Wednesday, 30 September 1998 17:00

Is Harry Reid cutting secret deals with Sierra Club?

Written by Ira Hansen
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According to environmental extremist Marjorie Sill of the Sierra Club, U.S. Senator Harry Reid is "anxious" to lock up even more Nevada public lands from Nevada citizens and keep it in the federal government's hands.

The Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club and "Friends of Nevada Wilderness". (both of which combined have about a dozen active members) are calling for Congress to take away seven million acres of the choicest pieces of Nevada's public lands. And Harry Reid is supportive.

"Senator Harry Reid is anxious to introduce a bill to protect BLM lands, but Congress isn't friendly to wilderness right now," Sill stated.

The reason Congress is unfriendly to more government sponsored "wilderness" is at least in part because of the backlash from those who have experienced how the government bureaucrats administer

those lands. As an avid Nevada sportsman, I saw how many of my fellow nimrods fell for the idea that "wilderness means their own private little hunting preserves. Selfishly, they sought to deny all others access to the "public domain."

But many received a rude awakening when the government began to block all roads in these areas, as well as deny the use of all "mechanical" devices, such as bicycle-wheeled deer carriers. And more than one person enjoying a wilderness

hunting or camping trip have had government rangers order them to break up their camps and move to other locations for all kinds of stupid reasons, from having too many horses in camp to supposedly blocking a deer trail.

Even more absurd was the forest service's denial of a request to use a helicopter to help a group of stranded Boy Scouts lost in a wilderness area. A bureaucrat holding tight to the letter of the law placed an entire group of young men's lives in danger rather than "violate" the supposed sanctity of "wilderness." It almost took an act of Congress (no kidding) before these scouts were allowed to be rescued

Another bizarre twist to wilderness has been the halting of traditional biological studies of game species by state fish and game agencies, normally done by helicopter. Once again, in keeping with the "no mechanical devices" rule, helicopters or even low-flying airplane use is forbidden.

Without firm scientific data to justify their season setting practices, biologists cannot defend themselves from the attacks of the anti-hunters. Scientifically gathered data is the basis for all wildlife management harvest decisions. With no data and a challenge in court by the anti-hunting crowd, their goal is accomplished - no more hunting in wilderness areas. There is no doubt this is a major reason so many animal rights type groups are so adamant in their support for expanding federal wilderness areas. This is also why most major sportsmen groups, such as the NRA, oppose further expansion of federal wilderness programs.

Wilderness areas must be "roadless" before they can be considered for permanent removal and most folks who have a favorite spot feel safe they can always access it, since there are roads leading to it But the government has quite a different definition of "road" than you and I. In fact, unless the road is Almost like a paved section of highway, the government can and does have "definitions" to get

around the "roadless" requirement.

I have on several occasions been driving down old and well-established roads and found, planted in the dead center of the road, a steel post cemented in place with a sign warning: "Travel restricted beyond this point. BLM Wilderness study area." By blocking all access, the government can now declare the area "roadless."

With Nevada having a high population of senior citizens, and with Harry Reid always claiming to be their champion, it is ironic that Reid seeks to effectively halt their use of up to seven million acres of the best spots in Nevada. Without road access and the use of mechanical devices, only young backpacker types can get into

these areas. Senior citizens, after having paid taxes used to support the "public domain" all of their lives, suddenly find themselves excluded, by their own U.S. Senator, from their own lands! After all. if the government-controlled lands belong to everyone, isn't it only fair to allow all of us, including older folks, reasonable access to it?

Harry Reid is talking out of both sides of his mouth; by catering to the elitists and Easterners who want to lock up the Western public domain as their own personal playground, he excludes 99 percent of the people of Nevada. The answer to his secret dealings with environmental extremists is simple -exclude Harry Reid from the U.S. Senate.


By Ira Hansen

Sparks Daily Tribune, Sept. 6, 1998

Last modified on Thursday, 06 May 2010 16:17
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