Crossfire Canyon: A study in conflict, part two

September 27, 2007 | 43 comments
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See Part One here.

On September 18th, the BLM held an open house explaining the closure to local residents. The BLM’s acting field manager opened the presentation, telling everyone that the purpose of the closure was to stop traffic through cultural sites. It wasn’t intended to be permanent, he said. He emphasized that the BLM was prohibited by law from allowing impact to cultural resources. That echoed the language of the closure signs: “Under the Code of Federal Regulations 43 [etc., etc.], BLM has the authority to close an area to motorized recreational use … when it concludes that the use is causing, or is threatening to cause, considerable adverse effects to resources, including cultural resources. Based on the damage to cultural resources in the … area resulting from OHV use … and the likelihood of continuing damage from OHV use, it is appropriate to use this authority to close portions of the … area … to motorized recreational use, including OHV use ….”

Regulations, the field manager said, required closing the canyon ASAP and before a public meeting on the action. Once it comes to BLM attention that a site is damaged, he repeated, they’re legally required to close it. The language I read and heard from the BLM on this matter was strikingly consistent. Clearly, it meant something beside what it said; I just didn’t know what.

Locals attending the open house crowded around the BLM field manager and other BLM officers and employees to express suspicion and dismay. Many expressed fear that the purpose of this “temporary” closure was to sneak in on them a permanent one. Members of the local ATV activist group, SPEAR (San Juan Public Entry and Access Rights), wanted to know which archaeologists had declared the cultural sites damaged. “Most archaeologists don’t want the canyon open at all,” one SPEAR member said. “They’re very biased.” Some felt ATVers had been unfairly singled out. “BLM depends on SPEAR to protect those sites,” one fellow exclaimed. “It’s the hikers that are the problem!” As a “hiker,” I protested this remark, with mixed results.

Later, I cornered the acting BLM field manager and asked if the locals’ fears that the canyon’s closure would morph from temporary to permanent were justified. Had there been other closures in the area that extended beyond proposed periods for damage assessment and rehab work? He told me that a “temporary closure” in Bluff, a town to the south, is now “two or three years old.”

At home that night, my daughter told me that neighbor children had said their father blamed me for the canyon’s closure. He’d said within their hearing that probably I’d been the one who reported the archaeological damage to the BLM so that they’d close it and I’d have the canyon all to myself. Besides seeing my backpack-laden form pass his house often over the last year as I’d made my way to the canyon, he’d also seen me talking with the BLM law enforcement officer at the onset of the closure back on the 15th. Because I have done archaeological work, I am able to identify some kinds of sites and had noticed the damage done in the canyon. Report it? No, hadn’t done that, but I guessed that protesting my innocence would stir the pot rather than settle anything. Furthermore, reflecting on my behavior at the open house, I realized that common acts of professional courtesy, like exchanging cards with the BLM archaeologist—a woman I’d worked with over two decades ago but hadn’t seen since—may have appeared incriminating to my neighbors in attendance. I realized that maintaining clearly defined neutrality in this business would be difficult.

To be continued

43 Responses to Crossfire Canyon: A study in conflict, part two

  1. Jacob M on September 27, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Ooohhhhh! The plot thickens! I don’t know, but if I was someone around there who was used to going out into the area, and I was looking at a gov’m’nt agency closing down my area for possibly 2-3 years, I’d be upset, too. Does it make what I had used to do right? Obviously, no! But how I would feel about the closure would be definitely understandable. And if I was looking for how it happened, I’d blame the “liberal-green-wakkos”, which would probably mean you! Not that I’m agreeing, mind, just pointing out the other side. I for one am sad that others would assume that it’s all your fault. However, if I were you, I would make sure whatever car you might have be always within site, as you might get some slashed tires. Which is a sad statement about our humanity!

  2. Ardis Parshall on September 27, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    The language I read and heard from the BLM on this matter was strikingly consistent. Clearly, it meant something beside what it said

    Maybe I’m dense, but it isn’t clear to me — why would consistency signal something other than candor and the prudent dotting of the i’s?

