument”

  1. So the real question here is, do the Cochiti Pueblo people still have access to the monument when it is closed to the general public? I’m assuming yes, in which case it’s pretty obvious what really happened here. The tribe seized on Covid as an excuse to essentially privatize the monument and secure exclusive access to it indefinitely. Little wonder no one is in hurry to reopen it. The tribe already got exactly what they wanted.

    That’s the big fear with so-called co-management. That in reality it will mean monuments are managed for the sole benefit of the tribes and the general public is locked out. That tribal co-management is simply a dog whistle for racially segregated access to public lands. In this case that’s looking pretty well founded.

  2. Our neighbors to the west, the Cochiti and Zia Pueblos, the Santo Domingo and San Felipe reservations, are also being hit hard by the Trump Virus where tribal authorities have been restricting travel for non-members. New Mexico is home to nineteen Indigenous nations.

    The evidence of human history on the La Bajada Mesa has been dated to at least 8000 years before the present where volcanic rock provided the tools needed to harvest the abundant prey that migrated up and down the Rio Grande.

    Fast forward to the 1300s and after consuming nearly every living thing atop Chapin and Wetherill Mesas in southwest Colorado, the Mesa Verdean ancients sojourned east over the continental divide into the Chama and Rio Grande valleys then settled the Caja del Rio Plateau and Santa Fe. The Santa Fe River canyon was the easiest route to traverse the 600 foot La Bajada escarpment but frequent flooding often made the gap impassible for the ox and horse-drawn wagons used by Spanish invaders along the Royal Road or El Camino Real.

    In the 1800s engineers from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway diverted its main line from the craggy promontory building it alongside the Rio Galisteo instead.

    In the Twentieth Century, dynamite, Cochiti Pueblo workers and convicts carved what would become US 85 and Route 66 replete with 23 hairpin turns then I-25 was blasted through the basalt east of La Bajada Village.

    Today, nearby Cochiti Reservoir at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Santa Fe River is a radioactive sewer impounding millions of cubic yards of contaminated silt from decades of bomb making at Los Alamos and the effluent from thousands of upstream septic systems.

    Indigenous Americans and reservations have some of the highest vaccination rates in the country yet rural white, conservative christians would rather get sick and die. Nevertheless, adjusted for age and population Donald Trump killed many more American Indians and Alaska Natives per capita than he did whites.

    Now, another report, this time from the University of New Mexico, adds evidence of his crimes committed in Indian Country.

    This work provides insights into the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on American Indian/Alaska Native patients and highlights the need for interventions and resources to address health disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Navajo Nation, which extends into Utah, Arizona, and NM, surpassed New York as the most COVID-19-affected US region per capita early in the pandemic (May 2020) (22). Within the same period, data from the National Indian Health Board showed that AI/AN individuals accounted for 43% of COVID-19 cases in NM (23). [Disproportionate impact of COVID-19 severity and mortality on hospitalized American Indian/Alaska Native patients]

    • These lands belong to all the American people. If the democratically elected representatives of the people want to transfer land to a particular ethnic group for their exclusive use, that is one thing. But using these underhanded methods of a bogus closure of lands that are supposed to be public and then exempting one group from that is wrong. If “repatriation” is such a noble policy as you seem to believe, then it should have no problem being done openly and above board, right?

      • Remanding public lands to a tribal entity can be done by executive order just like President Jefferson did to complete the Louisiana Purchase but Congress did sign off on the purchase of Alaska from Russia.

        • Not sure that’s actually true, but for the sake of argument let’s say it is. In that case that’s what should have been done here. Let Biden be upfront about it and sign an executive order giving away a prized national monument to a single tribe that intends to lock the rest of the American public out of it forever, and suffer the electoral consequences for that action.

          Don’t hide behind Covid and pretend that’s not what’s happening here. Don’t use tribal “co-management” of national monuments as a way to covertly give away public lands to exclusively benefit a tiny ethnic minority without ever admitting doing it. Again, if “repatriation” of land to the tribes is such a noble thing, then our elected leaders should own that decision.

