I naturally advocate keeping plenty of backcountry land in good shape, for a lot of reasons (including backcountry skiing). But I don’t believe we need much “sacred ground” wilderness where humans are unwelcome.
Many environmentalists feel differently, and devote their lives to restricting human use of our public lands. They use every tool possible to keep people away. One of their most bothersome ploys is when they push to define backcountry as habitat for endangered species, thus requiring major outlays of tax money to “re-introduce” so called endangered species that actually have viable populations elsewhere in North America.
Where does it end? After we’ve populated every square inch of the backcountry with wolves, grizzly bears, lynx and other sexy pets, do we then start with every other species that’s ever lived there — all the while pushing humans farther and farther away because they might make it hard for the new animals to procreate?
The lynx issue in Colorado has been particularly bothersome. There is little to no evidence of Lynx in most of Colorado, and our highly publicized and expensive re-intro program is limping along in a somewhat ludicrous media circus fashion (follow the wandering lynx!). Nonetheless, somehow our vapor-lynx habitat worked its way into the management rules of Colorado’s White River National Forest, requiring officials to regulate use of the forest based on Lynx that actually were not there. Apparently that’s over with. According to this story, the Lynx rule in the Forest Plan will be removed. That’s one small step toward managing the forest in a realistic way: balancing recreation, resource extraction — and wildlife.