GRATEFUL FOR YOUR HELP
“You should take this website and shove it up your XXX! What makes everything your business? Tree hugging, save the animals, downright invasive XXX!”
Most of these pleasant exchanges come to me personally. This one was posted on our website and the number of Xs don’t necessarily match the anatomical references in the original posting!
Despite the anonymous message above, let us express our deepest appreciation for all of you good members and friends and your decades of kind and generous support and always clear, wild voices.
We have chosen an unusual path, not out of laziness, helplessness, or omission (and hopefully not out of some kind of self righteousness or aggrandizement.) We ask only our members and a few friendly business souls to fund the High Uintas Preservation Council. No foundation or grant writing. Our members fund HUPC and give it a voice. Our web site doesn’t even have a “click here” for a donation from some plastic card...you have to write a check or stuff an envelope with cash!
Understand, please, that we are not passing any kind of judgment at all on grant writing or plastic cards. It is just that we chose to do this 11 years back when we started this endeavor; we felt good about that path and not too surprisingly it reflects who we are and what we are capable of doing. We have had folks, very good people, who have said our goals are not lofty enough, our publication too plain, our website not interactive enough for donations. and our unwillingness to seek large foundation grants a hinderance to the growth of HUPC (or even protecting the Uintas.) And they took their donations elsewhere.
Growth upon growth. We struggle with that. We hope we are helping the wildness of the Uintas. We do the best we can. I still have to put a pencil on a paper topographic map to draw a boundary--it is like feeling the ground when not there. We struggle to make wilderness/wildness real, personal, an exploration of the spiritual, the aesthetic, the life of and living wildness. Of course, wilderness is good for wildlife, for example, but to the old sway-back moose limping along the shore of Hidden Lake, the importance rings so loud that it is nearly deafening--or should be! It is home for “others” much the way Ogden, SLC, Vernal, Moab, or Logan is our home.
Home is different than habitat. Home is more than important, far beyond a resource we call habitat. It is what my old moose knows. He doesn’t wander randomly looking for a willow to nip. He is living in the only world he can ever know and he knows it with the same depth we know our neighborhood, our way to work or to play. But where we have invaded every world within the world, as discussed in a recent article in Science News, in which we were labeled as the penultimate invasive species, my limping, sick old moose is where he is, where only he can be and that is where he will perish. Probably gone by now--let us hope that his end was met in the silence of his place, not within earshot of growling ATVs, a whining snowmobile, or a gawking wildlife watcher, for that matter.
The Forest Service has conveniently swept away all of these lives and replaced them with resources--ATVs are now a recreational resource to sustain our happiness. Wilderness has been turned into a resource, for that matter, for our outfitters and guides and hiking boot salesmen, sleeping bag producers, tent makers and a resource for all of the new gadgets we now think we need to have. Alpine meadows are resources for sheep and habitat for bighorn sheep. Streams are resources for fishermen who fish for non-native rainbow trout and for irrigators--habitat for native fish. And more often than not that habitat is further degraded as it conflicts with domestic sheep or deep powder snow for high marking snowmobilers. Forests are resources for loggers and habitat for pine marten which almost always conflicts with the resource. But the truth is the forest is HOME to pine marten--the only HOME pine marten knows and will ever know. It isn’t habitat--that is our-talk. It is pine marten’s HOME.
To some degree we are all guilty of this language of resources. Our organizations must grow, our budgets must grow--you get the picture.
Go slowly and quietly into the woods and maybe this will become clearer, more personal to each of us.
But that is why it is our business and why we should welcome stuffing it deep inside ourselves. Thank you all kindly for your wild voice!