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John Muir No Longer Relevant?

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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby Vaca Russ » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:26 pm

oldranger wrote:
Ultimately my question to Christensen is, " What is your alternative paradigm?" Maybe he has stated it somewhere, but beyond the quotation above, the article did little to elaborate on the point of Christensen's proposal. I suspect there is more but there is nothing in the article that suggests he is proposing to eliminate wilderness or open wilderness to exploitive uses.

If some one could come up with more detailed information on his position we might have a clearer Idea of what his position is.

Mike


Mike,

I admire your mature rational approach to this subject. This is the line that set me off:

"Rather than accessing Muir's beloved Sierra Mountains as backpackers, skiers or rock climbers, they* argue, Californians would benefit more from....additional roads and trails in wild lands."

*Critics of Muir, I'm assuming Christensen included.

Build more roads in wild lands? Really? #-o [-X ](*,)

oldranger wrote:"wild eyed, effeminate" liberals


Did you look carefully at the picture of Christensen? :D I know, I'm bad! :nod: That was a below the belt, ad hominem attack.

But really, just because you don't want to put a heavy pack on your back and climb up into "our" wilderness, doesn't mean we need to destroy it by building roads so you can enjoy it by driving in your air conditioned hybrid on a paved highway!

JMHO,

-Russ
"...Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?"

Kahil Gibran.



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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby oldranger » Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:35 pm

Russ
If Christensen had said,
Rather than accessing Muir's beloved Sierra Mountains as backpackers, skiers or rock climbers, they* argue, Californians would benefit more from....additional roads and trails in wild lands." \


I"m sure the LA Times writer would have quoted Chrisensen. Sometimes it is proper to shoot the messenger (metaphorically not actually) when he/she puts their own spin on a debate.

Mike
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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby Jimr » Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:18 pm

I have recurring nightmares about hiking up extreme wilderness to a remote lake that I love only to find they built a road up on the other side of the mountain and a chalet on top. :eek:
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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby Cross Country » Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:59 am

For me Muir is very relavant. I would certainly not like to see roads into what is now backcountry.
That being said I believe it's important to be open minded. In my 50s and 60s I played many softbal tournaments in Palm Springs. Those weekends that I had sufficient time on my hands I took the PS arial tramway from the desert to an area very close to the wildernes area in the San Jacinto mountains. I love being in the mountains and liked those oportunities to visit them in this fasion.
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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby dave54 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:43 pm

The wilderness criteria of "untrammeled by man" has always been fluid, and in recent years outright ignored. Many wilderness areas have old roads in them, and not always old unused two-tracks. The Ishi Wilderness had active current roads at the time of designation, and the FS had to rush in bulldozers to close the roads prior to effective date, else it would have been illegal to close them after the Wilderness legislation took effect.

The original proposed Wilderness Areas by the California Wilderness Coalition some 10 years ago included roads, and at least one short section of a surfaced county road, although I suspect that was mapping error caused by the lack of ground truthing. The minimum size of 5,000 acres also took some elaborate gerrymandering with long tentacles snaking across mountainsides -- just barely meeting the definition of contiguous.

When I still worked for the FS we were doing a lot of road closures. These were roads that no longer served a purpose, no longer needed for resource management and their presence was causing erosion and watershed problems. FYI -- you usually can't just gate or berm the ends of a road to close it. That does not work. You often must remove culverts and other structures, reslope the cut and fills and revegetate, or mass wasting and erosion will continue. It often costs more to close a road than it took to build it in the first place.
I commented we were, in effect, creating roadless areas from roaded areas. Even if the next scheduled management in the area was 20 years in the future the area would be a de facto wilderness until then -- a 'brevet wilderness'. It certainly would be no less suitable as a temporary wilderness than many of the more recent official designations. Perhaps we do need to rethink what values we desire in a wilderness, and what criteria will meet those values.

