Saturday, March 27, 2010

The King's Forests

It's come to me of late that all this "saving the woods" is coming at the expense of being able to go INTO the woods. What with the county having closed off the gates and shooed away anyone with a constitution less hardy than a Missouri mule on the FS62 Road (its a long STEEP climb out off the highway several miles and a few thousand feet in elevation to a safe place to shoot), closed out the Pit ORV area and closed every gate in concert with the state DNR that would allow access to said woods, that our tax dollars continue to pay for the upkeep etc of....I'm BEGINNING to feel somewhat shat upon. And I'm NOT the only one.

The proverbial straw was the closure of the LAST sanctioned outdoors spot to shoot. Granted some of the folks who live nearby and not so nearby having gotten their panties in a knot about the all-daylight-hours use, which DOES get tiresome...its really partly the County and DNR's DOING that the whining is about. DNR and county have relentlessly closed off any and ALL places in the woods to shoot (with the exception of a county councilman's OWN private place of course) and had been RECOMMENDING that folks go to the last place around. This of course drives UP the usage to a considerable degree. Hence the neighbor's complaints. Some could be dismissed as hysteria, a young lady waving an empty cartridge case around and proclaiming in a theatrically quavering voice that she found THIS BULLET in her driveway, some were stonily delivering facts derived from who knows WHAT source (but WRONG ones nonetheless) while others were bemoaning the terrorizing of the "Birds and the Bees in the Cottonwood trees" all in all adding up to the council choosing to ignore the protests and actual factually correct data from the shooters pointing out the absurdity of the emotionally laden testimony and closing the pit.

Now this might seem like business as usual in the ever-expanding of suburbia were it not for the fact that the county council has had a SHOOTING RANGE on the books for the better part of 40 years and has been pressed hard for the last 20 years to GET IT BUILT.

Zip, Zilch...NADA. Even for a government program that is ASTOUNDINGLY poor performance.

Mind you now, its NOT really a MONEY issue as its been put so many times as the county has had the money to open or build out several new parks, new trails, camping yurts, birdwatching huts and a host of other things in that 20 year time frame...but never a dime to spare for a range. AND in that time the trap ranges have been closed, the various shooting pits closed off or the roads gated and the shooters concentrated into smaller and smaller places.

True there ARE public and private ranges SOMETIMES available, but the wait for membership in the ones with ranges past 100 yards is measured in YEARS, while the occasionally open public ranges have lines and ever-increasing fees to where its actually cheaper to take the family to the MOVIES than to the range.

Which leads me to the title of the post. It sure feels to me like We the People are being pushed out of the woods that we pay for with our tax dollars....and its STARTING to feel like its the Kings Forest instead of the National and State forests. Every gate has a sign, NO SHOOTING, NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES, NO CAMPING....NO, NO, NO, NO... And to top it off the new Wild Sky Wilderness that has been foisted off on us in actuality meets NOT ONE of the requirements for a WILDERNESS under the federal statutes with which its being promulgated. The lands enclosed in this new playground for the unemployed environmentalists to sign up to take a hike in have been logged, mined, riven with roads, power lines and all manner of other man-made items. They are NOT in the definition of a Wilderness, yet there they are, locked away from access but to the stout of body and expansive of time. While I'm still stout of body, Time is measured in dribs and drabs around the extremely demanding job of producing the worlds most advanced passenger airliner.

Now the path through the mountains is lined with gated roads, with their signs of NO, a raceway for the denizens of the local metropolis impostor to rush through on the way to the playgrounds of the Sunny East Side. for those of us who prefer to roam the green, quiet and drippy forests of the west side, its increasingly difficult to do so with anything but a short pass behind yet another locked gate.

The access to the Kings Forest is ever restricted and increasingly stringent.