          And that’s assuming anyone can even figure out the “rightful” owners of the land in the first place, given that all tribal land was first stolen from other tribes in a succession of conquests going back to the first humans to cross into North America. Good luck figuring out who those people were 12,000+ years ago in the unknown depths of pre-history.

  3. “Goes wrong” is in the eye of the beholder. Someone could look at the visitor numbers and public interest and think, wow, this something people really wanted – maybe we should make it a national park, since the Park Service has got more experience (and funding?) to deal with high-demand recreation sites.

    As to the reasons behind the closure, I don’t think there is a conspiracy to keep it closed, but I can imagine some difficulty in agreeing on reopening. The monument proclamation acknowledges its history of “visitors,” and the BLM must manage it under its existing authorities. It is apparently under a temporary closure order, and at some point a challenge to the length and purpose of the closure could be valid.

  4. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Is very beautiful and would like to visit this place on 28 September 2024. Could not contact number anywhere.

    Is it possible someone can inform me about this Monument area allow visitors now or not?

    Thank you very much

    • Doesn’t look like anything has changed with this place recently. I think the Biden administration has made it quite clear they intend to keep the monument closed to the general public forever and henceforth it will be managed to allow access solely for one specific ethnic group. If you’re not the right ethnicity and would like to visit this place, too bad for you.

      • The Pueblo de Cochiti closed the access road, which crosses its land, not the Biden administration. Does BLM have a public use easement across the Pueblo’s portion of this road? If not, tough luck. If so, has it chosen not to enforce its easement and focus instead on resolving outstanding issues amicably, per Clinton’s Executive Order establishing the Monument?

  5. I wonder if all the race-baiting evinced in these comments would be different if Whitey Rancher got tired of the public masses using a road that crossed his private land? Is there a different standard for native people who own private property and, thus, control access across it? Duh, of course there is.

    • And permanently blocked access to a major national monument? With apparently the full approval of the BLM? You bet people would be just as much up in arms then. The real issue here is the BLM has apparently ceded control of an important public asset to a private entity (the tribe) with zero transparency.

      If it was simply an issue of the tribe blocking the road like any other land owner, then there would be clear solutions available. The BLM could either sue the tribe to enforce their existing access easement if they have one, or negotiate to obtain one. (In the case of a regular landowner eminent domain would also be an option to acquire an easement but I don’t know if that is legally allowed for land on an Indian reservation.) Or they could just build a new access road that doesn’t cross tribal land. That’s probably what the BLM should be doing here, but they’re not because they tacitly approve of the tribe closing access to an important public resource forever.

      • Perhaps you have insider access to the private landowner’s thinking? I don’t. What I see is a private landowner who has chosen to close its private road to public use. Absent some evidence that the public has a property right to use this road (I’ve seen none), then I see nothing extraordinary whatsoever about its decision.

        As to whether the BLM is in cahoots with the private landowner to prevent the public from crossing its private land, I see no evidence that’s the case. Do you? A smoking gun, perhaps? No? Count me not surprised.

        Designation as a national monument does not change ANYTHING about private property surrounding the monument. It is ironic, indeed, that you appear to think differently. The BLM land was stolen originally from those who lived there for hundreds of years before the U.S. existed. Now you would steal their private land rights, too? Sheesh.

        • Well the evidence that the BLM is in cahoots with the tribe is plain as day – the co-management agreement. Which apparently means managing the monument to keep the public out. Not too great a precedent given that co-managing federal lands with Indian tribes is all the rage right now. The situation with this monument is a bit unique with the tribe controlling the access road (assuming they actually do and there’s no formal easement, which I rather doubt). But it’s a dangerous precedent nonetheless, and calls into question the intent of all such co-management agreements.

  6. This is the smoking gun that shows the true intent of tribes. They want comanagement as a starting point, and then they will gradually appropriate access to OUR PUBLIC LANDS. This is racism, and a violation of equal rights protections. I hope that actions like this will turn the tide of bleeding heart, woke liberalism attitudes towards Indians… “look what we did to them”, “we stole their land”, etc.

    Indians have all of the same Constitutionally guaranteed rights as every American, and that’s enough. No favoritism, no special treatment, no more welfare. Reservation Indians make up 0.03% of our population. 400 years ago, the Stone Age met the Iron Age, and it happened all over the world. Time to move on.

