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Corporate capture, theft and pillage of public lands on Yellowstone’s western flank


Corporate capture, theft and pillage of public lands on Yellowstone’s western flank

Jun 04, 2023 | 6:48 am ET
By Steve Kelly
Corporate capture, theft and pillage of public lands on Yellowstone’s western flank
A photo of logs stacked ready to be transported (Photo by Albert Herring via Wikimedia Commons | CC-BY-SA 2.0).

Are you aware of the electronic media blackout which allows the government’s forest conquest and pillage – also known as, “active forest management” – campaign to remain invisible?

Media-government collaboration has been gaslighting the citizenry for decades. You will seldom, if ever, see on local or national TV a live action story about clearcutting.  Ever hear about bulldozing a road through a native forest on the local radio station? 

Not likely.    

Does “active forest management” make you feel more secure?  

The incredible damage inflicted by United States Forest Service bureaucrats and timber industry agents upon the North Bridgers, the Sourdough Drainage and magnificent forest between Kirk Hill trail and Hyalite Road is effectively “off-limits” to the media.  Those images remain hidden from public view.  

If all that recent carnage isn’t atrocious enough, the 39,909-acre South Plateau logging project takes the cake.

Located at Yellowstone Park’s boundary, south and west of West Yellowstone, South Plateau is gargantuan, boasting more than 5,550 acres of clearcuts and 56.8 miles of bulldozed logging roads.  This deforestation will top anything we’ve experienced since the Reagan years.

Clearcutting miles and miles of lodgepole pine in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is pure folly.

Pro-logging propaganda is as old as the mythic tales of Wisconsin folk hero Paul Bunyan and his trusty companion, Babe the Blue Ox. Lumbermen told the story for generations as they hacked down the north woods from Maine to California.  The best forests were cut down first to make way for today’s subsidized GMO corn and soybean plantations.

The Forest Service’s crafty language and exaggerated claims glorify industrial logging. Today’s propaganda is sophisticated and abstract, designed to mislead the (fear-ridden) public into believing government nonsense about “forest resilience treatments” to restore these lands back to health.” 

Don’t be fooled, these forests are perfectly healthy. 

In the virtual world of computer programs and models, if the forest isn’t sick and suffering, engineers fabricate a “shadow” forest that idealizes every old glorifying bromide about “treating” the “unhealthy forest” with images and ideas so powerful that they colonize the American imagination.  Virtual replaces the real forest with concocted mythology — simulacra.  In other words, the sick, unhealthy forest does not exist.  It’s alive and well, just as Creator designed.  

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.”  The Forest Service lacks one of the principal precepts of bioethics, non-maleficence.  Every intervention (‘treatment’) carries obvious risk of harm coupled with a low probability of benefit.  Sadly, the Forest Service never learns from its diagnostic errors.  

This raises the serious question: Are these “forest professionals” well-meaning providers, or are we dealing with an agency addled with an uncommon, collective psychological disorder that resembles Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy?  Munchausen affects a primary caretaker, which in this case is represented by government agents specializing in forest-management. 

Government agents exaggerate or make-up symptoms for a natural forest ecosystem.  Next, deliberate actions, usually involving big machines, by the caretaker make symptoms worse.  The same harmful actions are repeated.  For the caretaker with Munchausen it’s all about appearing to be caring and dedicated to promoting forest health, albeit indifferent (or worse) to the condition of the “patient.”  Violent people who feel compelled to kill “the wild” in natural forest ecosystems are mad.

Forest Service, heal thyself. 

Failing that, perhaps it’s time to consider extending Yellowstone National Park’s boundary westward, all the way to the Continental Divide. National Park caretakers would significantly improve conditions for wildlife, water, wilderness and ecosystem health.

Natural forests ecosystems function quite well, as they have for millennia.  Marvel, and let them be.

Steve Kelly is the president of Council on Wildlife and Fish, an artist, gardener and angler residing in Bozeman, Montana.