Mother Nature, fighting for life, suffers a relapse

Tom Camfield
Posted 9/20/19

E-bikes are powered by both pedals and small battery-powered motors. Under a new Trump administration order they are being classified as non-motorized bikes. They now will be allowed on all trails …

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Mother Nature, fighting for life, suffers a relapse


E-bikes are powered by both pedals and small battery-powered motors. Under a new Trump administration order they are being classified as non-motorized bikes. They now will be allowed on all trails through national parks and other public lands where a normal bicycle can go—able to whir up and down hiking trails in the country’s some 400 national parks and other federally controlled back countries.

Outdoors groups and veteran hikers are seething. E-bike sales are soaring. So nature continues to come under attack by Donald Trump, while he panders to manufacturing. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors about consideration for the elderly, physically unfit, disabled, with “convenience” also creeping into the conversation from a junior parks official handed the microphone to take the heat from the announcement.

But I guess what bothers me the most is the self-serving lack of foresight and vapid reasoning so common in human nature. As epitomized by one individual interviewed by the press.“There’s just too much traffic on the main park roads that you can’t enjoy them. It’ll be great to get in the park and enjoy nature and all that stuff.”

It seems to me that soon there will be, or already is, just “too much traffic” on what used to be just hiking trails. To me, regular bicycles already are a bit much. They just accommodate a quick hit-and-run look at what remains of the Great Outdoors.

Trump and his gang of “yes” men including the Interior Department continue to assault the environment from all directions, including reclassifying federal lands to allow drilling and mining. They, in this case, are fundamentally changing the nature of national parks with little or no public notice, study or input.

As the spokesperson for one outdoor groups put it: “If you’re hiking on a trail in Utah and you’re rounding a bend and something’s coming at you at 20 mph, that really changes the experience . . . it’s pretty jarring to those who take to public lands to escape city noise and stress . . .”

Our state has three national parks—Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic—plus various reserves, trails, historic sites, etc. recognized by the Park Service.

E-bikes are the fastest growing segment of the bicycle industry. Sales in the U.S. jumped 72% to $144 million last year.

The Department of Interior’s order allows motorized bikes that go up to 28 miles per hour to be classified as regular bicycles. They also have supposed rules for driver conduct, including speed. But we all know what those rules are worth—about as unenforceable as those prohibiting the tossing of trash in Mother Nature’s front yard.

Meanwhile, there remain out there people, dedicated hikers, who get something special out of outdoor life the old-fashioned way. They earn it.

As for primal forests, the health of human kind and, in general, things of no particular urgent personal interest to the residents of Trump Tower and good ol’ boys at Mar-a-Lago . . .

The Brazilian rain forest, which supplies some 20% of Earth’s oxygen, has been burning with some intensity, to which what was Donald’s response? To propose opening up logging in the wilderness of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. At 17 million acres (largely old-growth), it is the nation’s largest. “Old growth” refers to really old trees, up to perhaps 400 years in some cases.

Donald has set his flying monkeys to work stripping the forest’s protection against wide-scale logging. By 2020 election year he wants to cut back protections that block logging in this forest and on a total of nearly 60 million acres in 39 states.

So we’ll be building roads, muddying the headwaters of streams, destroying salmon habitat, which will in turn work its way up the food chain to bears, orcas and, of course, humans.

The Seattle Times editorialized recently: “In nearly two decades under the roadless rule, Tongass has partially recovered from the aggressive greed of the 20th-century logging industry. According to one estimate, half of the towering old-growth trees within Tongass were clear-cut before the ban. In 2013, when federal leadership (under Obama) conscientiously pursued preservation, nature advocates identified 77 key watersheds covering 2 million acres of Tongass as critical salmon- and trout-spawning grounds the development could threaten.”

Sept. 12—Trump’s EPA scrapped a regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution, still another rollback of environmental protections put in place under President Obama. Tear down Obama’s accomplishments all you want, Donald; he’s still the better man.


