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Author Topic: Cryptobiotic soil vs. good images  (Read 7941 times)
howard smith
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« on: October 07, 2004, 11:17:26 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Seems easy enough.  Just follow the rules.  The rules are not intended to punish you or keep you from enjoying yourself or getting a good image.

There is a place in Death Valley near the Dunes where you can still see wagon tracks that are 100 to 150 years old.  The place heals slowly.  Perhaps you think one person cannot do a lot of damage, but multiply that by, say, a hundred thousand.  You will not be the only one who wants to get a bit closer.  Once a path is started, more people will follow.  There are places where the John Muir Trail is worn hip deep with several new parallel paths.

"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" should be updated to "Take nothing but pictures and trash, leave nothing."  The person behind you may appreciate it.[/font]
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jdemott
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2004, 07:12:40 PM »
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I have just returned from a wonderful two-week trip through the five National Parks in Utah,

Just as an example, one of those parks, Zion NP, had about 2-1/2 million visitors last year.

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I spent the whole two weeks trying to manuever around near the parking lots, pull-outs, and (IMO) poorly-maintained "trails," looking for good angles to make good images.

Most of those 2-1/2 million visitors were just like you, they were concentrated in the areas near the roads, and most of them visited during the peak months of the year. That is a lot of people in a very small area. There really isn't any choice but to ask everybody to stay on the trails, etc. Major tourist attractions do not necessarily equate to ideal nature photography sites. If you want freedom to move around, you need to be in the backcountry. Even there, you need to follow the rules so that others may enjoy it after you.

As for the poorly maintained trails, the budget at Zion NP last year was about $6 million, or a little more than $2 per visitor. If we want better parks, with more room for everyone, we have to be willing to pay for them. (BTW, I don't work for the government; I just happen to think that a society that doesn't invest in itself will be a poor society.)[/font]
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John DeMott
Sfleming
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2004, 07:42:06 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi there...first post so go easy on me!

I dont have a clue how the USA national parks are run or what the rationale behind their selection and management actually is. But it strikes me that these are probably very special places where they aim to conserve the very best examples of your nations natural heritage. If the cryptobiotic soils are a key feature of this particular range of habitats then I would expect the national park to want to conserve the best example. Perhaps it may not look as attractive as the landscape or a colourful bird or insect, but the fragile soil structure is just as important. So if the policy is to protect the best examples...then it is only right that these soils should be protected. If that means no-go areas then that is what we should all respect. As other folk have said there are other areas (not within the core conservation areas) where the strict guidance is not applied.


Graeme[/font]
[font color=\'#000000\']Problem is Graeme  [you all are so profligate with your vowels ;-)] there are extremist 'greens', as you call them over there I think, who seem to want no one to have access to certain special places.  One suspects that what they really want is that eventually there will BE no one to access any place.  I have had  high ups in the  environmental movement (professors) tell me they hoped for a super-plague to wipe out  mankind as we are a cancer that needs eradicating. (this guy is a neighbor of mine and has authored many books including textbooks)

Many extremists have long ago entered our forest service and they can be  radicals.  They believe in things like letting forests burn, especially any human habitations surrounding them, instead of managing them.

So when they come up with 'crypto-biotic soil' ... the more skeptical amoung us may tend to doubt their motives.  Americans don't like their government much.  I like to keep my government on a short leash and well disciplined.  It takes constant vigilance.

I especially don't like elitist morons who wear funny looking pointy hats acting like god's own wardens running roughshod over my high-tax-paying rights.  I have  never left so much as a piece of a film wrapper ... even on a city street ... let alone in the wilderness.  It seems to take about six months  for an enforcment official on the job to begin judging all people by the  lowest common denominator.

It's obviously a great lacking  in their educational process but then it's well know that our educational institutions are the last place on earth where they still believe in Marx.[/font]
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Scott_H
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2004, 12:39:14 AM »
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The invirowhako thing to do is to keep out the loggers for no good reason and let them burn.

My personal concern is how logging will be managed.  I don't see logging companies clearing away brush and dead falls; that would not be profitable.  Logging companies will want to cut down large old growth trees because they have more wood in them.  I don't see that helping with the fire situation.

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I especially don't like elitist morons who wear funny looking pointy hats acting like god's own wardens running roughshod over my high-tax-paying rights.

What does this mean then?  It sounds to me like you assume your taxes entitle you to do something, but guess I am not sure what that is.

Maybe you think your taxes are high here in the US, but they are not.  I moved here from Canada because the taxes are so much lower.  The difference in taxes more than offset the exchange rate, which was about 30 cents on the dollar at the time.  I think taxes in the US are lower than they are in most modern nations.