    • This has nothing to do with race and everything to with history. They retained their rights to self-governance to the extent that the colonizers didn’t take those away, and they have rights to use public lands that may be different from other people as a result of the treaties that removed them from what was their land.

      • John, please. You call everyone who doesn’t believe in the fearful predictions of government climate modelers “deniers,” and now you’re adopting the racist term, “colonizer” for white immigrants. The 13 colonies were certainly the beginning of western society becoming established and then dominating most of North America, but this recent reference to all white immigrants as “colonizers” has a distinct racial bias, as well as being grossly inaccurate. Check a dictionary. Colonists are usually government, military, or religious groups of people that move to another country and establish a colony. That’s why they’re called “colonists.” People that go to other locations for free land, business, or escaping the law are called “immigrants” if they stay, and “visitors” or “invaders” if they are only there temporarily. It’s mostly white people that are promoting these derogatory names, so that part is interesting.

        • Bob, please. Here is a National Geographic response to, who colonized America?: “Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands established colonies in North America. Each country had different motivations for colonization and expectations about the potential benefits.”

          These colonizers and their military then committed genocide as they spread west taking and privatizing land that was used by the Indigenous people.

          As for, “It is mostly white people that are promoting these derogatory names.” My wife teaches writing to graduate students at the Institute of American Indian Arts. I recently attended the last week of class and graduation. Seventy-five percent of the students were Native American this year. I like to go to the last week of classes because the grad students read from their work each evening. Pretty much every Native student uses the term “colonizer” in their writing and their speaking.

          Genetically, I am a European mutt. Technically, I may not be a colonizer, but rather a descendant of colonizers. Some would call the people of European descent who moved West “settlers”, but what did they settle? The land was already inhabited with Indigenous people. Humans. I’m not offended when labeled a colonizer, instead it reminds me of the history of my descendants. Personally, I know I am not responsible for the atrocities colonists/settlers committed, but I am willing to show a little humility when listening to the descendants of the survivors of the genocide of North American Indigenous people. Also, language and the meaning of words is always evolving… dare I mention the word “gay.”

          • Mike.. another point.. the “settlers who moved West” were not the only ones who stole land/invaded/colonized Native Americans. Think the Trail of Tears. Also these folks were not all what we would call “white” today. For example, here’s a history of Hispanics in the Civil War by the Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/articles/hispanics-and-the-civil-war.htm

            And I guess there are the initial colonizers (who took over previous Native American land) and other immigrants through time up until today. If we were to inherit our role as colonizers because our ancestors moved here in the 1920s or 50’s, do people immigrating today inherit the same responsibilities?

            If anyone who is not of 100% Native blood is considered a colonizer or part-colonizer, I’m fine with that, because it’s logical. I’m for humility, and also clarity.

            • Sharon, I just reread what I wrote and saw a mistake, “instead it reminds me of the history of my descendants”. I meant ancestors rather than descendants of course.

              I think Jon’s original use of the term “colonizer” above is correct. Personally, in addition to “settlers”, I would call the US Government in the 1700s – 1800s and stretching into the 1900s (e.g., boarding schools) colonizers. Bob’s point is off base as Jon didn’t use the term colonizer in reference to all White immigrants.

              I’ve heard your point about anyone not 100% Native American as being a colonizer or part-colonizer discussed at IAIA by students and faculty. They agree and I’ve heard readings by students who identify as Native American, but are not full-blooded, try to come to grips with this. Is someone Native American just because they identify as Native American? That is a complex and very long discussion.

              Who is a “colonizer” and who isn’t is all mixed up in historical, genetic and emotional truths. Same with the term I have heard used several times: “colonizer mentality.” Regardless, I’ve come to understand that generational trauma is real among many Native Americans and being referred to as a colonizer (which Jon did not do) is minor compared to the challenges many them face.

              • Mike: My “off-base” response is from the dictionary. You say Jon’s use of the word is “correct” because he didn’t use it in reference to “all whites.” Not sure how you came to that conclusion — he is referring to the people that “took away their rights.” That would be the military and the US government for the most part — not “colonists.” And I didn’t say it was “universal” — I said it was “divisive.” This discussion is one example, but there are many more.

