A lament for the lost wild
On this blog last Christmastime, I wrote the following: Every acre of protected wilderness is a good thing. You can’t have too much wilderness, and anyone who thinks the US is anywhere close to reaching that point is deluding themselves. So it is with Christmas Joy that I read about the Obama Administration’s plan to give the Bureau of Land Management the right to set land aside for Federal protection as wilderness.
Well, that was quick. I still believe every world of that, but this week has removed any reason to celebrate American Wilderness. The Obama administration had a plan to add new wilderness designations to land throughout the West, but has now abandoned any hope of success. The short of the story is that in December Obama gave the BLM the right to designate Wild Lands, and Congress took it back. Wilderness designation is a messy political issue, and is often handled poorly and on the extreme edges of political ideology. But that does not mean that America does not need more wilderness protection. For now, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made it plain: “I am confirming today that, pursuant to the 2011 CR, the BLM will not designate any lands as ‘Wild Lands.”