Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches:
Is the Adirondack Futures Project Anti-Environment?

The title of this Dispatch has the question.  My answer?  Unequivocally no.  In fact from my point of view it is and ought to be the opposite.  As I write this we have just celebrated Earth Day.  What in the name of Gaylord Nelson is going on here?

One week ago I wrote a Dispatch supporting the Adirondack Futures Project.  Two days later, out came Peter Bauer’s column taking the project and its founders, Dave Mason and Jim Herman, to task for “taking cheap shots at environmentalists” and “ridicule of a single faction” in an article about the project for Adirondack Life.

Then later that morning John Warren, esteemed founder of the Almanack, chimed in with a long comment that included this statement (italics are mine): “The evidence shows that nothing is more wrong here where we live than anywhere else.  In fact we seem to be doing better than other rural areas, arguably because of the protections that this so called ‘debate we must have’ is seemingly geared to eliminate.”

In other words, the argument seems to be that the Adirondack Futures Project stands in opposition to the environmental movement and environmental protections.

Let me be perfectly clear.  I think there are actually two arguments going on here and I’d like to separate them right from the start.

The first argument by Bauer, Warren and others is that the Adirondack Life article denigrated environmentalists and the work of environmental organizations, especially in its introductory section.  Bauer went through the introduction in detail so I won’t repeat his work here.

To this argument I have little comment.  I wouldn’t defend some of the language in the introduction.  I will say only this: the personal nature of this discussion in all directions is unfortunate.  On the one hand it has the potential effect of putting Mason and Herman’s motives into question, which I think is disappointing.  On the other hand it continues a nauseating trend of vilifying Peter Bauer, who deserves exactly none of it regardless of whether you like his positions or not.  Is there anyone who has had to endure more vitriol than this guy?  I’m going to state as strongly as I can that it is my belief that Dave Mason, Jim Herman and Peter Bauer all have the best interests of the Adirondacks at heart.  If you can’t get past that idea then you can stop reading now because I’m not writing for you.

But a number of objections I have seen or heard go beyond the issue of tone and cheap shots, making the argument that the Adirondack Futures Project has an agenda that is anti-environment and anti-Forest Preserve.    Additionally, some suggest that the project is nothing new, that it reopens “old and largely settled debates” and is “not a new and innovative discussion” thus suggesting it is a waste of time.  This argument,  notwithstanding the tone of the Adirondack Life piece, deserves a rebuttal.

So that I can effectively get to the main part of my argument let me disabuse you of a couple of false notions that might otherwise dilute my position.

First, I could be written off as a shill or apologist for Adirondack Futures.  In fact, I have had nothing to do with this project whatsoever.  I just know a good idea when I see it.  I also know a first-class strategic planning effort when I see it.   That’s saying something because I used to do it.  Speaking from some level of expertise I can tell you that most strategic planning exercises are crap.  The great majority of them are no better than manipulative, pseudo-scientific posturing larded with impressive sounding acronyms and terminology that is self-congratulatory and largely devoid of meaning.  They usually fail to lead to any sort of substantive change.  The institution at which I teach has a number of initiatives like that and for the most part they offend me.  Trust me, no one has a more acute radar for this kind of thing than I do.

I received a private comment from someone that maintained that the Adirondack Futures Project was “too corporate.”  That’s what I thought too the first time I heard about it.  Then I delved into the details and discovered that this is a different animal.  Go look at the information on the Adirondack Futures web site yourself if you want to make your own judgment.  Here I am not talking about the Adirondack Life introduction or the scenarios.  I’m talking about the body of work, the hundreds of possible events or proposed initiatives developed at the various workshops.  They have real meat.  Whether they are new or innovative (in my opinion a few are, the majority are not) is beside the point.  What matters is that people are talking about them in a good-faith effort to find some agreement.  And this is happening with a wide scope.  Remember this is not a committee of thirty; this process has involved or informed more than a thousand people.  In all of it there is hardly an acronym to be found, just a lot of ideas worth getting into.

Next, I suppose I could be dismissed as a consensus-loving occupier of safe, peaceful middle ground who likes to talk about things and write about things and dream of harmony while singing “Kumbaya” and sprinkling fairy dust on my way down the trail (in fact that assumption could be made about anyone championing this project).  That thinking would be errant.

I believe that meaningful consensus – as opposed to feel-good agreement that looks good but does nothing – is a hard-won artifact in politics.  It requires factions (Bauer’s word, spot on).  It needs people to hold to strong positions, to stand firm on principles.  It needs debate, disagreement.  It even needs lawsuits, an integral part of our democratic process.  I for one am glad that PROTECT and other groups will file a lawsuit as a matter of both utility and principle in order to fight for what is best to protect the integrity of the park, or Article XIV, or the APA Act and its mission.  People who decry such lawsuits as “divisive,” implying they are needless and obstructionist, are simply wrong.  I suggest they might benefit from a review of both American history and Adirondack history.

But politics – good politics at least – also needs a common purpose, rational dialogue and inclusion.  It needs some understanding of the reasoning and motivations of opposing parties.  To think that to pursue these laudable qualities negates principled opposition, or factionalism, or passion – heck even an insult tossed here or there – is disappointingly naïve.

Here we come to one of the big problems I have with criticisms I have seen  of Adirondack Futures: they blur the differences between the substance of the positions we hold and HOW we talk about them, how we debate them and how that debate proceeds along the qualities of common purpose and rational dialogue.  In this respect, perception can be as important as reality because of how it builds and buttresses walls between us, how it enables the reflexive side-taking I have repeatedly decried in numerous Dispatches.

Some don’t think this matters, but I do.  Why?  Is it because I don’t like it when we can’t get along?  No.  It is because when we have the same old contentious bickering it is the environmental movement that loses.  I’m an environmentalist.  I don’t like that.

Sure, I too thought that some of the language in the first part of the Adirondack Life article was a little snarky and unfair because it seemed to me to cut one way: towards environmentalists filing lawsuits.  Still, from the standpoint of many the depiction of rancor was on the mark.   Whether anyone likes it or not, the perception of the majority of people I talk to in the park is that the kind of irrational and contentious bickering, side taking and whining that goes on in and about the Adirondack region is legendary.  Is anyone seriously going to say it isn’t?  Look at the angry rhetoric over Bicknell’s Thrush and communication towers that flooded the local news just this week.  Who stands to lose from it?  The thrush.

How many pages of examples would you like?

One objection I have heard is that the Futures Project lacks historical perspective, that there has been talk of consensus before but that the reality is contention is part of the game and overall we’re doing just fine.

Here’s a little history, then.  Just over twenty years ago the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century created a report containing well over two hundred recommendations that would have addressed many of the exact same environmental and economic issues that we argue over now, issues that do nothing less than challenge the integrity of the park.  It was a remarkable piece of work, in my opinion better and far more comprehensive than the report produced by Rockefeller’s Temporary Study Commission twenty years prior.  It reflected a greatly increased understanding of ecology and it evinced a holistic understanding of the park as a unique biosphere.

The report was completed in 1990.  What happened next?  Part of the report was leaked, some of the most controversial parts were excerpted and all hell broke loose.  The report died on the table.  Who lost?  The environmental movement and with it the Adirondack Park.  That kind of history I can do without.

In hindsight would it have been wise to proceed with a more inclusive strategy?  Obviously so.  Could the goodwill, dialogue and momentum created by the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance and an active Adirondack Futures Project have made a difference?   Could much of that report have been adopted if HOW we talked about it all along had been different?   That is a good question.

Some will say it isn’t a good question.  They will say that I don’t understand the politics of the situation on the ground as it was in 1990.  That’s not true: I followed that whole debacle closely (including having the private and repeated perspective of someone deep inside it).  When I look at the range of players involved in the Adirondack Futures Project I have real questions about the difference something like it could have made.

Like many people I think the status quo is not great and I think we are not all just fine.  These are, as they always have been, perilous times for the Adirondacks.  A broad initiative that sets a default disposition amongst disparate parties towards discussion and inclusion seems like a good idea to me. That’s why I think the the environmental movement has a lot to gain from a project like Adirondack Futures.

Finally, I am an environmental advocate so I’ll agree that striving for consensus means little if in its setup the Adirondack Futures Project is hostile to the environmental movement.  A claim has been made that the scenarios are biased by an agenda, that in particular their Wild Park scenario is contradictory and not meant to be taken seriously.  This is a serious claim, because environmental protection must be at the forefront of any discussion about the future of the Adirondacks.  Part of the problem comes from this sentence in the scenario (italics mine):

“The APA and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are clear that preserving this wild experience is their mission, with economic and even ecosystem health secondary.”

