Wildlife initiative may have hidden wheels

  Dear HCN,


Jon Margolis' article on the Teaming with Wildlife initiative (HCN, 12/23/96) was ironic, coming as it did on the heels of the previous issue on the increasing political power that motorized vehicle users have developed in the West. As Margolis points out, this seems to be a benign plan, only opposed by "left-of-center" enviros and (by implication) tax-hating militiamen.


As with all things in Congress, there is more to this than meets the eye. No bill has actually been introduced in Congress, so it is difficult to know what this initiative is really all about. If this is to be a wildlife initiative, it should be structured to enhance wildlife per se, not generic "recreation" as it seems to be evolving.


Most disturbingly, the initiative is being heavily promoted by Yamaha and other makers of off-road vehicles. These folks see the possibility of a program that would support the interests of their customers. As contributors, these companies and their customers would have a perfectly legitimate call on the proceeds of such a fund to promote off-road vehicle parks and the designation of trails for the use of these vehicles.


To suppose that these activities would do much for wildlife (as opposed to the wild life), is wishful thinking. A particularly insidious outcome would be to make game and fish departments across the nation even more beholden to motorized recreation interests than they already are inclined to be.


Game and fish departments do need to broaden their bases of support, and some are reaching out to non-consumptive users of wildlife. However, such funding needs to be based on the concept of habitat and wildlife as common goods belonging to all the people of the state, and to be provided by legislatures, not through an activity-specific tax.


If the funding source is tied to specific interests, it will divert the focus of the agencies from wildlife issues and make them into all-purpose recreation departments.


In this light, this initiative is at best an insult to the credulity of the very people it is trying to recruit as supporters. At worst, it looks like a stealth attack on wildlife and its habitat.


Thomas Jervis


Los Alamos, New Mexico


High Country News Classifieds
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • FEATURES DIRECTOR - HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Features Director to join our editorial...
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...