  3. kevinf on September 27, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Wow, Patricia, this is starting to look like a classic case of what Rene Girard describes as the escalation of conflict from competing desires. You, a hiker, and SPEAR, the ATV-ers, all want to use the same canyon, but in different ways. As the restrictions come into play, you have become their scapegoat, and could bear the brunt of their disaffection, hopefully not violent. Girard deals a lot with violence.

    However, his choice of conflict resolution is the one we should all be trying to live, meaning trying to emulate the life of Christ. I’m not sure how this plays out, but my guess is that the way to defuse the tension is to approach the ATV folks in an effort to try and forge a compromise to eliminate the conflicting desires, and lower the level of anger and emotion. The last thing you want to do is blame them for the problem, but try and find the common ground where there is no need for a scapegoat.

    Can’t wait to see what happens in part 3!

  4. Jim Cobabe on September 27, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Many expressed fear that the purpose of this “temporary” closure was to sneak in on them a permanent one.

    General concerns about the term of closures have a sound basis in current practice by government agencies. Temporary closures often lead to permanent restrictions. Some of my favorite spots in the San Rafael Swell area have been closed up on “Wilderness Study” projects for more than five years.

    Faced with the current ATV problem in “Crossfire Canyon”, the area supervisor probably opted to invoke concerns about archaelogical relics as a rather thin smokescreen, perhaps to distract some of the anticipated “crossfire”.

    Public resource managers are educated and trained in caring for natural resources. Few of them entered their careers hoping to become the target for public ire in controversy over the multiple-use doctrine. I doubt if any wildland manager hopes to become involved in a big gunfight over ATV access.

    These multiple-use issues have a long distinguished history in the West. For some longer-term background, you might study up some references to “Sagebrush Rebellion” and more recently, “Wise Use”. Also currently a continuing very hot controversy over the “Factory Butte” area and ATV riders.

    Bitterness, irony, and political intrigue suffuse these issues. I vividly recall the occasion of President Clinton, dedicating the newly created Utah park, “Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument” — from Arizona. Apparently he didn’t dare to set foot in Utah.

  5. greenfrog on September 27, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    PAK,

    I’ll watch patiently for more, but I’m interested in your views of your neutrality.

  6. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Hahaha, Jacob M! I make a very pale “liberal-green-wakko.” At least, I’m pale on the “liberal-green” end of it. People just don’t understand yet what happened, who yanked the carpet out from under them, and I presented the most visible target because I behave differently. That is, I travel in the canyon differently, sans ATV. Around here, not having an ATV when you go out in the desert is like wearing the visiting team’s colors at the homecoming game. I’m learning to negotiate all the politically dangerous curves in this area; it’s changing me, it’s changing how I think.

    Like I said in a comment on the Part One thread, I don’t find the blame game nearly as interesting and exciting at the change game. I have little control over others’ behavior; the gospel says I’m most responsible for my own. I appreciate these opportunities to learn.

  7. kevinf on September 27, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Patricia,

    Eugene England has in some of his essays some pretty good advice for resolving conflicts and lowering the emotional levels. Try either of his books “The Quality of Mercy”, or “Finding Peace”, if you can. It seems he was constantly at odds with someone, and had to deal with this on a regular basis. His bottom line seems to be to directly address the folks that have a problem with you, perceived or actual, with an attitude of apology and/or humility. Most folks are unnerved by the direct non-confrontational approach, and tend to respond more positively than a public dialog.

    Don’t know if this is what you did, or if you are still looking for ideas. It’s not easy. I have to do this because of a perceived heretical comment I made in Gospel Doctrine last week, and I’m not looking forward to it.

  8. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Ardis, #2: “. . . why would consistency signal something other than candor and the prudent dotting of the i’s?”

    Well, of course, sometimes that’s all that it is. Some repetition, however, calls attention to itself for reasons other than signaling diligence, and my experience working with rhetorical figures and various kinds of repetition suggested that the consistency I read and heard in this case performed some other task. I didn’t have the experience at this point to know what, only that I was hearing other strains of meaning behind the apparent language. You know — I got suspicious.