My understanding is that most of my tax money goes to things like roads, and police, and the military, and national parks.  Services I use, and security I enjoy and don't mind paying for.  I think if I had to pay more to get into a park, I really wouldn't mind that.  I expect to pay my own way.[/font]
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2004, 10:50:42 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Howard, I agree with you.  Humans are part of nature.  And we're a very successful part, so successful that we have been able to dominate almost every other part.

But our success can also be our downfall.  If we observe other species we see one become successful and its population grow.  That growth continues until there are so many individuals that the food source is depleted.  Then we see populations crash.  

We've grown our population to the point where we are significantly taxing our resources.  Here in the US we have grown our population to the point that we are experiencing significant decreases in 'quality of life'.  It's not about building one dam that produces power, it's about damming most rivers, about eliminating the ability of fish to reach spanning grounds, ....

There is a need to find a balance between protection and development.  We're struggling with this one.  As of this moment over 90% of the old growth redwoods, the largest trees in the world have been harvested.  It's a battle to save the last 3%.  Should we cut them all?

If we don't take some measures to protect the 'natural environment' you will be taking your landscape photos of golf courses, shopping malls, and erosion ruined slopes.[/font]
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AGW
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2004, 01:20:51 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Good grief...there are some prety extreme views out there....

As I said in my earlier post "I dont know what the purpose of an American National Park actually is...."

The point I was trying to make was simply that if they are supposed to be very special places then they have to be treated very specially. If they are not that important then fair enough...complain about restrictions, I would.

If on the other hand they are the best examples, then accept the rules with good grace and be pleased that they are being looked after.

Over on this side of the Atlantic we do not have the luxury of such huge, unspoilt areas. In the UK, I doubt that it is possible to get further than 10 miles from a road. We are very keen to protect our areas which "have the character of wild land". We have no wild land...its all domesticated to a degree. We have no large predators...all extinct. For many species of plants we are able to tell you almost exactly how many individual specimens are left. As for woodlands...the huge bulk of our forest area is made up of hand planted Sitka Spruce..imported and grown for timber production.

I suppose the message I would give is ...you are very lucky to have what you do have...use it wisely (ie conserve it).

Graeme

PS anyone got a link that would tell me what the purpose of a US National Park is?
Thanks[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2004, 04:43:36 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']As a retired scientist, Bob, I realize that the testimony of eye witnesses only brackets what actually happened.  We all see the same thing from a dfferent point.

"Lied."  Very harsh.  How about you changed your mind?

I wasn't belittling Hollywooders.  They just make me mad.  I see them as uninformed people using their status as a lever.  Their world works for them, but not for me.  I may be equally uninformed.[/font]
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Scott_H
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2004, 07:12:38 PM »
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ANY open space that's preserved is good. Our fauna and flora suffered and still suffers tremendously by our most often unsustainable land use practices.

There's a spot by my house that I used to be able to sit on a hill and watch foxes hunt, and deer graze.  It's a parking lot now...

I understand that we have to use our land, but I think we could be smarter about it.[/font]
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Infrared
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2004, 09:30:48 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi, folks, I am new to the website and this forum, but I already consider them terrific resources. I am sorry to be posting about something "controversial," but this is bothering me, and I wondered how other photographers deal with it.

I have just returned from a wonderful two-week trip through the five National Parks in Utah, and also shot in the State Parks like Kodachrome Basin, Coral Pink Sands, and Goblin Valley.

It seemed like wherever I went, there were many signs warning me to stay off of the "cryptobiotic soil." For those who don't know, this is a kind of fungus that grows on top of the sandy soil, helping to hold it together, and encouraging plants to sprout and discouraging erosion. The mature life-form is easy to see (and stay off of) as dark, lumpy clumps. But the immature form is--get this--invisible to the naked eye.

The Park Services don't want people tromping around on this stuff. I even caught a piece of a video on the Moab tourism TV channel depicting what they want us to think of as "eco-criminals" carrying tripods hopping around on a hill. The narrator was saying, in effect "Your pictures won't be any better a few feet from the parking lot."

I think that this "suggestion" is wrong-wrong-wrong. I spent the whole two weeks trying to manuever around near the parking lots, pull-outs, and (IMO) poorly-maintained "trails," looking for good angles to make good images. And all the time I was fearful that I would be reported to a ranger, as they ask the public to do.

I am all for "taking nothing but photographs and leaving nothing but footprints," but the Park Services now don't want us to leave the parking lots and pullouts. What's next? "Don't leave your vehicle"?

How do others feel about this, and how do you deal with it?

