Friday, July 4, 2008

Of the people, by the people, and for the people

Well, I really hadn't planned on writing about public land management on this blog... but with the fire crisis going on in my home state of California and my loved ones being directly affected, I am getting more interested in the conditions that led up to this.

This post from Tom Hopkins, a board member of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance, is more evidence of what I wrote in yesterday's entry -- the Basin Complex fire is a natural disaster, but one that is exacerbated by a political climate that has been steadily moving toward de-funding essential government services and privatizing as much as it can in the name of corporate profit. An excerpt (when Tom talks about "fuel loads," I understand that to mean the combustible material in a forest including trees, brush, etc.):

The catastrophic fire regime on the western public lands in recent years is, to a great extent, the result of a hundred years of very successful fire suppression and the resultant increase in fuel loads. The environmental community AND the public land management agencies now understand and agree on this fact. But getting our public lands back to a natural wildland fire regime, while providing protection for the exponential growth of private housing in the urban/wildland interface, is going to take a long time. And it is not going to happen if the politicians in DC place foreign interventionism, lower taxes for the wealthy and reducing the size of the federal government ahead of adequately funding public land management. Crisis management is not management...

If we want our federal public lands to be environmentally healthy, including their natural fire regime, AND have private property in the urban/wildlife interface reasonably protected from natural wildfire, it is going to take a lot more money than is currently being allocated. That means changing the status quo in DC by electing leaders who will adequately fund our public land management agencies so they can fully implement their missions.

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