  9. Jacob M on September 27, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    PK – I have to admit, I don’t think you’re a lib-greenie, but to the people in your area. . . probably a different story. But thanks for laughing. That’s what I was going for.

    Still, I do have to wonder why people would be so quick to settle on somebody’s guilt in causing the closure. When similar types of things have happened around me, I usually wonder which idiot went way too far so that the authorities had to make it miserable on everybody! So I guess I’m still scapegoating, but just from a different angle. Which really makes me think about where I’m at.

  10. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    kevin f, # 3 & 7: Thanks for the advice. Nothing very serious has happened thus far, and sooner or later local folks will find out what has really happened and they’ll forget they thought I was responsible. I’m new here, it takes years to get to know somebody. After a few years their wild suspicions will dull to bemusement and they’ll see I’m not especially troublesome.

    My goal here is to find sustainable language — language that people can approach and take what they need from to support growth at whatever rate they’re growing. Antagonistic language … um, shall we say “developmentally delays”? — growth. Not in all cases, but in cases like this one. It threatens people, triggering self-defensive behavior, perhaps reflexively.

    As a strategic act, apologetic language might defuse a situation quickly, but I’m not sure how sustainable it is or what risks it runs of becoming just another form of posturing. In some cases, it might even mislead others or slow progress down. I’m saying all this without ever having read EE’s essays, so I might not know whereof I speak.

    One of my mentors, A. H. King, advised me to “never apologize, never explain” in situations like these, just “do what you’re going to do and let that speak for itself.” His idea seemed to be that engaging in such behaviors drew off energy and concentration needed for the work at hand.

  11. Bob on September 27, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    #6:1) I fear you will never beat the BLM, you’re just too small. But maybe somebody has..how? The BLM may not fear you, but they fear somebody or something..who/what ? Study up on it.
    2) You’re also too small to take the “Pie” from them. Can you redefine the “Pie”? Can we close it only on the weekdays? Following rain, just June & July? In the afternoon?
    3) Can you trade? Can canyon ‘B’ be used while ‘A’ is closed? Will you move that rock we have been trying to have you move (for 3 years!), before the canyon is close? Can the old logging road
    be opened/or graded for ATVs.
    4) Let go of your pride: show you are will to be bought off..to shut up. Maybe restrooms at the trailhead.

  12. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Bob, #11. I have studied up. I am studying up. What I discovered wil be revealed in Part Three.

  13. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Jim C, “Also currently a continuing very hot controversy over the ‘Factory Butte’ area and ATV riders.”

    Ooooh, hadn’t heard about this one. I’ve been in that area, done a little hiking. Isn’t that the area that was set aside specifically for ATVers?

    “Bitterness, irony, and political intrigue suffuse these issues.” Well yes, that’s one of my points here. Another point is that the bitterness and political intrique are themselves part of the exploitation and laying waste. People on all sides roll over each other with it, tearing up the psychological landscape. Is this inevitable? It’s the way its often done and it has a long and, in my opinion, uninteresting tradition in territorial disputes from the primeval get go. Time to move on to different kinds of language, but what are they?

    As for the irony — that’s unavoidable. Overall, irony plays vital roles in all dramas, pointing to the real action nobody’s noticed yet. I like irony. It’s like the angels in _Wings of Desire_.

  14. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    gf # 5: “… I’m interested in your views of your neutrality.”

    I simply find neither side especially attractive in word or deed. Also, I have my hands full at home caring for a child who is herself a ravaged, at risk landscape. Funny thing, her being born on Earth Day.

    I’m trying both to recover from hardships and expand my capacity. Got a yoga phrase for that?

  15. kevinf on September 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Patricia, I think the key to a dialog is to use apologetic language, but not apologize for the things you have or haven’t done.

    Something like, “I’m sorry there is so much tension over this, and I wanted to talk to you about…”. Express an interest in listening to their concerns, and then look for common ground, which in this case might have to be a compromise that doesn’t make it seem like you won, and they lost. Because, if things stay the way they are, that’s exactly how it will be perceived. Perhaps you can help them find another place that can be set aside in perpetuity for OHV use, and help them work for it or improve access to it.

