Saturday, December 3, 2005

What I Should Have Said

I spoke at a PARC get-together last night, before a crowd of maybe forty people, about trails, and the Big Granite Trail, and what happens when a bulldozer skids logs over an ancient footpath, and so on.

I felt I had little time and could not properly develop my subject. But I am not much of a speaker, anyway, perhaps because I never make any notes, and just start flailing about, and hope for the best.

What I should have said is that the magnitude and pervasiveness of the old trails problem has only come into focus for me in recent years; that I am astounded that We the People did not rise up and stop the destruction, decades ago; that I am at fault and PARC is at fault, and of course TNF and the BLM are at fault, and the Placer County Supervisors are at fault ...

For, when I look back at my own efforts, it is as tho I had studied under FEMA, how best to fail; and under the geological Principal of Uniformity, if I myself am a miniature FEMA-in-inaction as it were, then as night must follow day, so also are the other environmentalists. Collectively, we have handled an emergency--the wanton destruction of our trails, our open space, etc.--in a most FEMA-like manner.

Perhaps we were waiting for some other agency, some other environmental organization, to do its simple duty. "Tahoe National Forest will guard the old trails," one thinks, or, "the Sierra Club will step in and fix this," or, "CDF won't let the loggers destroy Lost Camp and the head of the China Trail."

Just as FEMA seems to have waited for other agencies to spring into action and provide leadership, after Hurricane Katrina.

I forgot to mention, to the people of PARC, the historic trails so ruined by logging they cannot be followed, not far from the Big Granite Trail: the Sugar Pine Point Trail, the Big Valley Trail, the Big Bend-Devils Peak Trail, the Monumental Creek Trail, the Mears Meadow Trail, ... ah ... the list goes on.

These are the very trails once used by many hikers and equestrians, through pristine forests and meadows, into steep gorges and canyons, and to various lakes; in Lardner's 1927 history of Placer County, he mentions that at Cisco, the original beginning of the Big Granite Trail, "guides and horses can be found here, for trips further into the mountains."

So. These very ruined trails are the ones that would have been used on those trips "further into the mountains."

Most all the damage there happened within the last three decades.

One might think, "the environmental movement is strong, here in California."

To which I reply, "Yes, we are like FEMA! Wonderfully strong!"

No comments: