Last year around this time, I wrote a piece about my feelings that the wild spaces will become islands in a sea of development.
And here it is a year later.
There are moves to privatize our public lands further. Long cons being done to open up our parks for further development. Fracking will be allowed within a sacred and historic area. And the most recent bombshell: The severe slashing in size of the Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. And more monuments are slated to receive a similar treatment.
People far more eloquent than I have discussed the potential loss of our cultural heritage, the chimera of job creation in an increasingly automated industry, pure exploitation for industry cronies under the fig leaf of states’ rights, and even the legality of this pronouncement.
Suffice to say; I think that history will judge the Trump administration as the most corrupt and Plutocratic one since the Grant administration.
The country will right itself again. As it always does.
But at what cost in the meantime?
Once wildlands are lost, they are gone.
Improved roads don’t go away. Other infrastructure improvements don’t disappear. Dug up artifacts may be preserved in museum storage but the context they are found in are lost. Hole In The Rock Road may become as tame as Trail Ridge Road. But at least we can buy a t-shirt?
When I returned to the Pawnee Grasslands a couple of years back, I found myself in a melancholy mood. A wild space was gone.
What a reader of mine wrote about the Pawnee Grasslands may apply to the lands that may no longer be National Monuments:
I suspect many years of legal battles are brewing. And a compromise will be reached.
But some wild lands will be lost.
And there will be even fewer islands of wildness in a growing sea of development, infrastructure growth, and connectivity.
Perhaps I am wrong. And nothing will be lost. There is always hope.
In the meantime, do as the reader above implored. Go out and enjoy these wild spaces.
While we still can.