Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

by Jim Beers 3/2/07, a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist

My wife and I were chatting as I drove down the Pennsylvania road and there it was. As I rounded the corner the big sign had Smokey the Bear (in his "uniform" Smokey-the-Bear hat) pointing right at me saying ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES. Oh really?

Once upon a time, long, long ago (45 years to be exact) the US Government in Washington passed The Wilderness Act and thus it began. Within 10 years the vote-generation powers of this Act as a boon to incumbency (keeping politicians in power term-after-term-after-term ad nauseam) spawned the Endangered Species Act, The Animal Welfare Act, The Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the expansion of Federal authority (at the expense of State Constitutional authority) over more birds like hawks and owls and cormorants. These anti-Constitutional approaches to environmental management expanded Federal authority, became Bureaucrat (State and Federal) Career/Pay/Bonus Booms, and proved that non-management or protection could be sold to the public as sensible.

Today we see radicals, bureaucrats, and politicians falling over each other to stop all forest management and logging on public and private (Spotted Owls or extinct Ivory-billed Woodpeckers or Red-cockaded Woodpeckers anyone?) lands. We see a river of propaganda and hear a constant chatter of the "need" for Federal "Invasive Species Authority", a Federal "need" for authority to "Restore Native Ecosystems", and most pernicious of all a "need" to fund state fish and wildlife agencies with Federal Appropriated funds directed by Federal bureaucrats in Washington for Federal (i.e. national and international environmental and animal rights organizations) purposes.

The resulting blizzard of Wilderness Declarations and Marine Sanctuaries and Critical Habitat (for "Endangered" Species), and Roadless Areas, and Road Closures, and Wolves & Grizzly Bears (extirpating not only big game, pets, and livestock but hunters and fishermen and ranchers and grazing allotments as well), and birds (both imaginary ones and real ones that have never been numerous to begin with) are shutting down logging are examples of the destruction of our society being wrought. Rural communities, families, freedoms, liberties, traditions, and our American society (both rural and urban) are being rent by the precedents and reformation of the Constitutional rule of law these things are causing.

But, hey, what about that sign? You know, Smokey telling us that only each of us can prevent forest fires?

It was true 45 years ago when the public lands were managed for the purposes for which they were set aside. National Forests for multiple uses like recreation, grazing, hunting, fishing, camping, timber harvest, trapping, hiking, etc. Management of the renewable natural resources of the forest minimized forest fire material accumulation, provided a constantly evolving pattern of habitat stages and therefore varieties of plant and animal communities, and revenue while supporting rural communities, economies, and families. As noted, this is no longer the case. Today there is no revenue
(save the ever-increasing flow of our tax dollars) and there is little or no use, there is a constant increase in forest fuel to feed fires and the ever-increasing Federal firefighting force is inadequate to save homes and communities as the philosophy of anti-American radicals about "people don't belong there" and "the government should own all that too" warble through the lips of politicians and bureaucrats as easily as through the lips of dictators like Mugabe and Mao.

So, I plan to put a gallon of black paint (it will take a lot), a small brush, and a ladder in my pickup. Why? The next time I see one of those signs (remember they are put up by the US Forest Service with OUR tax money!) I plan to fill in ALL the groups that (besides you and me) CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES.

A short list (I don't want to tell you all of them and thereby discourage you from looking for the signs) would contain:

US Forest Service (they should start managing the forests and grasslands again).

US Fish and Wildlife Service (see above).

Bureau of Land Management (see above).

National Park Service (see above).

All Federal land management agencies & Departments (see above).

Federal Politicians (that passed these goofy laws and refuse to amend or repeal them).

Federal bureaucrats (of all stripes that enable these travesties for their personal gain).

State Politicians (that acquiesce to Federal power abuse and growth to get Federal $'s). State Bureaucrats (that work with and support Federal abuses that harm their state).

University Professors (that generate lies about fire and uses and management for grants).

Environmental Radicals (from the National Wildlife Federation to ELF).

Animal Rights Radicals (from certain Veterinarian Assoc. to PETA and ALF).

Uninformed Urban Elites (who support these ruinous policies for imaginary reasons).

Hunter Organizations (that are silent as long as they get other Federal handouts).

Fourteen, not bad. There are more but that is enough to whet your appetite.

Why is this important? Because years ago a warm and fuzzy government agency image was fostered by the bear cub, Smokey, found after a fire. It was laudable that this image was used to encourage us to be careful with fires as we hunted and fished and camped and hiked on public lands that were managed and accessible. Forest fires endangered homes and communities in and near the forest and citizen-users had responsibilities that it was good to remind them about periodically.

Today the unmanaged, unused, inaccessible, and constantly restricted (from ranchers and loggers to campers and vehicle drivers and pet owners ET AL) National Forests are increasing fire hazards as fuel accumulation builds up. They are vehicles (hammers really) for even more cockamamie government growth and oppression schemes like Invasive Species programs, Native Ecosystem Restorations, and The Wildlands Project. Their burning is not grounds for firing the current crop of government employees working with radical agendas, indeed the fires are excuses to further these agendas and increase the harm to our society.

Adding insult to this mounting list of injuries is a national advertising campaign, paid for with our tax dollars (since the Forests no longer generate income or even a modicum of the tax-replacement promised to the Counties long, long ago. This campaign takes what was once true and uses a former truth to mask a current lie. I am sorry to seem "extreme" but the truth is that Lenin and Goebbels and every other dictator -propagandist has done the same thing down through history. "Tell a lie often enough and soon they will believe it" may have served other oppressors and other nations but it does not belong in America. I for one am appalled at the audacity of this lie and I deeply resent that they are trying to blame YOU and ME for a scandal that should never have been allowed to take hold in this great country.

You and I aren't the ones causing these fires and we are definitely not the "ONLY" ones that "CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES". As my grandmother told me years ago, "you can watch a thief, but you can't a liar".

Jim Beers

2 March 2007

- If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

- This article and other recent articles by Jim Beers can be found at http://jimbeers.blogster.com  (Jim Beers Common Sense) 

- Jim Beers is available for consulting or to speak. Contact: jimbeers7@verizon.net 

- Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.
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