At first blush that does seem to be a confusing or even contradictory idea, that cloaking the Forest Preserve with the most stringent wilderness protections  in the world could somehow put ecosystem health secondary somehow.  What could someone possibly have been thinking?  Well, let’s see, because this illustrates how complicated things get and once again why a broad and inclusive discussion is so important .

Here’s Bill Ingersoll, publisher of the Discover the Adirondacks Series, advocate for the park and expert on the development of the concept of Wilderness  in the State Land Master Plan, from a previous discussion on the Almanack:

“Remember that the State Land Master Plan’s definition of wilderness is directly derived from the 1964 Wilderness Act, which was written largely by Howard Zahniser (who owned a camp in Bakers Mills, near Gore Mountain), who was in turn inspired by people like Bob Marshall…  …Basically, the real intent was less about preserving pristine landscapes than it was about maintaining opportunities for primitive (or “traditional”) recreation…  …For Bob Marshall specifically, the best book to read about his concept of wilderness is a book he published in the 1930s called The People’s Forest, in which he covers a broad range of ideas about public land management. Wilderness is just one passage out of many, but it’s absolutely clear his focus was on recreation.”

He goes on to talk about how these values were codified in policy.  Hmmm… could it be that the ecological well-being of the park was not the primary motive for current land policy?  Is it worth mentioning that “ecosystem health” was a non-existent concept when Forever Wild was instituted in 1894?

Lest you think that these are dusty arguments I will give you contemporary examples.  The challenge of combating and mitigating the effects of invasive species is extremely complex.  Is current State land policy for Wilderness adequate to the task?  Is a hands-off approach best?  This is a serious debate.  A similar debate is heating up over climate change and which species to protect, promote and/or replace.  How about the recently-raised question of junk forests and how best to repair the damage to the diversity of the Adirondack forest’s genetic pool?

Could it be that the codification of policies to leave land “untouched and untrammeled” is not necessarily ecologically the best policy?  Yes it could.  At the very least, is it contradictory to suggest that possibility?  Not to my thinking.

Here’s how the Wild Park scenario begins and ends:

“This is the Adirondack Park envisioned by its founders: open, green, wet, deeply silent, with incredible vistas. It is an island of wild, a haven of tranquility located within a day’s drive of 100 million people. New Yorkers are notoriously proud people and, as New York City is the greatest city in the world, this is the world’s greatest achievement in wilderness preservation.

The citizens of New York State and those in its government entrusted with this treasure take the long view and won’t exploit it for short-term gain. The people who live here want to live here and love the wild nature of the park. Communities suffer from the same problems as those faced by other northern forest regions: poor infrastructure, difficult transportation, abandonment by ex­tractive industries and an aging population. But the park is not the problem.”

I will only speak for myself here.  Not only is this text a passionate and even eloquent representation of what I believe – and I speak as an ardent preservationist  whose involvement in the environmental movement dates back to 1971 – but it also correctly acknowledges the challenges of the park’s communities in a way that is entirely antithetical to the claim the project is biased against the environment.  Read the last sentence again: “But the park is not the problem.”  How much more clear could that be?

Here’s my bottom line: who is most likely to lose when accusations are leveled at a project that, while undoubtedly not perfect, has fostered a detailed and ongoing discussion among hundreds of people who live in or visit the park about seeking common dialogue and common ground in the best interests of the Adirondacks?  The environmental movement is, of course.

As an unabashed supporter of Forever Wild and cheerleader for more and stricter wilderness protection in the Adirondacks I’m very glad for the advocacy and hard work of environmental groups.  I’d rather not see any of it be for naught because people can’t talk about hard things without automatically lining up on opposite sides and firing broadsides that in our culture are becoming ever less reasoned.  The Adirondack Futures Project is an ambitious, thorough and hopeful effort to build common, rational dialogue.  Let’s try not to fire salvos at each other with ill-considered words.

That goes for all sides.

 

Photo: Overlooking virgin forest at Lost Brook Tract

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Pete Nelson is a teacher, writer, essayist and activist whose work has appeared in a variety of Adirondack publications, and regularly in the Adirondack Almanack since 2005. Pete is also a founder and current Coordinator of the Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council, which is working to make the Park more welcoming and inclusive.When not writing or teaching mathematics at North Country Community College, Pete can be found in the back country, making music or even walking on stilts, which he and his wife Amy have done professionally throughout the United States for nearly two decades.Pete is a proud resident of Keene, and along with Amy and his dog Henderson owns Lost Brook Tract, a forty-acre inholding deep in the High Peaks Wilderness.




17 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    Great read.

    I found myself nodding in agreement through most of it, but paused to think hard when I got to this:

    “who is most likely to lose when accusations are leveled at a project that, while undoubtedly not perfect, has fostered a detailed and ongoing discussion among hundreds of people who live in or visit the park about seeking common dialogue and common ground in the best interests of the Adirondacks? The environmental movement is, of course.”

    An important question, for sure, and I agree with your answer… the environmental movement is the loser when this happens.

    But the question I keep asking myself is the one that comes before this.

    Who, or what, is most likely to lose if we try to change or “fix” the Park in the first place?

    I am of the opinion that the answer to that is almost certainly that the Adirondack environment will be the loser.

    I’ve yet to see any serious proposal or scenario for change – and by serious I mean something that is likely to receive enough support to be implemented – that increases, expands, or tightens environmental protections beyond what was originally intended. They all, every one of them I’ve seen, seem to do the opposite. Weaken, eliminate, or bend current protections in order to compromise with or satisfy development, recreational, or economic interests.

    If that is the case, then isn’t sticking with the original concept and framework for the Park – and fighting to maintain it, which is what I believe the environmental movement is doing today – likely the best course of action for the Adirondack environment? Sure, it is contentious and occasionally unpleasant… “messy”, as Brain Mann might describe it… but is that a reason to change it?

    Sometimes I find myself wondering if I’m the only person who loves the Adirondacks the way they are.

    • Pete Nelson says:

      Dave:

      This is a thoughtful and valuable comment. Thanks.

      Like most readers I love the park the way it is but I could love it more if some things changed. If we are to define sides, then most of the things I would like better would fall on the environmental side. A few of the things I would love would fall on the other side (by the way, what IS the other side? I’m not sure, which is telling to me). But a number of things – and these are the ones that interest me in the context of a discussion like Adk Futures – in my opinion fall on the environmental side but can be perceived or are perceived as being anti-environmental. One example among many would be running and/or burying fiber optic cable where current regs say it cannot be run. Another question upon which I will not give my opinion at the moment but which falls into this category no matter which side one takes is the question of wind turbines in the park. So is the question of which dams to rebuild or maintain in Wilderness.

      Where I particularly disagree with your point is when you say all the serious proposals you have seen loosen regulations or protections for the park. Let’s start with the recent history about which I wrote. The great majority of the more than two hundred proposed actions offered in the 1990 Commission’s report were serious environmental proposals and nearly all of them crashed and burned. That’s the environmental movement losing.

      From the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the classification of the Essex Chain of Lakes to initiatives to help the Bicknell’s Thrush there are a plethora of environmental initiatives that stand to win or lose in part based less upon their substance than how they are perceived. This depends in turn partly upon the context and manner in which they are discussed.

      Dave, I would suggest that if your perception is that all of the “serious” proposals for the Adirondacks loosen or weaken protections, one big reason might be that many of the numerous proposals you and I would love to see advance have been misunderstood or even demonized, nixing their viability. This is my point.

    • Paul says:

      Dave, isn’t one of the scenarios laid out in that proposal one where the park is to be even more wild than it is now? In that sense it even goes well beyond what you like now. I am not sure you have looked at what they have put up for debate. Everything is on the table.

      “Wild Park
      This is the Adirondack Park envisioned by its founders: open, green, wet, deeply silent, with incredible vistas. It is an island of wild, a haven of tranquility located within a day’s drive of 100 million people. New Yorkers are notoriously proud people and, as New York City is the greatest city in the world, this is the world’s greatest achievement in wilderness preservation. Article XIV of the state constitution—the “Forever Wild” philosophy—remains its foundation, and the courts have continued to provide protection against shifting public attitudes and opportunistic politicians. The APA and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are clear that preserving this wild experience is their mission, with economic and even ecosystem health secondary.

      This outcome is not about balance. It reaffirms the commitment to limiting human structures, motorized vehicles, large developments and any encroachment on the Forest Preserve. Land-use regulation for the Forest Preserve is designed around a hands-off approach that maximizes old growth forest and natural processes. The Forest Preserve is larger and more contiguous. Private land-use regulation is tighter with fewer exceptions for developers. There has been no major increase in visitors or residents. The park’s diverse ecosystem turns out to be a resilient one, better able to fight off invasives and adapt to climate change than other parts of the state.

      The citizens of New York State and those in its government entrusted with this treasure take the long view and won’t exploit it for short-term gain. The people who live here want to live here and love the wild nature of the park. Communities suffer from the same problems as those faced by other northern forest regions: poor infrastructure, difficult transportation, abandonment by ex­tractive industries and an aging population. But the park is not the problem.”‘

  2. Hope says:

    I too, love the ADKs but not the way it is currently, but the way it was when I moved here in the late 70’s. There was a vitality to the communities here. There was good employment and prosperous businesses. You could still get out into the wilderness as deep as you wanted for as long as you wanted and come back into any small town and get breakfast or dinner someplace. Things have changed dramatically from that time. Property taxes have escalated so much that large parcels of working forests have now gone to the State or are slated for development. Government employment opportunities are rapidly receding. As those jobs leave there are none to take their places. Without jobs communities will falter, a spiraling decline will occur and we may very well end up as a National Park which I am sure will please many “environmentalists” but certainly not all.
    I like ADKs that has a place for all people from all socio-economic backgrounds. Not just for the wealthy who can afford to live here for 2 weeks a year. There needs to be other employment opportunities besides caretakers and boat mechanics. I think David and Jim’s exercise is a great step forward in the whole dialogue.

  3. Bob says:

    I was a workshop participant. If you are really interested in this project, take the time to carefully read each of the page long endstates. They were derived from some 150 interviews and intended to cover all the current points-of-view about the future of the Park, excluding nothing. I thought that in a short magazine format, they’re too simple. You will find the real versions a fun and interesting read.
    Here is the direct link: http://adkfutures.org/workshop-series/endstates/

    After that, read what they presented at CGA last summer and they describe what they learned from listening to various workshops wrestle with these endstates. Here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-NAJIsJSSEYSjczODAxMWpqSjg/edit?pli=1

    Sorry for the long links. I don’t know how to get short ones.

    You will get a lot out of reading these and the whole project will make more sense.

  4. Big Burly says:

    Thank you Pete.
    I believe, like Hope as written, that there is great promise in the process that began with the ADK Futures effort.
    I have hired folks like Jim and Dave and have delivered scenarios based planning efforts. I have never encountered people as accomplished in this method of bringing disparate groups of people and thought towards solutions and workable options to consider.
    Since I was a kid, a minimal footprint has been a way of life. This treasure where I live today must endure as an ecosystem that also allows for pursuits to sustain quality of life for those who live here.
    There is a third way, different from the debates we have had for decades; let’s keep working to define it for the betterment of all concerned.

  5. Lorraine Duvall says:

    Pete – thanks for your thoughtful article.
    Early on I proposed an additional Scenario titled “The Adirondack Experiment Proves Successful” taking some of what I considered the best elements of the other scenarios, adding a few, such as:
    “Local governments and environmental groups have grown to appreciate each other needs and views, often crossing over to the other’s side. Local governments and their elected officials encourage cooperation with all of their constituents, holding and supporting meetings and programs that take best advantage of the environment for economic development. Environmentalists provide much needed volunteer talent to enhance local government initiatives and start businesses in hamlets that support their environmental initiatives, which, in turn, provide living-wage year-around jobs.”
    The recent APA conference “Local Government Days” held in Lake Placid last week highlighted just such initiatives that take advantage of the recreational benefits of our environment, hopefully in a sustainable way.
    – Lorraine Duvall

    • Paul says:

      If 80% of the homes in Hamilton county are NOT owner occupied that is hardly a time to declare the Adirondack experiment a success. I guess it depends how you define success.

  6. adirondackmike says:

    Nice of you to post this Lorraine. It indeed reflects the the ADK Futures conclusions pretty well. Peter B provided a link to a Protect’s official review of the summary vision paper, and it is pretty much a glowing review (I think Ken Strike wrote it).

    I am a donor/environmentalist and I am confused about Protect. There are options in our region and I choose to give to another enviro NGO because I feel Protect is more part of the problem than helping with solutions these days. But I am open to being convinced.

    Forget Peter’s post on last week. You are well aware of Protect’s PR issues, I am sure. Tell me, as a donor, how I should think of Protect now. Peter is your ED and your management issue, and I’m not interested in that.

  7. Don Dew Jr. says:

    Lorraine, As Vice-Chairwomen of the Board of Directors of Protect the Adirondacks! you make some very reasonable comments here. For the record I am making a conscience’s effort to have substantive conversations with people or organizations who I have a difference of opinion with such as Protect! The hope would be instead of “Adirondackers would rather fight than win” we could come up with a new slogan “Adirondackers can collaborate and win/ win” Your post above mentioned meetings and I think that is a great idea. With that preface I would like to begin by maybe proposing to have the first “Adirondack Experiment Proves Successful” dialogue in Tupper Lake. If you think this is something you might be interested in please call me at 359-2320. Thanks.

  8. Lorraine Duvall says:

    Although Protect welcomes your feedback, the Almanack is not a forum for discussion about Protect. I will, however, say that I supported Peter Bauer’s post as I was very disappointed in the introductory paragraphs in the ADK Life article. I immediately told Jim and Dave my concerns as we have been neighbors and friends for a number years. I applaud their work and felt the tone was not in keeping with all they had done. They needed to be called on what I saw as a blast to those who have different tactics than theirs but are still pursuing the goal toward making the Adirondack Experiment a success.

    And yes, Adirondackmike, Ken Strike did write the September review of the Adirondack Futures project. A good read. http://www.protectadks.org/2012/09/adirondack-futures-an-environmentalists-perspective-on-the-work-of-david-mason-and-jim-herman/

    • John Warren says:

      “the Almanack is not a forum for discussion about Protect”

      Lorraine, to think that Protect will have their voice heard weekly here at the Almanack and then not be the subject of discussion is ridiculous.

      I’m not sure where this attitude comes from, but it was also claimed by Dave and Jim that the Almanack was not the place to discuss the Adirondack Futures project. Both of those claims are absurd.

      Public forums are the perfect place to discuss public issues. What we need is MORE discussion, not less. And not discussions controlled by parties so deeply involved in the processes we’re discussing.

      Readers can expect and look forward to discussions of all the issues at the Almanack, no matter who is involved.

      John Warren
      Editor

      • adirondackmike says:

        Protect has a regular column here (Peter B is, I think, a regular, no?), so, I don’t know where Lorraine is coming from.

        As a environmentalist/donor, I’d ask again for her take on why I might support Protect instead the other environmental NGO I send money to. My thinking, open to change, is that Protect’s tactics are actually damaging to the Park these days, however well intentioned they may be. But her post sounded so different from my perception of Protect that I wonder if I have this wrong.

        Whatever one thinks of the ACR project, or the snowmobile trail cases, I think, these actions came after much public input and review. Then Protect stepped in with lawsuits, effectively ditching all that public stuff. It no longer matters what the public thinks and we have no input. That is where trust got broken, again. Protect does not trust the people of NY or the processes used to deal with these issues. So they short circuit these untrustworthy bits, replacing them with lawsuits. Trust is the casualty of Protect’s tactics. Please, do not read this as a dig at Protect! I am just trying to understand it an square up her post with my take on Protect.

        So what have I got wrong here? And what would be the reason I should direct money to Protect instead of the other enviro-NGOs (who have not supported Protect).

        • adirondackmike says:

          I was hoping for a response from Protect here just to see if I misunderstand them. Seems no response is coming.

          As an environmental donor, my take on the Park these days is that it is doing well in the sense that a lot of the rancor between enviro groups, government, etc is way less than it has been. There is lots of cooperative effort and the points of disagreement are discussed more easily without the anger that was so common. Protect’s tactics and style are old. Maybe they were needed 25-30 years back, but not now.

          So, my enviro money will go to the solution oriented, constructive, environmental groups, not to Protect. I don’t want to hurt the Park, I want to help it. Protect’s tactics are not helping today’s Park. We are past that sort of stuff. Just one enviro donor’s opinion.

          • John Warren says:

            Mike,

            You cannot expect Protect to respond here. If you want to communicate with them you should contact them directly with your concerns.

            Protect has been around for more than a hundred years. Strong action to counter the weight of so much rush to develop, failure to protect, and rough-shod trampling of science and ecology is still needed, perhaps more now than ever.

            Protect is one of the only organizations of people who stand by the principle of protecting the Forest Preserve for its value as wild lands and not for its value as a natural resource to be exploited in the name of the latest ‘consensus’ doublespeak.

            They well deserve the support they receive.

            JW

    • Paul says:

      Calling someone on something is what you did. Telling them you did not appreciate it seems appropriate. These thousands of words tirades don’t seem very helpful additions to the debate but they do address how folks like Peter feel.

  9. Paul says:

    I should clarify not Pete Nelson’s article here but Peter Bauer’s articles were what I was referring to.

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