              • I do not believe in “generational trauma”, because it implies a that the trauma is inherited. Instead, I see Indians, particularly reservation Indians, engaging in a newly devised campaign to cultivate disdain for whites – the colonizers – who, by the way are their fellow Americans.

                One example of this is the recent press coverage of Indian boarding schools, which falsely portrays them as torture chambers, while completely overlooking the altruistic goals and achievements. This campaign has been bolstered by Deb Haaland, who’s aiding the divisions between Indians and other Americans.

                This is very much in line with the popular trend of victim culture that has swept through our country., and is abetted by the social justice movement – which has been embraced by many organizations (e.g. Sierra Club)whose mission statements originally had nothing to do with social justice. The motivation for cultivating the disdain for whites in too many cases appears to be economic gain for the tribes, a fact that is clearly demonstrated in the “Indian Iron Curtain” article.

                • I would agree that the idea that supporting disadvantaged groups leads to “disdain for whites” is a good example of white “victim culture.”

                • It appears that generational trauma may be inherited as discussed in this paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6127768/

                  Another, and possibly more common form of generational trauma would fall under the category of secondary trauma, where an individual lives in a household with someone who was traumatized. The stories and the behaviors of the person directly traumatized can impact the people around them causing a secondary trauma.

                  I recently listened to a 65 year-old Native American reading from a book he is writing concerning the challenges his father went through in boarding school. Poor nutrition, physical abuse (rape and punishment), lack of health care, verbal abuse. He was visibly shaking as he read from his writing which is part of his Master’s thesis.

                  I’m just sharing one of many stories I have heard from Native Americans and from my wife who teaches them.

                  I think it is easy for those of us with privilege (I fall into that category as a White cis-gender male) to blow off a story of abuse and trauma from a person with less privilege. It is a way of emotionally trying to protect ourselves as well as protecting our privilege.

                  • Mike, thanks for the link to the paper.
                    FWIW, I don’t think what we think of today as “whiteness” protects us from generational trauma, caused by bad things that happened to our parents- either from trauma associated with racially associated traumas (Boarding Schools, the Holocaust, internment camps in the US for Japanese); non-racially associated traumas such as war, both as soldiers (males were preferentially exposed to this trauma) and civilians; and violence and trauma within the household or institution (think Magdalene Laundries in Ireland); or violence on the street. Bad things that happened to our parents.. or ourselves.
                    In short, there’s plenty of trauma and secondary (and tertiary) trauma to go around.
                    Fortunately there are many resources devoted to healing from trauma.
                    We can feel compassion for anyone suffering from trauma, primary or secondary, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic background, age, or whatever other categories they might fall into.

          • Hi Mike: You are making my point. Thirty years ago I am guessing not a single Native American graduate student used the word “colonizer” to describe white occupation. My observation is that they have been given this word by white academics and that it is racially divisive.

            My ancestors on both mother’s and father’s sides were descended from eastern US colonists in the 1600s, but my father’s side also had Oregon Trail pioneers from the 1850s and my surname comes from my Swiss immigrant grandfather, a dairyman. I don’t know if immigrants or pioneers had ever heard — or thought — of themselves as “colonists,” but I doubt it very much.

            One of my heroes is a Black “Old Oregonian,” Letitia Carson, who was born a slave in Kentucky and gave birth to an eventual matriarch of the Umatilla Tribe while crossing the Oregon Trail in 1845. Were either of them “colonists?” The “settlement” question is another topic.

        • While I agree that the word “colonizer” gets applied loosely these days, and I thought about that, but this is the exact circumstance it is intended to describe.

  7. from BZ – I don’t know if immigrants or pioneers had ever heard — or thought — of themselves as “colonists,” but I doubt it very much.

    How does the saying go… “walk a mile in another man’s moccasins”? The notion that “colonizers” didn’t think of themselves as such doesn’t mean anything. Did they ever stop to ask the locals how they felt? I suspect many words like “colonizer” emerge over time to describe “a thing” (eg Iron Curtain, mutually assured destruction) that already exists. We may not like the term colonizer, but since indigenous Americans bore the impact shouldn’t we accept what THEY prefer?

