21 November 2004

A question of values

California is suing the Bush administration for its attempts to expand logging in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Lately, California seems to be in the forefront in taking on Bush and his band of corporate cronies. The Bush environmental plan is, like his tax cut, a huge give-away to the wealthy. As citizens, we need to remember that WE own those mountains--not some corporation that will build roads and drag logs out and then leave the forces of erosion to carve out huge scars throughout the park area.

The Sierra Nevada is a great example of a poorly managed wild area. The park has leased land in the eastern and other areas of the park to cattle ranchers. As a result, the park land is criss-crossed with barbed-wire, rusting ranch equipment, and millions of cow pies. Because of the cows, ticks (and Lyme disease) are everywhere, making much of the park inaccessible to hikers. In order to protect their herds, the ranchers frequently kill mountain lions and bobcats that are native to the area. At some point, we really need to make a decision: Are we going to continue to have wild places or should we just bulldoze these areas and create ranches and strip-malls.

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