    As your mentor said, let your actions speak for you.

  16. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    kevin f: “Something like, ‘I’m sorry there is so much tension over this, and I wanted to talk to you about…’. Express an interest in listening to their concerns, and then look for common ground, which in this case might have to be a compromise that doesn’t make it seem like you won, and they lost.”

    Interesting. And thanks for clarifying. I think language like the above is close enough to sympathy that I might lean the rest of the way into actual sympathy, if it were warranted.

    I’m not much of an activist, at least not at the broad issue level. I’m interested in the language at play — what is it doing to and for the people involved? On both sides (actually, it turns out there’s a triangle here), the language strives for control over a place and others having an interest in that place. Is that the best we’ve got? If so, then maybe it’s time for something different. I’m wondering what else is possible.

  17. Stephen M (Ethesis) on September 27, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Dealing with an Angry Public: The Mutual Gains Approach To Resolving Disputes by Lawrence Susskind and Patrick Field (Hardcover – April 17, 1996)

    That is the classic text in the field, btw.

  18. John Mansfield on September 27, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    O that there were no American counties 90% owned and managed by absentee masters thousands of miles away.

  19. Ardis Parshall on September 27, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    18: You mean, counties like the ones containing Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion …?

  20. Bob on September 27, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    #15: “I think the key to a dialog is to use apologetic language”. I don’t know what that means in a negotiation. But I will await Patricia’s final post on this. But you are right, a compromise is better than win/lose.
    #16: “I’m interested in the language at play”. Go to Wikipedia and look up Ultimatum. In Negotiation, you offer Compromise or a Fight. You make it clear, you are open to either. If you are only open to one, It’s called a Bluff.
    “I’m wondering what else is possible” Pity. ( But don’t expect that from the BLM)

  21. Patricia Karamesines on September 27, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Bob # 20: Maybe we should just set up a Survivor: Crossfire Canyon series, peopling camps with explosive mixes of Mormon ATVers, “liberal green wakkos,” as Jacob M puts it, and BLM agents and officers.

  22. Bob on September 27, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    #19: I agree with you on this: When they (BLM) gets it right, it is usually a good job. I love the their Park system !

  23. Local Yocal on September 27, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Part of the problem is that the opposing voices (both for and against multiuse) are so loud, confrontational, accusatory, biased, and (often) dishonest that the little people who are rational and thoughtful are completely drowned out. I live in the same town as Patricia and am aware of what is happening in “Crossfire” as well as in other parts of the area. I love to hike, love to backpack, love to ATV, love to mountain bike, and, basically, love to live in this beautiful corner of the state. I do each one of these activities with the sole purpose of enjoying the natural, cultural, and geological beauties that are in my backyard. I can appreciate the amazing solitude that is available to the hiker and the backpacker. I often hunger for that peaceful solitude and I can find it here. But I can also appreciate the ability to visit the far-in-between places using an ATV or mountain bike. I can take my children, my parents, and even my grandparents to places they have never seen and have only heard about. In all my activities I try to adhere to the Leave No Trace principles.

    I want to both protect and enjoy this country. I want to enjoy it not only now but later in my life. I want it to be available to my children when they are vigorous and can explore on foot and when they are old and need some assistance. I want to find solutions that attempt to address both issues. I am one of the locals that often gets lambasted by SUWA and others across the country who want this little spot to be their private playground. We are painted as uneducated vandals with little foresight. That is not the case. I feel the desire to care for this country and demonstrate appropriate stewardship. There are many others like me here in this community that love “Crossfire” and want to enjoy it. Many of these people are good, responsible, stewardly people. But…we…don’t…matter…in…this…discussion. The ultimate decisions are made by larger powers under significant political and legal pressure. I think that if Patricia and I (or others, for that matter) were given the task of finding a solution we could come up with something. But we are basically insignificant in the discussions. It makes me quite sad.

