Posted by Bodie the Dog on May 20, 2002 at 11:08:27:
In Reply to: Question about Surprise Canyon posted by hank jr on May 19, 2002 at 02:20:13:
First, before I get verbally assaulted by the members of this board, let me make my own position clear: some access should be preserved. Existing corridors should be left open to travel. I do not think of myself as an eco-nazi or Earth Firster, I do not subscribe to the views of the ELF/ALF. I like going out to the wilds, collecting fossils & minerals, and otherwise engaging in activities which the Wilderness and National Parks acts forbid.
A compromise must be reached between preservation of the desert ecosystem and access to those areas by those who live there and others who are just passing through. But if you're going to have any success in keeping these routes open, you're gonna have to avoid the kind of ignorant rhetoric you and others of the "wise-use movement" have been spewing. Extremism is never a good thing; moderation will win more people over to your side.
The point is, those 1000's of people and vehicles you refer to HAVE been successful in wiping out many local species. It's not just happening now, "all of a sudden." It's been a gradual (and perhaps recently accelerated) process, whereby species populations have been declining, to the point where much desert flora and fauna is endangered.
Everything is inter-related. That old "food chain" we learned about in grade school is a bogus model. Relationships between species of plant/animal/insect are better described as a "food web;" everything is tied together. It is awfully egotistical of mankind to think we can completely understand such a complex system.
For example: that small caterpillar you don't care about may be the main food source of the local bat population. No caterpillars equals no bats. No bats equals no pollination of those desert flowers you like so much. No pollination equals no flowers. No flowers equals no desert tortoises. A different branch of the web may go like this: that caterpillar is the main food source of a kangaroo rat. No caterpillars equals no rats. No rats equals no coyotes. No coyotes equals, uh, I don't know (they're one of the few species which have actually increased their population with the coming of Europeans). This is a very simplified argument, but I hope you get the point.
Read up on the issues, just don't repeat the dogma you hear from others who travel with you.