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

 June 1, 2006

Silent Springs

by Rudy Hiley

It really struck me when we got out of the car at my folkís place; the mill sounds were all but gone. Growing up in Bandon there were always the busy sounds of mill and tug boat whistles, the scream of saws, the constant motion of equipment, trucks, hysters, jitneys and the general rattling buzz of the lumber industry. There were the smells too; fresh cut lumber, bark, and wigwam burners etc. Now my home town didnít even smell the same. No, there hadnít been a plague, or a title wave, or a war, it wasnít a holiday, there were no celebrity visitors in town; the simple fact was that a vital industry had been flattened by a bird; a Spotted Owl.

Throughout many towns and cities in the Northwest, the tree biz meant good paying jobs and happy municipal tax bases. You could get out of high school and start making a living wage, buy a nice ride and even a house. Or like many others (including me) that sort of labor afforded both the incentive and the money necessary to go off to college.

It was pretty clear that regardless of whether or not the bird was really endangered, the end result was that not many trees were being cut down anymore. Right or wrong, it seemed as if jobs and futures, school and muni funding were sort of offered up and sacrificed to nature. It was an eerie silence.

As the Spotted Owl weapon was first beginning to be wielded at timber and lumber people, there was also an eerie silence and lack of outrage on the part of the not yet directly affected world. The combined forces of government, environmental groups and the media were all too successful in convincing the outside world that this was a painful, yet all the same critical and necessary sacrifice. It was frightening to see how easily hyped emotion and green agendas, void of sound scientific reasoning could trump civil and constitutional rights. I thought about the men and women whom I grew up around who went off to war to keep tyranny in check only to see it raise up in their own home towns.

In a way, the water wars in the Klamath Basin partially boil down to extremist tree reverence as well. With the curtailment of logging, especially around BUFFERED tributary streams, thirsty trees have been allowed to grow up and drink up the best, coldest and clearest of river flow sources. The deficit has to be made up from Klamath Lake sources which are made putrid, not by irrigators and ranchers but buy naturally occurring volcanic events. What used to be deep lakes are now shallow, warm water, volcanic ash and natural phosphorous fertilizer catch basins. Deep core samples would tell the truth about the historic hydrology of the area, maybe thatís why the "wielders" havenít wanted to consider that obvious and logical scientific approach?

Now my old and new home towns are under attack at the same time by the newest contrived weapon; not so endangered fish. If the outside world comes to understand what is truly going on, and as a consequence becomes outraged and enraged, things will change. If not, the industrious sounds of the fields and docks will become eerily silent as well. All will fall silent as the trees grow old, fragile and hazardous, while they and the biospheres around them become more and more the object of unholy and profane reverence.

All that is good and productive could also spring silent as other communities around the nation and world come under attack through same sort of manufactured and hyped fears. The world has already witnessed how the skillful manipulation of consensus can be put to use; it makes it easy for a society to ignorantly justify the sacrifices of the few for the (skewed) sake of the many. Pretty soon all hell, death, destruction and havoc breaks loose.

All could be sprung silent if more humans are forced out of their lives, homes and futures while trees and nature itself (not to mention their worshipers) gain superior rights and prosper in their stead. You see, the goals of leftist civil war havenít changed much in this current age, just the methods by which anarchists invade, conquer and occupy that which you once called home.

Rudy Hiley
Tulelake, Ca

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