    And just askin’ — was Manifest Destiny “racially divisive”?

    • Hi Jim: Yes, we can say that Manifest Destiny was racially divisive, but we can say the same thing for slavery and WW II. Or ice hockey or NBA basketball. The fact is that these people didn’t think of themselves as colonizers because they weren’t colonizers. That’s why I referenced the dictionary.

      Manifest destiny was seven or eight generations ago and that seems like a long time to carry a trauma — most people don’t seem to even know who their great-grandparents were or the events in their lives — which likely included serious trauma at some point. Not sure how you would know what “THEY prefer,” but Rap musicians and southern politicians in the 1950s tell me this isn’t always a good idea.

  8. Gotta agree with Jon and Larry above… Evidence suggests Nazis were somehow comfortable with their behavior; altho they they didn’t come up with the word “holocaust” – it applies to them. The echoes and grip of manifest destiny, genocide, slavery persist through the decades, Bob Z, even though discrimination takes different forms today.

    • Jim: My point is that these are human problems that have been clearly documented since biblical times. To say that the US became a “global empire” BECAUSE of “slavery and genocide” is silly, and Larry remarks in other places about the degeneracy of “Republicans” and that he lived in “horror” during the last administration. Hardly a balanced — or rational — perspective to agree with. My thought remains that modern-day “environmentalism,” as promoted through increasing federal dictates and regulations since the 1960s, has a lot of similarities to Russian “Lysenkoism” of the last century.

      Maybe the “echoes” of these practices persist in some people or societies, but the harsh reality is that living people today are actually experiencing these practices. I’m not sure what “evidence” exists that shows Nazis “were somehow comfortable” with genocide — or what that even means — but how about China and several African nations today? How “comfortable” are Americans buying Nike or Apple products?

      My own perspective is that “living memory” and local experience are keys to managing our common resources, as had been the situation throughout human history until recent times, and that divisive politics and name-calling are the very “echoes” we should be calling out and attempting to eliminate. The Republican Party was formed in large part to end slavery in the US, and was successful at the cost of more than 1/2 million American lives. Where are the echoes of that sacrifice and those results? It was a long time ago, and no one has existed for several generations with an actual memory or experience of those events.

  9. Republicans want a police state, Libertarians want anarchy and Democrats just want a good ol’ fashioned representative democracy with its warts and all.

    Because of his brutality during the 1855 Battle of Ash Hollow the Lakota called butcher and war criminal, William S. Harney, “Woman Killer.” Earlier in his military career Harney beat an enslaved Black women to death with a rawhide whip but was acquitted by a white jury.

    Since that time George Custer, Phil Sheridan, George Crook and William Harney all committed crimes against humanity yet their names still besmirch numerous government and geographical features.

    Today, white Republicans and Libertarians in the Northwest have clearly embraced the idea that the ground they live on was seized for them from aboriginal cultures by liberal democrat, President Thomas Jefferson through an executive order that even he believed was unconstitutional. Now, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, US Marshalls Service and state officials are warning of white christianic zealots telegraphing pending violence against law enforcement especially in Oregon and Idaho.

    Redneck crackers brand Black Lives Matter protesters as unemployed slackers but a horde of Huns that takes over a federal wildlife refuge in Harney County to hasten the End Days can call themselves patriots?

    The American Left poses no violent threat to the United States while the hate-filled extreme white wing of the Republican Party always will.

  10. BZ – I’m not sure what “evidence” exists that shows Nazis “were somehow comfortable” with genocide

    There is a new Broadway play out now based on a recovered photo album displaying the life of those managing a concentration camp. They appear to be “living the good life” while executing thousands – you decide.
    My view is that once people step over the threshold to actually commit horrendous crimes, they’ve rationalized and legitimized their conduct (Jan 6th). Which speaks to the larger issue of our human capacity for terrorism and genocide. Dialing it back down, there might actually be an analog here to CC’ing PNW forests – I think the “profits” and “feel good” elements of great accomplishment in the FS blinded the agency to the harsher consequences of the regime. In my experience, the PRIDE in the retiree community associated with those years leaves little room for 2nd guessing.

