Thursday, September 21, 2006

Note from CWCC to the So Called "Friends" Of the Boundary Waters

The following article was submitted by Guest Writer Nancy McReady, President of Conservationalists With Common Sense (CWCS).

Ely, Minnesota- Just a reminder to the Friends of the Boundary Waters… there is no buffer zone to the Boundary Waters! The last buffer zone – the portal zone – was added to the Boundary Waters in 1978.

As far as protecting against land disturbances in the forest, the Shipstead-Newton-Nolan Act long ago provided protection of natural water levels and that no logging take place within 400 feet of shorelines.

Lake associations such as WICOLA – White Iron Chain of Lake Association have done a great job of monitoring area lakes that flow into the Boundary Waters, and with new equipment they will be doing an even better job.

As for ensuring healthy habitats for the forest’s species, what about the healthy habitat of communities that border the Boundary Waters?

The litigation brought against nearly every timber sale in the forest (the Echo Trail and the Gunflint area are just two that come to mind); opposing a cleaner safer way of mining precious metals on the Iron Range; the lawsuit against the South Fowl Snowmobile Trail; and the still unsettled issue of permits for the three Chain of Lakes... these all affect the habitat of our communities.

Communities surrounding the Boundary Waters are not healthy. Just looking at the Ely School District, there are big signs of an unhealthy community. Back in the 1970s, graduating class sizes were 150 students. Even in the 1980s, graduating class sizes were well over 100. This year, the 2007 Senior Class has 55 students and the kindergarten class has only 41 students.

School enrollment has decreased in many other school districts of northern Minnesota, mainly because of the lack of good paying jobs that would bring skilled workers and their families to our communities.

Again I state Conservationalists With Common Sense (CWCS) mission statement and what we support: “Being environmentally, economically and socially responsible. The human factor must be put back into land management policies. The needs of local communities and all users can and must be balanced with the conservation of sensitive natural environments. Common Sense is needed in addressing economic development for the betterment of all.”

Voters in the 8th District need to know where Congressman Oberstar and Senator Grams stand on these public land and water issues. These are issues of great importance to residents of our district.

2 Comments:

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Greg said...

I've been reading this blog nearly since the day it was launched and I've enjoyed a fair amount of what I've read here. That said, diatribes like this are very unappealing to me and I don't intend to visit or read here any more.

Though I don't always agree with all the "Friends" do, their "extremism" always is to the end of protecting this unique and invaluable wilderness. That some 30 years after the creation of the wilderness, after seeing the incredible boon to communities like Ely and Grand Marais, there are still people out there saying the only way to stabilize the local economies is by degrading the wilderness, be it through snowmobiling or mining or logging, is just ridiculous. To blame the declining class sizes at Ely high school on the wilderness, which again, was created 30 years ago, is disingenous and typical behavior of those who can't let go and see the tremendous opportunities the wilderness presents. Show me some rural communities that are growing and thriving right now and I'll show you places that have evolved and adapted.

This guest essay reeks of dirty political underhandness, filled with buzzwords and language meant to muddy the issue and ultimately do the real damage to northern Minnesota communities.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Gunflint said...

Editors note to comment from greg-

The Boundary Waters are a boon to tourism interest and the decline of the schools in Ely perhaps has nothing to do with the 1978 legislation. However, this boon for most people that live on the edge of the Boundary Water has translated into low paying service jobs, not good job.

What the Act of 1978 did take-away from working people of the area was much of the recreation and lifestyle they enjoyed. The Act's promises to replace what was taken away have for the most part has not materialized. Now we find the "so called friend" with their never-ending litigation want to take more and stop much of the development which would bring in good jobs to our area.

What Nancy and most of us are saying from the edges is- that we are attempting to build sustainable communities and lifestyles balanced with protecting our enviorment. We have not destroyed our communities or our environment in process.

However when we look to the decaying urban area where the Friends come from we see a much different picture. To us it would make more sense for the Friends to turn their attention towards cleaning up the mess in their own backyard and get off our backs.

I might add with the recent rash of wildfires that has now destroyed much of your precious Boundary Waters one begins to wonder if the USFS preoccupation with defending itself from these lawsuits have anything to do with the Forest Services inability to contain these fires in a timely manner.

 

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