Putting wildlands back together

  Dear HCN,


As one of the founders and the current president of The Wildlands Project, I must respond to your article, "Foreman finds hope amid ecological rubble" (HCN, 8/4/97). At the end of the article you comment that Dave failed to describe how our reserve designs were to be implemented. You also asked about the identity of the folks that are "carving up" the local areas.


We are not a top-down organization, and our staff of five don't do the reserve designs themselves. The process of mapping potential core areas, wildlife corridors, and buffer zones (the buffers allow sustainable, wildlife-friendly economic activities) is carried out by grassroots, volunteer conservationists throughout North America. We are currently helping to coordinate several dozen such groups, which have their own members and constituents, raise most of their own funds, handle their own community relations, and are already involved in activities that make their regions more friendly to creatures and native ecosystems.


We don't think of our work as "carving up local areas." This is what development has done. To the contrary, we are part of the stitching back together process - recreating the linkages that have been severed by unwise forestry and grazing practices, a fanatical anti-predator policy, unnecessary road construction, well-funded ORV aficionados, real estate profiteers and sprawling urbanization.


Regarding implementation, I'll be candid. We haven't done a lot of that yet. We are a young organization, and we are attempting to accomplish what you and others describe as "utopian," creating a science-supported vision of an ecologically healthy North America - a vision that inspires everyone to protect and restore wilderness and living nature. This will be the first year when we will be ready to send out some of the wildlands proposals for peer review by scientists, economists, ranchers, sportspersons, state and federal agencies, and community leaders.


We will gradually move into implementation when our proposals have passed the litmus of common sense and stood up to rigorous review.


But we don't spend all our time indoors, staring at pretty maps on computer monitors. We and our cooperating groups are working with ranchers in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, helping them adopt practices that are friendly to wildlife while developing a marketing strategy for "predator-friendly beef." We have been working behind the scenes with the U.S. Forest Service, helping them design forest management practices that minimize the harm to endangered species and other wildlife. We and our cooperators have encouraged community programs that diversify local economies and find alternative employment for people who lose their jobs (for economic, not environmental reasons) when the large logging companies move their mills to the Southeastern United States or overseas. We've also encouraged and promoted the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf. Incidentally, the state of Florida (not known for being "utopian') has already committed to spending $3 billion on a plan that is based on our principles. So, it's happening.


Finally, let me clarify the comments in your article about the mysterious maps to which one of the hostile questioners referred. There is a guy publishing phony maps in wise-use and evangelical newsletters, claiming that these are Wildlands Project maps. For example, one of these maps shows about half of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska as off-limits to humans, "requiring tens of millions of people" to leave the land. (There aren't that many people in that part of the Midwest.) That map and others like it are nothing but wise-use scare propaganda.





Michael Soulé


Hotchkiss, Colorado


High Country News Classifieds
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE: NEAR CHRICAHUA NATIONAL PARK
    2 (20 acre sites): 110 miles from Tucson:AZ Native trees: Birder's heaven: dark skies: Creek: borders State lease & National forest: /13-16 inches of rain...
  • DIRECTOR - SONORAN DESERT INN & CONFERENCE CENTER
    The Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center is a non-profit lodging and event venue in Ajo, Arizona, located on the historic Curley School Campus. We...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field Seminars for adults: cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. With guest experts, local insights, small groups, and lodge or base camp formats....
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • CONNECTIVITY SCIENCE COORDINATOR
    Position type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman preferred; remote negotiable Compensation: $48,000 - $52,000 Benefits: Major medical insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
    ArenaLife is looking for an Executive Assistant who wants to work in a fast-paced, exciting, and growing organization. We are looking for someone to support...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....