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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Pedestrians

John Edwards, on the team that completed the first successful winter ascent of Denali, recently wrote this:

The Pedestrians:
There is a view held by some in the climbing community that national parks are a Bad Thing. I know because in my fitter days I mingled with some who felt that National Parks restrict the freedom of the hills and hamper alpine endeavors through regulation and through the occasional actions of over-zealous rangers. The perspective of those climbers -The Pedestrians -reaches only as far as the end of their rope. They do not see that beyond the pitch is an ecosystem in far greater danger. We humans are not the only users of parkdom -for us it means recreation, both physical and esthetic. For the non-human inhabitants it is 24/7 a matter of life and death, of persistence and extinction. All the massive evidence that has been hard won in recent decades tells us that the larger a contiguous reserve, the more likely endangered (and non-endangered) organisms will survive. The chances of survival are diminished in lands open to exploitation. Just as the stock exchange thrives on predictability, so ecosystems thrive on long-term security from exploitation. So, fellow climbers, extend your view beyond your favorite climb, ask yourself whether that is a short sighted, even selfish Pedestrian view. Recognize our moral obligation to the countless animals and plants for their welfare when we humans manage our unique landscapes; those non-humans out there don't get to vote. And support the management choice that both provides for climbing activity and promotes ecological integrity.


Anonymous said...

Shameful of you all to use a quote from someone like John out of context to promote increased visitation, use, and activity within the North Cascades eco-system. I seriously doubt he would applaud the joke that the entrance to Denali has become -- let along the intrusive impacts deep within that National Park.

And yet that is what your Economic Study claims is a key reason to support expansion of the NCNP!

If you really cared about the North Cascades landscape, the critters, and its communities you would recognize that it is o.k. to have a National Park that doesn't boast the same visitation numbers as Rainier or Olympia or Yosemite -- and that there are ample tools to address these supposed "threats" - local land use plans, the NRA plan, and the Forest Plan.

Perhaps the reason the North Cascades eco-system is so functional is BECAUSE of the "low" visitation numbers you claim to be such a bad thing.

Yet forward you march, chasing egos, completing the "dream" and doing everything possible to build new visitor centers, parking lots, paved trails, and other amusements for lazy aged America.

No surprise you were quick to obtain support from the King County Council and the Responsible Republicans...indicators perhaps of the true motivations behind this proposal?

Anonymous said...

I believe the "Anonymous" missed the point altogether in the post by Edwards. The emphasis was on maximally protecting the fauna and flora. Only National Park status does that. The ancillary human impact of park status can and should be controlled.