If you have ever been on a hot wildfire, you learn that you have two major concerns. First is the main fire and second is to be on the alert for spot fires that start behind you and the main fire. Those spot fires must be put out quickly for your own safety, all the while controlling the hot main fire that is causing the spot fires. You can’t concentrate on just the spots, as the main fire is making more spots and growing larger, before long you are consumed. You have got to control the source of the spots.
The public forests and lands of the state have been experiencing an increasing number of environmental “spot fires” popping up over the past few years. These have been forest road closures; restricting vehicle use on forest roads; trail development held up; bass fishing on lower Dolores being eliminated; water diversions for irrigation closed down; historical water rights use for the county stopped; a new monument controversy; livestock grazing on Canyons of the Ancients held up; push for a National Conservation Area on the Dolores River; hunters cited into court for driving on a forest road. Now there is a push to introduce wolves into western Colorado. Why? Question: What do all these issues have in common? Answer: They all relate to controls over our local public lands, resources and public’s use of them. What’s happened? Where are all these “spot fires” coming from?
The project of “Rewilding of North America” has been around for over 25 years now and working with about eight key large environmental corporations like Sierra Club, Center for Biodiversity, Grand Canyon Trust, Wilderness Society and more, all in concert as the “Wildlands Network.” It began in 1991, just before the U.N. Earth Summit document “Agenda 21” of 1992, hmm. The Rewilding America project has identified three key “Wild Ways,” Eastern, Pacific and Western, which is the Rocky Mountains and beginning in Mexico and ending 6,000 miles away in Alaska.
Western Colorado just happens to be dead center of this Wild Way. The goal is to make the entire area one where all wildlife roams freely, unencumbered by man. This coincides with the Agenda 21 to concentrate all men in controllable population centers outside of the public forest lands, or should we now say “wildlands”?
To achieve this requires man to be controlled, and the basic tenet of dispersed private-land ownership has to be eliminated to allow non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be in control of the lands and resources via the government. Their vision is to tie all the national parks and monuments together into one very large “wild area” with no intervention by man.
To achieve this, the numerous unconstitutional federal environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Archaeological Protection act, Wilderness Act, and others have been and are being used by the activist non-governmental organizations to gain control over the public lands, waters and resources, using the state and federal land and resource agencies.
For example, after 15 years of resisting following the law to re-establish grazing in the Canyons of the Ancients, the BLM held special meetings with the Grand Canyon Trust and Great Old Broads for Wilderness to apparently get their permission to establish some grazing in the monument, so they would not be sued by the same. Last year, the state and federal wildlife agencies were accompanied by the activist Nature Conservancy nongovernmental organization to shockcount fish in the lower Dolores River below Bradfield Bridge. They took pleasure in throwing out all bass game fish they encountered to die and be wasted, stating, “they don’t belong here!” Uh, just who are they to decide?
The current push to bring in wolves to the Western Slope fits in perfect with the re-wilding agenda and is touted as being necessary to establish balance in the ecosystem. They say the wolves will be able to control the elk and deer populations. Uuhhh, I guess that means hunters are not welcome in the new “Wild Park”? Well, they say “sustainable” hunting may be permitted. Who decides if it will be allowed? Who gets a permit?
What is being ignored is that the private lands, ranching, farming, and mining have developed the balanced environment we enjoy today. There is far more diverse wildlife and habitat today than at the formation of the public lands. The Montezuma National Forest of 1907, now known as the San Juan National Forest, in 1930 estimated there were 150 elk and 900 mule deer on the entire forest. The settling by private land owners and development of ranching, farming and timbering created new viable wildlife habitat and waters that have resulted in higher numbers and diversity of wildlife and habitat. Why do environmental activists want our environment to return to an unmanaged and deteriorating condition? We should be working to build on and further improve the environment that our ancestors started, benefitting both wildlife and man, who is a critical part of the environment.
Here is a map copied from the public website of the “Rewilding Network” that depicts the vision and plan that has been and is currently being worked on to create the “Western Wildway,” a super wildlife park, at your expense. The “spot fires” we have been afflicted with are deliberate actions to consolidate as much control of land and resources as possible into a national/international natural wildlife park, devoid of man’s use and influence. The main “fire source” must be extinguished! In firefighting, you break one leg of the “triangle” of Air (O2), fuel and heat. I postulate the environmental triangle is money, politics and land availability. The land is unconstitutionally in only one holder, the federal government, which is why this “plan” has been working so well. Remove that one leg, placing the controls into the rightful states to squelch the faux environmental fire that is about to consume us.
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.