Is a temporary Wilderness acceptable? There are not any more large expanses of unmodified land that meet the original definition in the 1964 act. We are currently adding areas that have human impacts and do not meet the original concept (IMHO Desolation no longer meets the criteria of no permanent human impacts). So we have already lowered our standards. I submit a temporary designation is within the current philosophy. Let us not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Last edited by dave54 on Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:52 pm

I think the most revealing part of the article is at the very end:

In Hannibal's view, "all this postmodern talk about what Muir said and what his prejudices were is, at the end of the day, just words. What counts is the number of acres protected."

On a recent weekday in his office at UCLA, MacDonald tried to conclude a spirited debate with Christensen over the relevance of Muir's legacy: "For all his flaws, Muir did a lot of great things and his enthusiasm for nature continues to inspire."

Christensen wouldn't budge. "Muir's a dead end," he said. "It's time to bury his legacy and move on."


I think Hannibal & MacDonald have it right, Christiansen is applying a post modern view to a 19th century point of view and when it comes right down to it, Muir's actions outweigh his words. If talk is cheap, then Muir is absolved ,and Christiansen is just trying to stir the pot and make some notoriety for himself and his talk is the paragon of cheap.
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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby oldranger » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:37 am

Dave 54 made some great points. His concluding paragraph states
Is a temporary Wilderness acceptable? There are not any more large expanses of unmodified land that meet the original definition in the 1964 act. We are currently adding areas that have human impacts and do not meet the original concept (IMHO Desolation no longer meets the criteria of no permanent human impacts). So we have already lowered our standards. I submit a temporary designation is within the current philosophy. Let us not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. - See more at: posting.php?mode=reply&f=9&t=12031#sthash.aKjcCl1v.dpuf


As I said in my first post Christensen is just stirring up the pot (or something like that). The forest service has been closing roads and in Oregon this is pissing a lot of OHV folks off. I do think there are some areas in Idaho that should be designated wilderness, e.g. the White Clouds. But absolutely agree with Dave54 that there should be a slightly lower level of protection or maybe even the same level of protection for some special areas that clearly are not wilderness but should be protected from further degradation or exploitation.

Finally after reading all the comments and reflecting on the article I think that Christensen's point is that the bulk of Muir's work has been accomplished and that given the concentration of the population in urban areas that there is a greater need to provide for more or less "natural areas" near and in urban areas and recreational access for a broader portion of the population in our national forests and BLM managed lands. I think this may mean roaded access in areas that will not be subject to logging and other exploitive activities.

So the legacy of Muir is not dead but to continue to follow his lead (which included encouraging people to visit the wilderness) may not result in the best use of our natural environment. (I am not advocating any reduction in already designated wilderness, though.)

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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby dave54 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:17 pm

oldranger wrote:...I do think there are some areas in Idaho that should be designated wilderness, e.g. the White Clouds. But absolutely agree with Dave54 that there should be a slightly lower level of protection or maybe even the same level of protection for some special areas that clearly are not wilderness but should be protected from further degradation or exploitation...
Mike


I am not certain we are in complete agreement. I am not arguing for more Wilderness for wilderness sake. Designation should be within the total land management spectrum. Not all public lands should be wilderness, not even all currently unroaded/undisturbed public lands. Wilderness designation should serve a purpose for more than another playground for backpackers.
There is such a thing as too much Wilderness in a given region. We often lose sight of the values lost with wilderness designation. Land management activities such as logging and vegetative management can improve watershed, wildlife populations, forest health, and contribute to local economic stabilization of rural economies (one of the reasons the Forest Service and National Forests were created). Wilderness designation means you lose the ability to manipulate the land for the good. Natural processes are not always a good thing.
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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby oldranger » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:01 pm

Dave54

I'm not in disagreement with anything in your last post.

Mike
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Re: John Muir No Longer Relevant?

Postby Vaca Russ » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:48 pm

Harold Wood takes the author of this article to task in the attached video.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?322586-1/d ... -john-muir

He is the Sierra Club's John Muir Education Team Chair. Scroll past the 16 minute introduction by "Bay Area Backroads" host Doug McConnell to get to Harold's speech.

Thanks,

-Russ
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