    As for stewardship: does stewardship mean locking everything down and throwing away the key? I don’t think so. Part of stewardship involves protection and part of stewardship involves use. The land is meant to be used and protected. If you only protect the land you are not a good steward. If you only use the land you are not a good steward.

  24. Bob on September 28, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Personally, I think we are still at a point where there is room for everyone to be pleased. But the voices have to be equal in power. The BLM is powerful. The voice of Patricia and Local Yocal are just “The raging of sleeping sheep”. But I think most American want their kids to smell a pine tree, walk in a canyon. I feel the important thing is: IT’S BEEN DONE BEFORE! Yosemite, etc., are not fulled with Condos,because the people said no!
    #21: I was about 3 miles from Ruby Ridge when it went down. Not what you want to see!

  25. mlu on September 28, 2007 at 2:49 am

    I’ve worked with a few archaeologists over the years and I had a lot of respect for each of them. Yet I have the same distrust of the profession as I do of other professions. They have their secret maps and are allowed to visit places the rest of us can’t and their professional bias is to lock up everything so the ignorant masses don’t destroy it. All old signs of humans are cultural resources to be preserved and all recent signs of humans are desecration.

    My sense is that the hegemony of credentialed experts gets in the way of stewardship. They worry me more, by just a little, than ATV-ers and such.

    Of course, it’s obvious that bottle pickers and ATV-ers will strip the earth to bedrock if there are no constraints.

    I have no solutions. But I’m feeling creative so maybe I’ll go spay paint some new pictographs on a cliff above my house. It will give future archaeologists something to preserve. I may even leave footprints and turds, which greatly excite these guys.

  26. Patricia Karamesines on September 28, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Local, #23: Thank you for joining the conversation, especially with such a clear voice.

    “Part of the problem is that the opposing voices (both for and against multiuse) are so loud, confrontational, accusatory, biased, and (often) dishonest that the little people who are rational and thoughtful are completely drowned out.”

    I haven’t lived down here long enough to compare actual notes on the “dishonest” assertion of your statement, but I’ve already seen enough in this situation, and have had enough experience with other situations (including on blogs) where the same polarizing dynamics are at work, to guess that your assessment is plausible. “Drowned out” — drowned out or taken out of context or used in whatever way by either side to feed the discord. I’m still more or less an outsider in the area, but discord, anger, frustration, fear, etc.is what I see creating the actual energy in this dispute. The accusatory, angst-ridden language tells me accusing and satisfying the angst is what’s actually important to the people involved. These emotional groundings are where the strongest, most tenacious roots of nearly all of the language I’ve seen so far actually originate. Places like Crossfire become ostensible battlegrounds for virulent angsts.

    “I am one of the locals that often gets lambasted by SUWA and others across the country who want this little spot to be their private playground. We are painted as uneducated vandals with little foresight. That is not the case. I feel the desire to care for this country and demonstrate appropriate stewardship. There are many others like me here in this community that love ‘Crossfire’ and want to enjoy it. Many of these people are good, responsible, stewardly people. But…we…don’t…matter…in…this…discussion. The ultimate decisions are made by larger powers under significant political and legal pressure.”

    Sounds like you already know how part three turns out. However, I’m not sure what you mean when you say “we don’t matter.” There must be a way or ways to matter. The language you’ve shown here is the best language I’ve heard so far in the dispute. And when you say you’re “one of the locals that often gets lambasted by SUWA and others,” do you mean you get lumped in with the the loud, confrontational, accusatory voices unjustly, or do you mean something else?

    “As for stewardship: does stewardship mean locking everything down and throwing away the key? I don’t think so. Part of stewardship involves protection and part of stewardship involves use. The land is meant to be used and protected. If you only protect the land you are not a good steward. If you only use the land you are not a good steward.”

    Nicely put. Would locking up all teenaged daughters so they don’t become pregnant be the best way to protect them? Would ridding the world of either Christianity or atheism by forbidding one or the other belief system in order to prevent abuses under the guise of either be considered a progressive, creative way to prevent abuse? I have great faith that there are better ways. The fact that we haven’t found them or haven’t settled hot spots in disputes doesn’t mean there aren’t more rational, creative, potent solutions. The “loud, confrontational, accusatory, biased, and (often) dishonest” voices might be hanging things up, but really, people want more than to be loud, confrontational, accustory, etc. I believe most people do, anyway, even if they don’t know it.