Thanks, JP[/font]
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gtal
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2004, 10:56:23 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Peter is exactly right. I live and photograph extensively in Utah and am able to get just about anywhere I need to without trampling crypto or other sensitive areas. All it takes is a little education to recognize where you should or should not walk.
What does upset me enormously is that in vast areas of the west (beyond the window dressing of national parks), cattle is allowed to roam free, erode the soil, pollute the waterways, and destroy vegetation to a much greater extent than any random hiker ever could.

Guy[/font]
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Scenic Wild Photography
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Sfleming
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2004, 02:24:53 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Perhaps Infrared was not clear enough but it also appears that  others have purposely missed much of what he is saying.

If we are all restricted to staying SOLELY on the blacktop and hewn trails it will be a sorry  sorry  day.

I understand that many who go cross country are  irresponsible.  I could horsewhip anyone who leaves trash in  our wilderness or serriously mars the  landscape.

I think what is needed is a liscensing program.  For sensitive areas one  should be required to take an internet based education program and pass a test in order to obtain a liscense for a reasonable and meaningful fee.  The fee should be  large enough to help support the parks.  It should have a scale built into it encouraging education.

I have another little idea I'd like to see implemented.  Fingerprint tossed  cans and bottles and  arrest and fine  the criminals  several hundred dollars.  This would at first raise millions and eventually solve  the  problem.  I know it wold sure clean up our lovely rivers here in Texas where many many people are positivly cretinous about littering.[/font]
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Sfleming
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2004, 04:54:16 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Howard,
I'm no fan  of government either.  Unfortunately the more irresponsible people are ... the more government it takes.

Hunters and fishermen must be licensed.  The  license program pays to improve the  hunting and  fishing and protect species.

Hikers and campers should pay more too.  It is really a problem of dollars.  Our parks and wilderness areas ARE suffering.  All one has  to do is get out there to see it.  If paying for use  fences out some ... so be it.  It will probably be the  abusers who are kept out.

I really don't care how the slobs feel about increased fees.  They brought it upon themselves.    

I suppose you are right about  my fingerprinting  plan.  Like so much in this egalitarian society of ours ... we all must pay for the slovenliness of others.  Whether it's insurance or crime ... or litter, everybody pays.

Personally  I want something done.  It makes me livid every time I go out.  Texas  is probably worse than many other places.  Very low consciousness amoungs a huge  percentage of the  population.[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2004, 08:50:24 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Tough problem.  It already costs $20 to enter Zion and many other parks.  That, plus a portion of my taxes.  I'mnot sure how much more it would take to limit crowding.

On the other hand, people tend to value something in proportion to the cost.  It is well documented tat college students who work to pay for at least part of their education do better than the free riders.  Like the poet Kris Kristofferson said, "Nothin' ain't worth nothin'..."  But then some folks figure that if they pay a lot of money to get in, they deserve more, like maid service.  I'm paying, so let someone clean up the mess I make.

A very effective program from years ago was the "Don't be a litter bug."  I tough it really worked.

When I started backpacking many years ago, you laced up your boots, strapped on your pack, and went almost anywhere you wanted to go anytime you wanted to go.  I got really turned off when I had to stand in line to see if I could get a permit to hike a few miles to camp and fish.  It took a lot of time, phone calls and letters to get a permit to hike across the Grand Canyon.  But at least there was room at the campgrounds.[/font]
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Sfleming
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2004, 02:41:30 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Howard,

There exist fabulous  places where nobody goes.  One  I found is  Mountain Home State Forest in Californicate.  It's straight E. of Bakersfield.  The lower camps in the Giant Seqoia can get a tad crowded in the summer time but nothing like the National parks.  Walk five miles up  and you won't see a soul.  It's incredible.  Right in the heart of the Sierras.  

I'm sure there are places all over the country like this.  Actually I avoid Natl. parks like the plague.  Except in  the off season.[/font]
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AGW
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2004, 03:13:54 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi there...first post so go easy on me!

I dont have a clue how the USA national parks are run or what the rationale behind their selection and management actually is. But it strikes me that these are probably very special places where they aim to conserve the very best examples of your nations natural heritage. If the cryptobiotic soils are a key feature of this particular range of habitats then I would expect the national park to want to conserve the best example. Perhaps it may not look as attractive as the landscape or a colourful bird or insect, but the fragile soil structure is just as important. So if the policy is to protect the best examples...then it is only right that these soils should be protected. If that means no-go areas then that is what we should all respect. As other folk have said there are other areas (not within the core conservation areas) where the strict guidance is not applied.


