Randy Bright: Does Hidden Gems really save wildlife? | SummitDaily.com
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Randy Bright: Does Hidden Gems really save wildlife?

Randy Bright
Silverthorne

I do not understand the position that wilderness saves wildlife. It is alleged that motor vehicles (OHV’s) drive away wildlife. How does this agree with: observing bighorn sheep along I-70 and the Georgetown area, or elk and bighorn sheep in Estes Park, or mountain goats on Mt. Evans Road, or deer along I-70 and Edwards, or Wild Turkey on a Platte River highway bridge near Greeley or near Dotsero, or bison walking down the road in Yellowstone, or the fox and coyotes in our back yard? Simple observation seems that wild life is happy until you stop your vehicle and get out/off, then wild life stress occurs.

Or is it the belief that wildlife thrive in an old growth forest? My observation has been that wildlife need habitat with a variety of plant species, and this usually occurs from rejuvenating forest cleared areas. So it is a statement that we would prefer fire rather than logging? Heaven forbid that it ever hits the east side of the Eagles Nest Wilderness area! (But there sure is a lot of fuel available!) And is it really “green” to import lumber products rather than use what is standing in our forests?

Casual wildlife observance says that wildlife DO NOT enjoy being shot at. This one activity seems to control wildlife numbers and locations to a great extent! But before there is an attempt to exclude another forest use group, please consider wildlife numbers are healthy in Colorado thanks to the CDOW which is funded by hunter’s licensing fees. Hmmmmm, could it be that a lot of different user groups really care (and monetarily contribute) to/for the environment?

What am I missing here? Is it really believed that we can bring back the natural system as it once was? Is that wish and standard determined by post native-American habitation and pre-European immigration? (Pack your bags.) Is the thinking that locking out the vast majority of forest users in the “Hidden Agenda” areas will encourage Grizzlies to once again roam free in Colorado? Or is it possible there is always increasing human population with increasing recreation desires, and that we have a responsibility to manage and treat fairly? (One third of White River National Forest is already designated Wilderness. Elk herd population is close to the highest in recorded history.)

Could it possibly be that wildlife my thrive even more if, instead of halting forest management (turn to wilderness), a more positive endeavor may be to take on domestic grazing on BLM and NF lands! That my create more winter habitat/”wildlife-friendly places,” yet protect the forest for the people, not from the people.

Happy wildlife observing! I’m getting that the vast majority are observed with the assistance of a motor vehicle/OHV, but then maybe I just don’t get it.


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