    Actual, visionary, affectionate, faithful, generous, irresistible creative thought and language for this problem (and others) is out there.

    It could be that the entire creation is struggling for increased awareness — higher consciousness — progression — and humankind has taken up the vanguard position at that fartherest extensions of its frontiers. It could be that “wilderness” and the wild creatures that inhabit it actually need human presence in some way. We really don’t know what’s going on yet. Vast stretches of unexplored physical and spiritual terrain lie between us and God, and we’re still having saloon brawls about who gets to do what along imagined fencelines.

  27. Patricia Karamesines on September 28, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Bob, #24. Thanks for the Ruby Ridge reminder and for keeping me in line.

  28. Patricia Karamesines on September 28, 2007 at 10:41 am

    mlu, # 25. “But I’m feeling creative so maybe I’ll go spay paint some new pictographs on a cliff above my house. It will give future archaeologists something to preserve. I may even leave footprints and turds, which greatly excite these guys.”

    I think you’re confusing petulance with creativity, a common mistake, and sometimes an understandable one since self-described creative types frequently make the same error.

    If you were really going to be creative, what would you do?

  29. Bob on September 28, 2007 at 10:50 am

    #25: Wow, somebody needs their nap! Why your desire to visit these secret places? I am sorry, but I will rate the stewardship of the archaeologist over the ‘bottle pickers’ every time.

  30. Kyle R. on September 28, 2007 at 10:55 am

    We really don’t know what’s going on yet. Vast stretches of unexplored physical and spiritual terrain lie between us and God, and we’re still having saloon brawls about who gets to do what along imagined fencelines.

    Beautifully said. I would only have added “unexplored and still unimagined”.

  31. Patricia Karamesines on September 28, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Kyle R. — “Unimagined.” Yes, good.

  32. Bob on September 28, 2007 at 11:50 am

    #23, #26: The NRA is made up of small people, AARP is made up of small people, the Sierra Club = Small people. Yet they all have a big voice. But what happens when Gun Owners distrust or dislike the NRA? What happens when the Elderly don’t back AARP? What happens when Nature Lovers hate the Environmentalists?
    Another basic problem is people who love to slip out into the outdoors, is to get away from Committees, etc….”I want to be alone”. That makes it hard to build a group effort.
    Finally, let’s be honest ( I include me! ), we want Nature for free. If I wanted to spend a lot of money, I buy a boat or cabin.

  33. greenfrog on September 28, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I’m trying both to recover from hardships and expand my capacity. Got a yoga phrase for that?

    Not a phrase, but I do have a practice I could share. Drop by the pond.

  34. Local Yocal on September 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Patricia wrote “And when you say you’re “one of the locals that often gets lambasted by SUWA and others,” do you mean you get lumped in with the the loud, confrontational, accusatory voices unjustly, or do you mean something else?”

    What I mean is that I (and many of the good and responsible ATVers here in this community/area/state) get lumped in with the earth-wreckers. I’ve read numerous letters to the editor and op-ed pieces claiming that the locals want no restrictions and only want to use up the place and destroy it. These same letters and articles often bash ATVs and those that ride them. Not every local or ATVer is like this and it is, at best irresponsible, and at worst ignorant, to make such claims. Plus, it does nothing to solve the problem. Does irritating the locals and ATVers make them want to cooperate and compromise more? I don’t think so.

    ATVers need to be made aware of their impact and how they can minimize it. Hikers and backpackers are (or should be) familiar with the Leave No Trace ethic. This philosophy was developed because hikers and backpackers were making an impact. Instead of closing everything to hikers and backpackers because of the mess they were making a creative and realistic solution (LNT) was implemented. Is it perfect? Of course not. But it much better than completely shutting everything down.

