April 2016

Waste not, want not

By Dexter Gill

Oh, no, we just hit that elk that jumped out in front of us! This is going to be an expensive fix on the truck. We better call the CP&W for a salvage permit so at least the elk meat won’t be wasted.

What are those elk doing here by the highway, anyway? Well, the best forage is in the open right-of-way and the ranchers’ pasture, since the forest trees are so thick. Anyway, let’s not waste the resources our Creator provided for us!

I find it interesting that there is such a push to not waste wildlife, food, water and to recycle almost everything — paper, plastic, oil, clothes, glass, metals. However, some say we should not recycle or even use trees, which are naturally renewable.

On the one hand they demand we end the use of so-called non-renewables like coal, oil, and gas that may produce some pollutants, while demanding the renewable trees be left to rot and burn, producing way more pollutants than the non-renewables. The burnt wood renewables are then left to be wasted while you and I pay to import needed wood products from Canada, Chile, or Germany.

What is wrong with this picture? Why do some people not want the forests to be managed, used and improved, benefitting the local environment, community, economy and recreational opportunity?

The recent concerns over the massive acres of dying spruce trees in northern Colorado have now spread here to Southwest Colorado, and brought up the question of what to do. Do we harvest the dead spruce and pine trees, benefitting the forest environment and local economies and protecting the watershed? Or do we waste them by letting them rot and burn over a period of time, as the faux environmental activists want?

Wouldn’t recycling be the best option? After all, the recycling would pay for itself while improving the future forest, making use of the wood resources, providing jobs and building the economy. Unfortunately that makes too much sense for some; besides, there is a problem, we no longer have sufficient industry to make timely use of the huge volumes in need of treatment.

This problem was created by unrealistic and bad federal policies initiated by the faux environmental activists that wanted to prevent use and access, thereby allowing waste to take place, and bankrupting much of the industry.

Unfortunately, this problem cannot be corrected in the short term for three reasons. First, the federal policy process is controlled by the faux environmental groups. Second, wood-products markets have largely been filled by our importing the products from other countries more cheaply than we can produce them here under the federal policies and regulations.

Third, much of the damage is occurring in areas that have foolishly been removed from conservation management, such as so-called wilderness, roadless, sensitive areas, viewscapes and even slope-limited areas. Houston, we have a problem! New policy: We Can’t!

How in the world did this culture of wasting the forests develop? It all started with Congress refusing to follow the Supreme Law of the Land, resulting in 640 million acres (nearly one-third of the entire U.S.) of misconceived public lands, which are not really publicly owned at all.

The faux environmental movement got a kick-start with the international population-control organizations. One of the faux groups came up with the brilliant idea of using the public lands in the West to “rewild America.” The plan was and is to remove man and man’s influence from the public lands, leaving them to the whims of nature.

Numerous nonprofit activist groups have jumped on the money train, receiving millions of dollars of our tax money from federal grants, and Equal Access to Justice Act funds, and foundation grants to sue the Forest Service, BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service, to stop conservation management from taking place and to restrict and close public access and use of public lands and resources.

That is their big business operation of stopping economic use and access of public lands.

One such group has over 100 employees, with more than one-third of them with legal training to file lawsuits. This group has been working on the rampant human population problem, which they claim is causing wildlife to become extinct. They are proud of their “Endangered Species Condoms” project. I was pretty excited about that one until I found that their special condoms were for you and me, not the endangered species. I really wanted to see how they got a condom on a spotted owl. Oh, well.

These groups identify recreation uses such as mountain bikes, jet skis, motorbikes, ATVs, Jeeps and All livestock and of course all mining and timber use as needing to be restricted and eliminated to save the public lands and resources to be rewilded.

It is interesting how we have been duped into believing that the wealth of our natural resources and society are going to deteriorate and the environment will collapse unless man is stopped from producing food, shelter, using and improving the public lands and the resources thereon. Wasting the resources our Creator provided for us will leave us and our fellow man wanting! Waste not, want not!

Dexter Gill is a retired forest manager who worked for private industry, three Western state forestry agencies, and the Navajo Nation forestry department. He writes from Lewis, Colo.