But, as is typical of the smarmy cretins that seem penetrate our government with agendas that are more political than they are representative, even this process, which should involve sacrifice from all corners, is now laced with vitriol and the seedy agendas of those who would scuttle progress in favor of pleasing a few special interests.
And sportsmen are going to take another shot to the pooper if we're not careful.
|Congressman Wally Herger standing up for... himself.|
Several years back, Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth identified off-road vehicle travel on Forest Service lands as that agency's greatest challenge. He noted that efforts must be made to manage ORV use on public lands to ensure that other users in the national forests weren't overrun (and I think he meant literally) by folks who dared not walk into the woods. Bosworth and the administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture initiated the Forest Service's travel management review policy, and began, in earnest, seeking public comment and input into forest-specific travel management planning. Certainly, it was an exercise in bureaucracy, but the outcome of each plan, as the process moved forward, was the result of public participation–a cornerstone of our republic.
Many plans are done. Many are happily in use by folks who participated in their creation. But many are in the process. Herger's amendment would scuttle all of them by removing funding from the travel management process, making the whole ordeal a wasted exercise, kind of like Dorothy's dream of Oz. Only minus the technicolor and the Lollypop Guild. I can hear the engines revving at the trailheads now... "Snot-slurpers, start your engines!"
And this saves money ... how? From my perspective, it seems that it simply amplifies our fiscal problem, and actually makes the good money the government has already spent to put this process in place now officially bad money. Wasted money.
And these jerk-offs want to invest my Social Security? To hell with that.
Then someone like Herger bows to special interests and decides that wasting good money invested in a process that's meant to eek out some compromise between disparate users of public land suddenly equals "fiscal responsibility." Ah, to view life through those lenses, eh?
Sadly, Herger's not alone. You remember my good buddy Rob Bishop, the esteemed Congressman from that ever-progressive state of Utah? He, too, has introduced an amendment that amounts to a kick in the crotch to sportsmen (I know... he really IS out to get us). He wants to deny funding to the Bureau of Land Management to keep it from managing the National Landscape Conservation System, which might be one of the best public lands networks, particularly for hunters, our nation possesses.
What it boils down to, really, is the desire on the part of the bought-and-paid-for uber-Conservatives in the West to do their best to use the country's fiscal crisis to whittle away at laws, processes and rules that actually serve to protect the folks who live in the West and their ability to access and use public lands. And it doesn't just hurt hunters and anglers, it takes a swipe at just about everybody who enjoys the landscapes that belong to all of us.
So, for his ass-backwards attempt to assist our great nation through our financial obstacle course, I hereby award Rep. Wally Herger this week's Adversary of the Sporting State award. Congratulations, sir.