The Emperor’s New Clothes, California Style
Baxter Black, DVM
The television paralyzed watchers as the horrendous flames burned California to ashes. The governor in command puffed and pounded, claiming that he and his ENVIRO-DENY-ERS took NO BLAME, NO BLAME, NO BLAME!
Hans Christian Anderson couldn’t say it better. I was watching “The Emperor with No Clothes.”
That was last fall. But decades before, the first kindlings were being stirred in Washington, (sorry George), D.C. The invasion of the Endangered Species Act and the poisoning of the relationship with the ranchers, timbers and miners … was blown into flames.
I remember standing in the door of a ranch house in Eagleville, Calif. I was workin’ cows and just happened to be there. A young woman knocked on the door. She introduced herself and adjusted her clipboard … she was the new Bureau of Land Management agent assigned to make sure the rancher was obeying the new range regulations.
I asked her background; University of Wisconsin, majoring in environmental studies.
“Ever been here?” I asked, “Run cows? Dug a water tank? Run pipelines? Done any fence work or controlled burning? Fought any fires?”
She just looked at me blankly.
I could see the future and it all came true.
Decades went by, BLM animal units continued to be slashed, water access was deleted. The timber business was so savaged that roads, entire mills, tons of trucking, lumber, jobs, communities and lives were starved out.
Without clear cutting and access, cattle grazing was decreased. With no grazing, the forest floor filled with detritus trash, continually accumulating mountain ranges of incendiary scenery. River water, essential for farming and ranching, was zilched to “protect” endangered species like the spotted owl and the short-nosed sucker.
Countless able, experienced rangers left the service in frustration. But it was too late; the politico-enviros took over. They thundered out of Washington D.C., and took over the West! The Forest Service, the BLM, the Department of Interior and Enviro-deny-ers led us directly into the state of devastation in which our county now burns.
Have we learned anything about management of our range and forest in 50 years? Most of our increasing urban population continues to relate our beautiful West to their Sierra Club calendar. That includes those in office. Where does the blame fall? For over 50 years we have used world wide famine, global cooling, greenhouse gasses, global warming and climate change as the evil dragon. But they dwarf our comprehension. Civilization can alter many natural conditions; smog, changing rivers, building roads, forest management … a current example is the millions of acres of rangeland being ravaged by feral horses because the spineless politicians won’t let the BLM do their job.
But watching the GOV of California deny blame for years of our forest mismanagement influenced by airheads instead of common sense, is just blowin’ smoke.
Unfortunately, I doubt he will ever admit fault, but will continue to wear his emperor’s robe, and none of his eunuchs will tell him his fly is down. ❖
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