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Justin Hale

When I had my E-bike I spent many a day riding the trails, sadly my bike days are now just a fond memory. Thanks to the Trump administration for this decision.

Friday, September 20, 2019
Tom Camfield

It just seems to me that we ever-more-overcrowded humans are just gradually using up our wilderness and throwing it away. If humankind actually survives global warming and its disciples such as Donald Trump, I wonder if in the far-distant future some old guy with a kid next to him will point to a scraggly stand of a few willows and say, "Look, son; those are trees. They used to be everywhere."

Friday, September 20, 2019
Marge Samuelson

You know Justin if you every agreed with any criticism of Donald Trump the whole of Jefferson County would faint.

I was in Illwaco a few weeks ago waiting form my husband's boat to come in (literally) and sat people watching. Electric bikes were everywhere, young , old, in between. Even in a flat area like Illwaco they were not peddling. Lots were just stopping by the local Cannabis store to do a little shopping. Busy place. Can you bike and smoke pot?

If your hiking on a trail in the park headed for your favorite camping, fishing spot, you want a little peace and quiet. Not someone racing along a trail (if that's even possible). The sound of silence is a rare thing these days, why spoil it?

Donald Trump has never made a good decision, ever!

Friday, September 20, 2019
Justin Hale

Tom, the history of humans is one of overpopulating, polluting and wiping out other species. Let me know when human nature changes.

Saturday, September 21, 2019
Justin Hale

Marge, I've often criticized President Trump. Before he became POTUS I watched a video of him at a roast of Hillary, and I'm no fan of HC but he was obnoxious and rude, right then I knew I didn't like him and could not vote for him. I just can't go along with the lynch mob/witch hunt mentality of the brainwashed Trump-Haters who want to lay every problem of humanity on Trump....."Donald Trump has never made a good decision, ever!", see what I mean.

Yes Marge, you can enjoy Cannabis and ride/drive, just as you can enjoy alcohol and ride/drive.

My bike was an electric assist, which means you have to be pedaling for it to work, or you could turn off the electric motor and just ride it like a regular Mt. Bike, it was very silent. When I came up to walkers I would ring my bell to give them plenty of warning that I was coming, never had any problems. And yes racing along on a trail is something only the young and stupid would do, I don't think there's any way your gonna change that.

Saturday, September 21, 2019
Tom Camfield

Well, human nature is part of the game all right, but as we gain intelligence and recognize it for what it is, we can pretty much keep most of the selfish and brutish side of it in closet under the stairs or a cage in the basement. No use letting it run free rein as someone like Donald does for his personal pleasure. Dedication to education and intelligence would go a long way toward solving a lot of things destroying world society, in my opinion. But it's hard to teach empty stomachs.

We can expand the benevolence and restrain the malignance of primal instincts. And I'm not so sure human nature is inborn, so much as it is a product of environment. It would seem, though, that survival is the basic instinct of all forms of life.

As for that over-population part, there's a lot of freedom of choice involved there, just as there is in ignoring the reality of global warming. Eventually one or both of them will render us extinct. The two together are just speeding things up.

Putting a lid on birth control, by the way, seems pretty stupid, crowded as the world continues to become.

Saturday, September 21, 2019
Justin Hale

"Dedication to education and intelligence would go a long way toward solving a lot of things destroying world society,".... Aren't most of the people we elect to make our laws, run our courts and major industries well educated, smart people? Like the ones who are hel bent on putting a roundabout on 104,,,,oops, slipped into another comment thread.

"We can expand the benevolence and restrain the malignance of primal instincts."..... Right, just as soon as I get myself fit enough to tell others how to live their lives.

You and I seem to agree about birth control.

Saturday, September 21, 2019
Tom Camfield

I do sort of wonder about that roundabout. It's about where truckers exiting this end of the bridge hit the accelerator to pick up speed for the hill in front of them. I used to drive a truck and can vouch for that '"human nature" (to slip back to another recent topic). If I understand the location right it's where I was coming out of the old Port Ludlow road one time and came within a whisker of being wiped out by a semi.

Monday, September 23, 2019