    So I would start promoting a Leave No Trace ethic for ATVers. Granted, it would be a slow process but I think it would have great effects in the end.

    Other ideas might be a free permit system. Just the fact that someone has to get a permit to access an area would do a lot toward keeping out those that just want to use the place for their own personal race track.

    The idea of alternating times of the year when a canyon is open to ATVs and Hikers is another idea. I’ve seen this work in some areas and kind of like it. In this area, it is often too hot to do alot of hiking in the canyons during the summer. Let the ATVers ride in the summer and the hikers can enjoy the months of winter.

    What is bothering most people on both sides is the “All or Nothing” option where everything is opened or everything is closed. It can’t be that way.

  35. Jim Cobabe on September 28, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    A lot of this seems way overboard to me.

    This kind of closure has been the practice for many years now. It is one effective way for the public land management agents to deal with untenable problems in the wilds. Just close the place down. Lock the gates. Put up fences and chains, block the roads, place threatening signs all around.

    What is really surprising is the number of closures that are casually put in place without giving public notice. Seldom raises more than just a few muttered comments from ill-tempered locals.

    People will go elsewhere. The land will wait.

    Discovering “ancient artifacts” is not the only trick used to lock up a wilderness area. The protectors of Factory Butte cited a rare cactus species in the area. But in all their editorial comments on the site, the environmentalists display photos showing ATV tracks threading over the desert.

  36. Local Yocal on September 28, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    #32 I honestly don’t think that the NRA and Sierra Club are “small people” any more (I don’t know enough about the AARP). At this point they are BIG and are backed with lots of financial, legal, and political power. They are highly polarized to the point of being unreasonable and unobjective. In my opinion, at this point they are largely pundits rather than proposers of real solutions. They often carry so much baggage that they are completely unable to compromise. Every large institution has this problem. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things they do well. However, there are some issues that they can never solve because they can’t get out of their own way.

    I wonder if it would ever be possible to create an objective organization with real power that doesn’t suffer from the same problems as the NRA and Sierra Club? I have my doubts.

    #35 I think that many people feel that even when public notice is given it really doesn’t matter. The decision has already been made and the public hearing meetings are only for show – thus disenfranchising the public.

  37. Local Yocal on September 28, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    BTW, I also know some “locals” who are so polarized they can’t get out of their own way as well. ;-)

  38. Adam Greenwood on September 28, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Yokel. Local Yocal already knows that, but I point it out for the sake of impressionable readers. I’d hate to think we started yet another internet spelling here.

  39. Local Yocal on September 28, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Hot damn, I let mine igerrance sho.

  40. Bob on September 28, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    #31: If everyone would just return to the Ant Farm and Aquarium Fish, all of this would go away. ( I’ll bet Kyle has a bug collection.)
    #36: I don’t disagree with your post. #32 was just my effort to reply to your statement in #23 “little people who are rational and thoughtful are completely drowned out” As flawed as the NRA, AARP, or the Sierra Club are…they are not ‘drowned out”. (Disclaimer: I have belonged to all three.)

  41. Patricia Karamesines on September 28, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Jim C., # 35: “A lot of this seems way overboard to me.”

    All what, Jim? You mean the discussion? Do you mean particular aspects of the discussion? And overboard in what way? If you have something to teach me, something to show me you think I’m missing, you’re going to have to make yourself clearer.

    “This kind of closure has been the practice for many years now.”

    Yes, but it’s my first-time experience with the dynamics of a closure, and I thought it would make for an interesting, maybe even informative post for Times and Seasons readers who might be interested in such things.

    “People will go elsewhere. The land will wait.”

    Maybe true. But if people are part of place, if they’re part of the nature that flourishes in a place, the matter might not be one of simply biding time. It might be a matter of improving relations people-people and people-land.

  42. Patricia Karamesines on September 28, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    # 33, greenfrog, Thanks. I’ll do that. Might take me a while, but I’ll get there.

  43. Patricia Karamesines on September 28, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    #34 & # 39, You know who I am, or at least how to locate me if you feel so inclined. Flag me down if you think it might be useful. I’d like to talk.