Who will save wilderness?
It's the summer solstice and there have been few posts lately. Let me introduce one that is not entirely off topic.
Last year I skied King's Canyon/Sequoia National Park, not sure which one but they are adjacent. It was a beautiful warm late March saturday and I drove to the snopark area. When I started it was about 60 deg. at 6000 ft. I followed the trail about halfway to Pear Lake hut which is 8 miles in and > 10,000 ft., turned around and skied down through giant trees. Not too many linked turns but still a beautiful ski on a beautiful day. Back at the trail head the lot was full of Mexican Americans having picnics & barbeques. Salsa music on boomboxes filled the air with family of all ages present all having a wonderful time in the 70 deg. spring afternoon. I walked slowly through them hoping for an invite to join or at least talk a bit, but of course I was an alien. The great central valley of CA is about 25 miles away at the town of Visalia and the National Park system is probably the best cheapest recreation available for migrant farm workers - or anybody else. The thought occurred that these are the people who are going to save the wilderness if it is going to be saved. There are just not enough old rich white guys with the money and time to be backcountry skiers. We don't have the numbers. These people and others like them are going to save the wilderness if it is going to be saved. Even here, in the VA suburbs of DC, when I ride my bike, run, or walk these days, or hike in the Shenandoah National Park, I see mostly Asians. 5 years ago there were none. They have discovered our parks. We should revel in this and encourage it. It may be the salvation of wilderness.
An interesting observation, Denis. How do we enlist their support? How do we engage in dialogue? It will take all stake holder in our parks and forest to preserve what wilderness we have. So often those at the bottom of the economic rung have little time or interest in issues beyond their daily challenge to secure the material needs of their family. In the case of migrant workers, how many can vote given no permanent address? Would they not instead seek to spend their time in social networks that advance their living standard?
You know, the solution to the problem is ultimately political. Look at the current debate on global warming and you can see the potential for division and the road blocks to consensus. Add to that the average white guy's protracted cynicism about the political process. How does one take the lead, speak in a language that binds one's living conditions to a greater outlook of conservation of our environment? How do you satisfy everybody's quest for material comfort and entertainment while being responsible stewards? Old rich white guys who advocate doing with less material goods or responsible use of nature will not win over the poor. Given that the 2 party system seems to be what we have to work with in the near future and the extreme partisanship that has characterized the national debate, the task is monumental.
I don't mean the denigrate your point or be cynical about the issue. These are some of the thoughts that come to mind through my experience with advocating social issues.
As far as the smaller parks go we have Dirty Diapers..spools & spools of discarded fishing line which hurts all kinds of wildlife..cans,bottles, wrappers, food containers ect..." Tag teaming with cast nets harvesting everything that comes up without regard to size limits....& a whole lot of taxpayer money to clean up after our New Americans in the parks we have down here in NC...A little respect & education will be needed 1st......& yes, There is some White trash involved too....
Sadly that is seen virtually everywhere. It starts like that. The children of that generation, those that get infected with a love of the wilderness, will be different. Meanwhile we can set example. I will stop to pick up trash on the trail, saying nothing. This example is sometimes followed and sometimes not but I think it leads to better behavior by those who witness it.
Denis, on my recent trip to 5 National Parks I noticed that English didn't seem to be a popular language.
Not that there was one language that dominated though. There were people from everywhere....
Ans: the Russians will. The US simply doesn't have the political will to say: 20 permits per year. No one else. No one.
BTW,it's all reggaeton now.
Remember the commercial with the American Indian with a tear in his eye, looking at all of the discarded trash. We seem to forgotten about the litter problem in this country. I see people throwing trash out their car windows all of the time now, especially truckers. When I walk aroud the lake in my area, there are Lite beer cans every where. It definitely ruins the wilderness experience. I think we need a campaign like the ones we had in the 70's to make people aware. I don't see this as an ethnic issue since I most of the trash is dumped by white people who don't give a crap.