Archive for June, 2004

Forest Plan Update – What’s at Stake Part IV (Vision)

How much do you value your freedom?

What is your “Vision” for the future of our National Forests here in Southern California?

I challenge anyone to read the forest management proposals being advocated by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club in their Conservation Alternative 6 – and dispute the fact that this plan would radically limit our access – as well as affect our ability to manage fire, especially controlled burns.

The goal of the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club is to remove what has been estimated as 60 to 70 percent of our access to the Forests. This campaign is part of the “Wildlands Project”, which we will discuss in our next Forest Plan Update.

The CBD and the Sierra Club have pinned their hopes on the fact that you will not read the proposals contained in Alternative 6. They have relied on a deceptive tactic to hide the details of their alternative by the use of emotional appealing slogans such as “Protect and Restore our Forests!” and not truthfully telling the public of the radical proposals this slogan represents.

Why did the Forest Service pick Alternative 2 for the Cleveland and Alternative 4 for the Las Padres, San Bernardino and Angeles National Forests – and not Alternative 6?

For the very reasons I pointed out. In their own words:

The Forest Service picked Alternative 2 for the Cleveland National Forest for the following reasons:

• The balanced land use zoning in Alternative 2 would allow us to place needed emphasis on retaining or restoring healthy natural environments that are valued for habitats, biodiversity and special ecosystems.

• It would retain the option for managed motorized access in areas where it is needed for fire suppression, community protection and forest health projects

• Alternative 2 would provide some opportunity for increased recreation to complement the extensive public recreation opportunities found on other public lands near the forest.

The Forest Service picked Alternative 4 for the Los Padres, San Bernardino and Angeles National Forests for the following reasons:

• Alternative 4 would allow us to place needed emphasis on vegetation and hazardous fuels management to ensure a healthy forest for the future.

• It would allow us the flexibility to respond to the variety and level of recreation expected from a growing, culturally diverse population.

• Alternative 4 would retain the option for managed motorized access in many locations, which would allow flexibility in fire suppression, community protection and forest health projects.

• It would retain our commitment to conduct activities in an environmentally sustainable way to continue the protection and recovery of species at risk.

I will ask you to do something the CBD and Sierra Club fear asking you to do, compare their Conservation Alternative 6:

http://www.warriorssociety.org/ConservationAlternative2002.pdf

with Alternative 2 (for the Cleveland National Forest) and Alternative 4 (for the Angeles, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests) posted on the Forest Planning Revision Web site:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/scfpr/draft/publication/index.htm

Although the alternatives the Forest Service has chosen are not perfect (and need some tweaking), they reflect balanced management rather than the extreme proposals put forth by Alternative 6, which would eliminate access to (or remove/obliterate) 60 to 70 percent of the roads and trails in these National Forests.

I want you to be informed; I want you to know the details; unlike the CBD and the Sierra Club I have nothing to hide behind slogans such as “Protect and Restore our Forests!”

The contrast between these alternatives and Alternative 6 is striking. While the Forest Service seeks to balance environmental protection with the public’s recreational needs and fire management, the CBD and the Sierra Club’s Alternative 6 seeks to turn our forests into virtual zoos, with us behind the bars of no access looking in.

If only the Sierra Club did not view mankind as evil, but instead focused on the great things mankind can accomplish – when allowed the freedom to do so. The Warrior’s Society has been extremely successful in encouraging people to get out in the forest and give back by participating in trail work projects. In 2002 we were awarded the Trail Advocate award for region 5 by the American Trails Association and the U.S. Forest Service. Can you imagine what the Sierra Club, with their millions of dollars given by their supporters (who are naïve about their radical agenda), could accomplish if they did the same instead of attempting to remove the public’s access to the forest – no matter what the cost to their freedom?

But there is a fundamental difference in how the Warrior’s Society and the Sierra Club views human potential, they have lost faith in mankind – and we have not. They have also drifted away from science and instead are becoming more and more a faith based organization, a very radical one, that sees its’ redemption in removing the presence of mankind from our public lands, and even lands that are not public. While their call to Jihad is not “Death to America” it is “Death to the Public’s Access and Freedom.”

America is a great country – and what makes it great is our focus on protecting the freedom of our citizens. We can only continue this great legacy if we believe we are capable of exercising that freedom and allowed and encouraged to do so.

My Vision for our forests is that we do not forget the value of our freedom; that we retain our passion for it and nurture and encourage people to exercise that freedom by being involved in maintaining our public lands. Our freedom is worth protecting, and doing so demands we look for the good that mankind is capable of. We must encourage that goodness and seek solutions that leave mankind in the equation, and do not bestow upon mankind the mantle of disdain.

I will not lose faith in our citizens – for to do so means the America I love will not long exist. This is not the legacy I will leave our children.

To do otherwise, as the Sierra Club and CBD have done, can only be described as similar to a totalitarian regime that believes itself the sole arbitrator of freedom, a freedom that cannot be trusted to the masses; they are a de facto God. This is a frightening Vision.

This belief in their “God” like powers should not go without questioning. If they are the sole arbitrators of freedom, i.e. “God,” what kind of God are they?

Are they a vindictive God that demands blind obedience?

Or are they a loving God that demands relentless questioning; not withholding the knowledge that makes intelligent decisions possible? Are they a God that allows us to determine our fate; that allows this act of grace that is free will?

In our natural state we have the gift of free will. In which God, in which “faith,” do you find the freedom necessary to nurture free will and advance mankind.

And if you are a person of faith:

Do you view this blessing from God, free will (i.e. freedom) as a gift of grace – or a curse to be eliminated and taken away from the unworthy masses – as the CBD and Sierra Club view it; a viewpoint shared by the worst regimes in history?

The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity have shown, by their attempts to remove us from our public lands, that they believe we are no longer worthy of freedom – or the legacy that gave birth to it. They have lost faith in our citizens and see them only as a threat. As history has proven, no democracy can long survive in such a climate.

Their Vision of America is not one of hope, but of despair and ultimate control.

For the sake of our children, for the sake of our country, for the sake of our freedom – I hope their Vision of America does not come to pass.

I fear that the demise of America, the guiding light of liberty that has been a beacon of hope to the subjugated of the world, will not begin with it being conquered by a tyrant from within or without.

It will begin with its’ citizens incrementally giving up their freedom, no longer willing or able to defend it, instead abdicating it slowly to the certainty of servitude; no longer willing to exercise the responsibility that comes with free will. This destruction, this abdication of the freedom to question that makes the practice of free will and freedom possible, will be our end.

It will be the tragic ending of a great country no longer willing to view freedom as a gift from God; but a liability instead.

“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom, and then lost it, have never known it again.”

Ronald Reagan – January 5, 1967

You are being given the opportunity to protect your freedom to access your public lands by commenting on the future of your forests; please take this responsibility seriously.

We will be evaluating and commenting on the forest plans before the comment period ends in August. We will be releasing these comments to our supporters to evaluate with an email address to the Forest Planning Team so you can comment too. Please do your part to protect your access by visiting our web site for this information or sign up on our email list to be kept informed on the forest plans.

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