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IN MY VIEW: A plan for public lands - Green Valley News: Letters To The Editor

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IN MY VIEW: A plan for public lands

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Posted: Saturday, May 5, 2012 5:00 pm

My response to Dave Stoddard’s letter (“Our Land,” April 29) comes from the perspective of my 30-year career with the National Park Service, the last 11 years before retirement being in Yellowstone National Park. Apparently, that puts me in Mr. Stoddard’s “nature worshippers and radical environmentalists” category. Funny thing is, I’m also among the U.S. taxpayers and lawful American public he mentions, but let’s put that aside.

Yellowstone. Plenty of American taxpayers have suggested tapping into the hydro-thermal resources for an energy source. Of course, there go the geysers, fumaroles, hot springs and mud pots, not to mention the microbes found in one of the hot springs that make possible the process of DNA finger-printing.

Hunters, a huge lobbying group, want access to trophy animals — elk, deer, bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, bears, wolves. Especially wolves, the vermin. No more “charismatic mega-fauna.” And anglers have already either intentionally or by accident stocked Yellowstone Lake with non-native lake trout, a deep-water spawner that preys on the shallow-spawning native cutthroat that feed eagles, osprey, coyotes, otters, bears and so on. Great game fish, maybe, but hell on the food chain. Why not stock all the lakes?

Though not particularly compatible, American taxpayers have suggested both damming for hydro-electric power the Yellowstone River that flows through the unique and colorful Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and others have touted an elevator from the canyon rim to the base of Lower Falls, a 308-foot treasure. The latter certainly would offer accessibility. And, of course, there are the historic and pre-historic resources ... not sure how those could be used best. Mineral-rich areas could be mined. And so it goes.

A unique opportunity to observe and preserve natural processes taking place on the world’s largest active volcano ... adjusted ... but at least we’d have access. Oh, wait! Millions of American and world visitors already have access! They sight-see, wildlife-watch, geyser-gaze, fish, swim, walk, hike, bicycle, motorcycle, ski, snowmobile, snowshoe, photograph, contemplate, write, camp, learn, play, re-create, connect with their families, etc.

I’m guessing Mr. Stoddard would only approve access and use of public lands compatible with his opinion of access and use. I doubt he truly cares about the opinions of all U.S. taxpayers and lawful Americans. And I’m guessing that, for some reason, he’s not, as the National Park Service and other federal agencies are, concerned with future generations enjoying those same public lands. Two thoughts came to mind in reading his letter: short-sighted and selfish.

Neysa Dickey lives in Green Valley.

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