Friday, December 21, 2012

Privatized Venison Revisited

When considering how much damage a well-funded, plutocratic front-group like Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) can do to the lands and animals that we cherish, it’s critical to reflect on what exactly it is that we have the luxury of cherishing, and why we have it.

Stewart Brandborg (Brandy) published the following commentary in the Christian Science Monitor last month. His subject was the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act (H.R. 4089), a bill that has already passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. H.R. 4089 would evicserate the Wilderness Act, as Brandy so eloquently describes. He is eloquent about the Wilderness Act and the wild lands that we cherish because he was one of the principle architects of the Wilderness Act. We take wilderness—and giants of conservation like Brandy-- for granted now. But think—please. If it weren’t for people like Brandy and his dad, Guy (Bitterroot Forest Superviser, 1935-55; the original "Brandy"), those lands that provide us with our pure water and pure experiences we would literally trade our lives for would have long been carved up and sold off to the highest bidder, just as the uberrich who support Trojan-Horse outfits like SWF would do today if we don't pay attention.
They have already made great inroads in that direction, state by state. Look at the joke of our rogue commissioners appointing a rogue Boulanger to the state senate, just for tiny instance. 

Pay attention: the same crowd that fills our rogue commissioners' meetings now spouting "2nd Amendment" nonsense while simultaneously taking advantage of the unmatched wild amenities (often with snowmobiles!) that Brandy and his dad helped preserve for Ravalli County are the ones who have vilified, threatened and even stalked him over the last couple decades. This same unacceptable behavior has accelerated these last few tea-soaked years--for him as well as for all the rest of us to the left of Attila--because we collectively turned the other way when it was being perpetrated on giants like Brandy previous to this current teabaggery. Now we're all feeling his pain, and we should learn from it. The N.R.A. , as well as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have signed on as supporters for H.R. 4089. If you are a member of either organization, or any other organization listed as supporters, call them up and give them hell.

And give folks like Brandy thanks for being so tireless and passionate in protecting what everyone—including those who would bite their 2nd Amendment-blabbing toungue before admitting it—depends on for their very spiritual and corporeal lives.

For crying out loud. Let’s activate once and for all against this crap.

Note: For one more quick read on SFW, I recommend the following: . Inform yourself and get mad.

Conservationists: Mobilize in defense of American Wilderness Act
Stewart Brandborg | The Christian Science Monitor | Nov, 30 2012
Conservationists and wilderness enthusiasts across America are mobilizing to defeat a bill passed by the House of Representatives in April that would eviscerate the 1964 Wilderness Act. Deceptively entitled the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act, the bill (H.R. 4089) purports to protect hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting. The bill is being pushed by powerful groups like the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International and supported by some of the most anti-wilderness Republicans in Congress. And it would effectively gut the Wilderness Act and protections for every wilderness in America's 110-million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System – everywhere from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness along the Montana-Idaho border that I can see from my home.
The House bill's provisions could still become law during the current lame-duck session of Congress. Though the Senate is considering a different sportsmen’s bill that does not include the harmful elements, the Senate bill could eventually be merged with the devastating House bill in order to pass both chambers.
The Wilderness Act eloquently defines wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." The statute further designates wilderness as an area that retains “its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation” and is “protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions.”
I know the Wilderness Act. I worked alongside my mentor, Howard Zahniser of the Wilderness Society (the bill’s chief author and proponent), from 1956-1964 to gain its passage by Congress. After Zahniser’s untimely passing in 1964, I directed the Wilderness Society for the next 12 years in implementing the new law and in adding new areas to the National Wilderness Preservation System. Congress responded to requests from the American people by adding tens of millions of acres to the wilderness system. Today, that system has grown from the original 9 million acres in 1964 to nearly 110 million acres. The Wilderness Act provides the best and most protective standards of all types of federal public land protection.
But this great legacy of American Wilderness is essentially destroyed by H.R. 4089 in several key ways.
First, H.R. 4089 elevates hunting, fishing, shooting, and wildlife management above wilderness protection within designated wilderness areas. Visitors or wildlife managers could drive motor vehicles and build roads, cabins, dams, hunting blinds, aircraft landing strips, and much more in wildernesses if any of these activities could be rationalized as facilitating opportunities for hunting, fishing, shooting, or managing fish and wildlife.
The only limitation in H.R. 4089 on motor vehicles or development is that the activity must be related to hunting, fishing, shooting, or wildlife management, though that need not be its only or even primary use. In reality, almost any recreational or management activity could be shoehorned into one of these exceptions and thereby exempted from Wilderness Act safeguards.
Perhaps even more troubling, H.R. 4089 would waive protections imposed by the Wilderness Act for anything undertaken in the name of wildlife management or for providing recreational opportunities related to wildlife. This would allow endless manipulations of wildlife and habitat.
This could include logging, if done to stimulate new forest growth on which deer might graze. Similarly, bulldozing new dams and reservoirs could be validated as a way to enhance fishing habitats. Poisoning lakes and streams to kill native fish and then planting exotic fish might be allowed under the guise of increasing fishing opportunities. And predator control (including aerial gunning and poisoning) could be defended for boosting the numbers of popular hunted species like elk or bighorn sheep that predators also eat.
There is no limit to what managers could do in designated wilderness areas all in the name of wildlife management or providing opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. These provisions strike at the heart of the Wilderness Act and its foundational underpinnings to preserve wilderness untrammeled and native wildlife in its natural environment.
Sportsmen and sportswomen – those who hunt and fish – were, and continue to be among the strongest supporters of the original wilderness law, of designating wilderness lands, and of the special quality of fishing and hunting experiences that wild and undeveloped lands provide. Many of these folks are fighting to prevent eviscerating the law and its wilderness preservation safeguards.
For nearly a half-century, the Wilderness Act has protected the finest of America’s wild lands and created a National Wilderness Preservation System that is the envy of much of the world. H.R. 4089 would negate all that we have preserved. In my 60 years of work for wilderness preservation and management, our nation has never been threatened by a more serious attack on this irreplaceable publicly owned resource. Citizens must demand that the US Senate do nothing to advance the House provisions of the so-called Sportsmen’s Heritage Act and instead protect our grand wilderness legacy for future generations.
Stewart Brandborg is a wildlife biologist, former executive director of the Wilderness Society, and a long-time board member of and now senior adviser to Wilderness Watch.

No comments:

Post a Comment