    • So, I’m not from those years .. but I think there’s a fair amount of pride (hubris) associated with folks involved in developing the NW Forest Plan. It would be interesting to see non-involved folks take a look at lessons learned… so far that hasn’t happened as far as I know. How can we remove hubris on both sides from the calculations of what worked and what didn’t?

      • Worth noting that NF line officers were left out (kept out?) of the “room where the NWFP happened”. My take is that they’d demonstrated their mgmt chops for 40 years and… look at results – as Judge Dwyer said, “willfully violated the law”.
        Norm Johnson co-authored recent book with Jerry Franklin and Gordy Reeves (Making of NWFP, OSU Press), and, yes, I think there was abundant pride in evidence there. They earned it I think! The NWFP was an incredible accomplishment, bending the arc of resource mgmt toward a better destiny.
        It’s fair to say I was “not involved” but had a lot to say about lessons learned through implementation challenges for 7 years, and beyond. It wasn’t perfect, but damn good – and could be massaged to work through knot holes.

        • Jim, I have three thoughts here:
          1) Was NWFP generally a good thing? Depends on how you weight different values. Mostly I would say I’m agnostic, because some pieces seemed silly to me (like some of the monitoring); some didn’t work as intended (Adaptive Management) and so on. I don’t know all the pieces.
          2) Meanwhile, for the amount of money spent, I think the USG should do a lessons learned by people not involved. It’s a pet peeve of mine that the FS does them for wildfires, but the USG apparently can’t do them for, say, the NWFP; Covid response, and we could make a list… that question being not “was it a good thing?” but “what could have been done better?”
          When you say “could be massaged” I wonder if you mean the same thing as I do. My point being that people with different worldviews and experiences should be involved in determining what to massage.

          3) As to humility, I think it’s always a good thing and pride is always a bad thing, but those are just my personal values.

          • “could be massaged…” – to me means I found the Plan to be malleable, not rigid. I think many used excuses, rather than artfully work through difficulties.

  11. Hi Jim: I was quoting you on the “evidence” question. Pretty much in agreement with what you are saying, but just glad that the so-called “horrendous crimes” of “Jan 6th” were videotaped. Same with the 2020 BLM riots. That puts everything into context, both historically and politically.

    • BZ- veering into politics here, but OK with me. The premise of Jan 6th insurrection was a “stolen, corrupt election”. BLM – George Floyd killing. Same/same? Don’t think so.

      • Hi Jim: Not too interested in discussing politics. You were the one that veered into “Jan 6” and declared that “horrendous crimes” were committed that day — I just responded to your obvious bias.

        You do bring up Norm n’ Jerry’s efforts in a favorable light, though, and it may surprise you that I actually did some work and was paid by Norm at that time for my research on behalf of the “Gang of Four.” Obviously, my documentation didn’t match Norm’s computer printouts, so I was let go fairly quickly and ended up responding to the Clinton Plan on behalf of industry.

        You may have missed my analysis and the subsequent discussion regarding the videotaped promotion of their book: https://forestpolicypub.com/2023/06/04/norm-johnson-jerry-franklin-the-history-of-wild-science/

        I’d be interested in your thoughts — but not on politics — regarding some of the statements made on the video. The index is so you don’t need to sit through all 60 minutes.

            • If your facts and documentation lead you to think that crimes were not committed on January 6, and the fact is that many people have actually been convicted of those crimes, then that might lead someone to question your “facts and documentation” behind other conclusions on TSW topics.

  12. Out of the 716 individuals who participated in the January 6th riot, 140 were facing serious financial hardships such as Bankruptcies, Judgments/Liens, and Foreclosures/Evictions. Further, the level of violence among the “Financial Hardship” group is also significant. Of the 140, 59 of them allegedly engaged in violence (or 42.14%). The greatest number were Judgment or Lien defendants. Of the 70 bankrupt defendants, 27 (or 38.57%) engaged in violence. Of the 111 defendants with prior Foreclosures/Evictions, 43 (38.73%) engaged in violence. This leaves the defendants with prior Judgments or Liens: of the 117 that fit that criteria, 50 of them (42.7%) allegedly engaged in violence.



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