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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Strip Mining of Parks

I had a chance to get some extra cross-country skiing in during the holiday break and came away with a sour taste from the decision making of the local parks and recreation board. A local park reserve called Elm Creek recently underwent "renovations" that amounted to lots of earth-moving activity. Most of the changes centered around the upgraded visitor center and I came away perplexed that I really didn't recognize the landscape that I had gotten used to over the last dozen or so years that I have visited the reserve. In particular I noticed a massive clearcutting of foliage on the main slope running down from the center to apparently make room for multiple grooved sledding runs. To me it looked more like a moonscape or a Fred Freakin Flintstone RV park.

I suppose someone had a rationalization for this (I have never seen the park so crowded), but if we can't avoid toying with the concept of a park reserve then we have little hope of avoiding a strip mining of our entire landscape in the quest for fossil fuels.

Like G. Bush and his ongoing fruitless quest with removing red cedar from his ranch, a significant fraction of the population has this strange innate desire to control their environment.
Bush showed reporters an injury to his forehead, a scrape from "combat with a Cedar" while brush-clearing at his ranch. "I eventually won. The Cedar gave me a little scratch," he said.
Won what? The battle? Or the war?

Update: The great Digby also ruminates on this man's obsession, which I think expresses insight into fundamental human nature.
So he clears brush like a madman everytime he gets the chance, hiding behind his Oakley's, blessedly unable to hear anything over the sound of chainsaws ---- maybe even the voices inside his head that remind him that he's still got three more years of this horrible responsibility he knows he cannot handle.


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