Graeme[/font]
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Scott_H
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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2004, 08:50:29 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I would never advocate letting people's houses burn, but fire is a part of the natural process.  One of the reasons fire is a problem now is because we have attempted to control the natural process for too long.  Undergrowth and dead wood have been allowed to pile up while we do everything we can to stop fires.  Nature can take care of itself, but we insist on meddling.

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I especially don't like elitist morons who wear funny looking pointy hats acting like god's own wardens running roughshod over my high-tax-paying rights.

I'm assuming you're not living in the US, because if you are, you are not paying high taxes.  I'm not sure that paying taxes gives anyone the right to destroy something to obtain a good photograph.  

I believe the welfare of the subject should always come first.  I have no idea what crypto-biotic soil looks like, and I have no intention of leaving the trail in case I walk on it.[/font]
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oolic
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« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2004, 10:27:15 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I'm old enough to remember places, that became National Parks, these places were only accessable by rugged 4wd roads and hiking. There were no crowds. But when the government puts in black top roads it just brings in the people,because it is easy. Then the government has to "maintain" said road and charges visitors a "fee". Then, as more people come, they have to "hire" more rangers.Then the head of the park service begs for more money from Congress to further "improve" the park.The Parks advertizing budget goes up and so do the number of visitors. Eventually our park is no longer our park we can't get out of the bus unless it is to buy a souvenir. Most of the park rangers and wildlife biologists, that tag every thing that walks, flies or crawls think it's their park and WE are the problem. Pretty soon we will have to pay to take photo's for our personal use, and we will not be able to sell any images taken in a Park as all the sights or icons will be copyrighted.
I think that Baxter State Park in Maine is probably the best managed park in the country due to the foresight of the Governor that gifted the land to the State with provisions.
At least that one mans opinion.
Richard Martel, Florida Keys[/font]
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2004, 01:19:33 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Old growth forests, here in the Pacific Northwest, consist of very large trees and little undergrowth. Historically fire (often set by lightening strikes) can move through these areas, burning the undergrowth and leaving the large trees unharmed.

Logging has been a process of removing the large trees and letting the forest regrow, generally unaided. Where one large tree grew dozens of small trees spring up. Over time most of them are crowded out and die. The result is a huge amount of dry fuel waiting for a spark.

When fire burns through these areas all the trees die. It's not a pretty sight.

Our logged woods need to be thinned, but that means removing the smaller trees that won't survive and will just become more fuel. But that's not what is likely to happen. "Thinning" will most likely be an excuse for more logging. There is no commercial value in a Doug Fir that's 20 high and 6" at the base.

I live on a piece of land that was logged about 25 years ago. Parts of it are a tinderbox. The dead and dying trees are so thick that one can't walk through without constantly breaking off branches to permit passage. (I'm in the process of thinning but 60 acres takes a while. ;o)

Much public and private land is like mine, logged in an earlier time with a not well developed concept of good forest management. Really more a 'slash and run' approach.

We're looking for answers. Letting fires burn when possible, including intentionally setting fires is sometimes desirable. Some of the intentional burns have gotten out of control. Burning people's homes is never desirable. Now we're beginning to do intentional thinning (the right way) around settled areas and remote homes. We're replacing flammable roofs with ones that won't burn.

It's getting better here, but we've still got a lot to do.

And 'Sfleming', luckily we have fewer people like you around here to make the communication between loggers and environmentalists difficult. We really have come a long way in learning how to get along. One of the things that we've become better at is not calling each other ridiculous names. We're learning how to listen to each other.  And we're finding that we have many, many things in common.[/font]
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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2004, 10:33:16 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Sigh!!!!

I'd write more, but the last couple of messages have left me totally depressed.

Excuse me. I have to go hug a tree.

Michael[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2004, 11:12:25 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Bob, I can't disagree with anything you said.

The human population has varied over the ages.  Noah's flood reduced the human population from perhaps a billion to 6.  The Black Plague.  I sometimes wonder what the US population would be now if we hadn't killed off many thousands males of breeding age in the Civil War.  Then World War I.  World War II killed several million.  Aids promises to kill millions more.

I have seen estimates for populations the earth can sustain.  They range from a billion to a trillion.  The current population is about 5.7 billion.  So, we are either in deep trouble or have a long way to go.

There is a need to tread the middle ground.  Humans need to carefully examine the benefits and cost of any projects.  It is seldom an either/or choice.

No, I wouldn't cut the last red wood.  What frosts me is the guy who, sitting on his redwood deck, sipping a whatever and water and watching the game on TV, who says he is opposed to cutting trees of any kind or damming any river for any reason.  The same for the photographer standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, wishing all these people would go back where they belong.

I had to laugh a bit at the end of your last post.  Isn't the Grand Canyon a giant display of erosion?[/font]
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