Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

Subscribe via email to get updates

Enter your email address:

Receive New Posting Alerts

(A Maximum of One Alert Per Day)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Will we ever have another Republican President who loves the land and its wild creatures the way Teddy Roosevelt did?.........Someone who lived by the principle of GO BIG OR GO HOME...........Someone who was passionately brilliant rather than dispassionately smart(President O'Bama) or Passionately naive and unknowing(President Bush the younger)?..........Roosevelt understood that our economic engine was ultimately impacted by the health of our land,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and he subscribed to the long view which included a healthy environment including great swaths of open space with all wildlife(not just prey species) present and accounted for...........Yes, Teddy was a modern day "NOAH" whose ark included the Wolf, Puma, Wolverine, Griz, Black Bear, Bobcat, Lynx, Fisher and Marten along with the grazers and smaller mammals.............Govenor Romney seems clueless on biodiversity and environmental protection and O'Bama is spineless in the present day(yes he pushed for improved gas mileage standards but a hollow victory as the improved limits do not kick in until long after he and/or Romney are long gone from the public stage--a non starter in my book!)..........We need some "ROUGH & READY" RESOLVE at the top of our political food chain,,,,,,,,,,,someone who will WALK THE WALK softly on the land and simultaneously carry a BIG STICK to get

Bad News for the Badlands

I have good news and bad news from the Badlands of North Dakota, one of our loveliest and most fragile wildernesses. And even the good news is mostly bad: The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced on Wednesday that Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn ranch beside the Little Missouri River, an exquisitely peaceful meadow revered as the cradle of conservation, is one of America’s 11 most endangered historic places.

Roosevelt chose it as his Western retreat in 1884, after a personal catastrophe — the deaths of his young wife and mother, in the same house within hours of each other — made him give up a brilliant early career in politics and embrace the life of a rancher in what was then Dakota Territory. It was at Elkhorn that he began to observe the degradation of the landscape by unrestricted hunting, grazing and lumbering, and gathered material for his early and most eloquent writings on the subject of humanity’s relationship to nature. In 1887, after returning to New York, he founded the Boone and Crockett Club, an association of hunter-conservationists that became a powerful lobbying force in the creation of Yellowstone and other national parks

The Badlands

The log superstructure of his ranch house is long gone, but the foundation stones survive, and the beauty and silence of the spot are undisturbed — but only for the moment. North Dakota’s thundering economic boom (when I was driving across the state last fall, almost all the local radio announcements seemed to be for help wanted) has revived plans to throw a bridge and oil-access highway across the river upstream from the site, now technically known as the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. And a prospector armed with mining rights threatens to excavate a gravel pit on a ridge across the river, overlooking Roosevelt’s meadow, which park advocates have called “the Walden Pond of the American West.”

The bad news is that the bridge builders and gravel diggers are not very likely to be stopped. After this month there are no further scheduled hearings for public comment on the damage — visual and audible and breathable — that the two projects will inflict upon a landscape so beautifully described by Roosevelt in his autobiography.

“In the long summer afternoons we would sometimes sit on the piazza, when there was no work to be done, for an hour or two at a time, watching the cattle on the sand-bars, and the sharply channeled and strangely carved amphitheater of cliffs across the bottom opposite; while the vultures wheeled overhead, their black shadows gliding across the glaring white of the river-bed,” he wrote. “In the winter, in the days of iron cold, when everything was white under the snow, the river lay in its bed fixed and immovable as a bar of bent steel, and then at night wolves and lynxes traveled up and down it as if it had been a highway passing in front of the ranch house.”

Teddy Roosevelt

Unless Roosevelt’s current successor in the White House does something, well, Rooseveltian to protect Elkhorn, an updated version of this description will soon have to include the not-so-far-away rumbling of great trucks full of smelly crude, plus unnatural carvings on the amphitheater rim and a highway slicing east to the Bakken oil wells, by no means convenient for wolves or lynxes. Only the vultures are likely to continue wheeling over the whole landscape.

What do I mean by “Rooseveltian” action, assuming President Obama would ever rise to it? Precisely, Roosevelt’s oft-repeated, and always well-timed, use of executive power to declare such threatened places sacrosanct. By the time he left office in 1909, he had set aside for protection almost 230 million acres of woodlands, wildlife refuges, waterways and other public lands of aesthetic or historic significance — and this total does not even include the five national parks he created, with the often reluctant cooperation of Congress.

In February in the Oval Office, Tweed Roosevelt, a great-grandson of the 26th president, urged Mr. Obama to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate 4,400 acres around Elkhorn as a national monument. This would, in one stroke, curtail development of the Little Missouri valley and protect it forever, just as Theodore Roosevelt saved the Grand Canyon in 1908.

Tweed Roosevelt says he got a courteous hearing, but so far there has been no follow-up — perhaps not surprising, given the extraordinarily complex clash of private, state and federal national rights around Elkhorn, with the National Park Service and the Forest Service, and organizations like the Friends of the Elkhorn Ranch, the Theodore Roosevelt Association and the Boone and Crockett Club, battling the local Billings County commissioners, land developers and oil interests.

One thing that distinguishes a great president is the ability to see through such legalistic thickets and discern the moral daylight beyond. That, and the will to do what is right for future generations of Americans. Our current raging thirst for oil, not to mention private appetites for gravel, will one day abate, either because of depletion or new technologies. Long before that, today’s political issues, endlessly droned on the evening news, will become “dust in a windy street,” to use one of Roosevelt’s favorite metaphors. Unless Mr. Obama acts to preserve at least some threatened parts of our inventory of natural resources, he is not likely to be remembered, as Roosevelt is, as somebody who cared about how future generations live and breathe.

Edmund Morris is the author of the biographies “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” “Theodore Rex” and “Colonel Roosevelt.”
"Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the "the game belongs to the people." So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The "greatest good for the greatest number" applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method."

Theodore Roosevelt quote in  A Book-Lover's Holidays in the Open, 1916

"Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us."

President Theodore Roosevelt

No comments: