First of all, here’s kudos to the efforts of the local citizens and land users on the “No” side of the South Okanagan national park debate. Professional foresters, loggers, farmers, licensed trappers, and especially ranchers such as the Quaedvleigs of Keremeos are some of the most knowledgeable and conscientious managers of our forests and rangelands.
Groups like the Cattlemen’s Association, Ducks Unlimited and the B.C. Wildlife Federation know that the main thing that needs to be conserved is our water and grazing resources. More water means more sustainable fruitfulness, which results in far richer biodiversity than does the so-called “Yes” side’s mistaken concept that our lands must remain a fallow wasteland to “preserve” some obscure bug or plant that’s there. Yet, you rarely if ever see so much as a coyote or deer there because the coyotes and deer are all here in town. Why? Because here we plant and water like the farmers and ranchers do, which results in food, which results in enhanced “biodiversity.”
Proponents of the Yes side moan about “losing all these lands.” I say the opposite is true, for as fast as they acquire our lands, they post them to “no trespassing” and we ordinary citizens will be prosecuted and fined if we so much as walk there. Get it right folks, it’s we the people that are losing all our lands to them. People like our falsely so-called Nature Trust have been systematically removing vast areas from public usage and accesses all over North America for decades now, adversely affecting proper wildlife management in all those areas.
The problem is the mistaken notion that nature must be “preserved” as a static “balanced delicate web,” whereas there’s no such thing anywhere in this universe. Meanwhile here in B.C., lake-bottom pollen fossil studies show that lodge pole pine aggressively invaded our interior grasslands thousands of years ago, moving up from Washington state right through to the Yukon. This no doubt involved plenty of bio-geo-climatic changes with the disappearance of some things and the appearance of others. That’s just life as God allows it for the present.
Mark Brett’s article in the Jan. 18 Western News about the park debate was a travesty. Objective reporting presents opposing views equally. Instead, he gave the lion’s share to the Yes side, with an accompanying photo of somebody crawling around on their belly with a fancy camera, positing the image that there’s something scientific going on here. The No side was squished between this and yet another representative on the Yes side, giving the Yes side first and last billing and thereby the most influential view.
We all know how advertising works, first and last words are the most remembered. What this amounts to is a news article that’s misusing the power of the pen in support of a biased and very non-objective view — and a mistaken one at that. For shame.