GRATITUDE AND GRIT
Well, good friends of HUPC, we just finished our fifth full year! And to all of you we lay out our THANK YOU as plainly as we can.
I've been doing this sort of stuff since 1975 when I went to work with The Wilderness Society, then the Utah Wilderness Association and now the High Uintas Preservation Council. But this full 5 years seems remarkable because we have found so many friends, so many truly wild voices and good cheer!
Our bi-monthly LYNX and annual reports spell out the things we've accomplished and have yet to see completed. Self aggrandizement is not one of our strong points because the issues we face are on a long continuum and pop up over and over and over. I hear so many people within our community talk about democracy in one breath and then in the next lament that we've yet to "win;" that we now must draw the proverbial line in the sand and will not allow it to be crossed. That is not the nature of democracy. Regardless of what particular side(s) of an issue we find ourselves on when somebody finally declares a final victory, one can be certain democracy has been vacated!
HUPC has tried hard to keep this perspective in mind. We do know we can't succeed without a powerful and vigorous membership-- you provide the foundation for the vision we pursue. We know we can't succeed without a meaningful working relationship with the Forest Service and that we have and are proud of that. We should "never mince our words" and vigorous appeals and lawsuits are part of our little bag and have been used. Like everything else we've won and lost. We prefer to meet with District Rangers, Forest Supervisors, Regional Foresters and their staffs. We work very hard to influence, cajole, provide data and information, laugh, banter and always act with integrity and dignity based on our vision: Imagine a mountain defined by the creation of life, not the production of resources.... We've found only a few that don't want, indeed some crave, such a discussion. We have to believe that this is the only way to build the genuine politics Vaclav Havel writes about. It is the wrap that surrounds the history of change.
"Genuine politics-- politics worthy of the name, and the only politics I am willing to devote myself to-- is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community, and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral be cause it is a responsibility, expressed through action, to and for the whole, a responsibility that is-- what it is "higher" responsibility only because it has a metaphysical grounding: that is it grows out of a conscious or subconscious certainty that our death ends nothing, because everything is forever being recorded and evaluated somewhere else, somewhere "above us," in what I have called the "memory of being."
Vaclav Havel, Summer Meditations
A classic case is the decades of work that went into a final decision that assures the small reservoirs within the High Uintas Wilderness on the Lake Fork and Yellowstone River will be decommissioned and the lakes returned to their natural elevation and function. I've gone through three Forest Supervisors, a batch of District Rangers, three or four Regional Foresters, a bunch of political decision makers at every level, uncounted numbers of Forest Service staff, water users, water masters , threats, warnings... and finally, one day, it was "completed." Of course, it should have been done years ago.
But it is now. Or is it? Now we will again have to sit and discuss with the Forest Service whether this should be done with or without motors. And we still haven't even figured out how to deal with the reservoirs on the Uinta River headwaters within the HUW. Over and over, on and on.
No better example of over and over, on and on is the roadless inventory. Since the 1970s we've worked on at least three formal roadless inventories and numerous forest planning processes which also dealt with roadless inventories. As far back as the early 1920s there were at least two formal roadless-type inventories. Four decades later President Clinton did the end-all roadless inventory and President GW has basically ended it!
Wilderness, grazing, road building, and timber harvesting are all issues that predate, by decades, the discussions today. In the end, it will be your wild voices tethered to the Uintas through the Wasatch and Ashley National Forests that will assure the Uintas will be a haven of wildness, not another innocent or guilty accident of bad management!
Our concerns are clear and defined by our mission and vision statements. Exotic domestic sheep, cows and mountain goats on the Uintas should be replaced by wolves and bighorns sheep. Logging replaced by insects, pathogens, wind, fire and lightning. Exotics like rainbow trout replaced by natives like Colorado or Bonneville cutthroat. Cougar should be able to kill bighorn sheep and elk, wolves stalk moose, black bear and coyotes roam freely.
But if we think we will simply pound grazers, loggers, road builders or snowmobilers deep into some hole, even with the profoundly growing ecologically- based knowledge that also pops up everywhere, we are practicing illusional thinking. Pounding and being pounded are really one and the same.
Herein lies a terrible and worsening dilemma--one worthy of far more space and reflection. AND HERE AND NOW WE OFFER, URGE AND ENCOURAGE YOU, OUR MEMBERS, AND READERS OF THIS NEWSLETTER, TO PEN YOUR THOUGHTS AND SUBMIT THEM TO THE LYNX FOR PUBLICATION (see Editor's Note at bottom). IF VACLAV HAVEL IS CORRECT THAT GENUINE, RESPONSIBLE POLITICS EMANATES FROM "THE MEMORY OF BEING," THEN WHATEVER DISCUSSION WE ENGAGE ON THESE PAGES MAY HAVE SOME IMPACT SOMEWHERE, SOMETIME! Our political system is now almost completely built upon posthole pounding, illusionary thinking--we've all become private interests of some sort or another. I'm so old I actually remember when the conservation/environmental community referred to itself as a public interest and often times acted that way!
But we are not stupid and cannot play with the snowmobilers in Cache Valley who routinely enter the Mt. Naomi Wilderness and knowingly lie about the forest planning process, or livestock permittees who blindly dismiss the value of wildness, wolves, predators, or Forest Service decision makers who dismiss and struggle to accept the plethora of research that suggests roadless areas are crucial. We believe, practice and have laid out the alternative but we can't let our voice be lost to the black matter of the Universe.
So to all of you who have joined with us, please accept our deepest appreciation. We hope it resonates and we hope your voice will be wild and heard next fall when we howl for wildness at our annual Rendezvous!
You have written just the piece that readers of the HUPC LYNX would enjoy! Are you wondering hot to get it published? Why not send us no more than 1000 words (if it's really great, who knows? Send it anyway!), double-spaced, via email or on a disk to Editor, HUPC, P.O. Box 72, Hyrum, UT 84319. We'll get back to you right away; you will probably see your work printed in our next issue.
What could be easier? Why not share your ideas right now with intelligent, appreciative readers?