A short-sighted view
October 21, 2009
A recent letter from Nancy Williams (Oct. 14, The Aspen Times) nicely illustrates a prevailing attitude that seems to characterize many, if not most, ATV’ers regarding their perceived “right” to have motorized access to the public lands. In referring to our national forests, Ms. Williams used the term “playground.” To see wild nature as your own personal playground is a materialistic view that is both myopic and self-centered.
It is myopic because people who think that way about wilderness get their short-term pleasures astride their toys and are more than willing to sacrifice the preservation of some portion of our wild lands that can be handed down to future generations. Their only focus is about 3 feet over their handlebars. Our wild deserts and mountains are a precious and unique national heritage. Every wild land that is sacrificed to immediate pleasure is lost and gone forever.
The “playground” view of nature is self-centered because it does not take into account that there are those who view wilderness areas as places to escape and be a counterpoint to the noise, pollution, violence, and congestion of modern civilization. The restorative powers of a forest cannot be realized if some others are using it as their personal playground for their mechanized toys.
It is also self-centered to think our wild lands are solely for our enjoyment without considering how our actions impact an environment. It is selfish not to consider the fragile ecosystems in nature and how easily man’s intrusion can have far-reaching impacts. Those who view nature, as Ms. Williams apparently does, cannot understand nor comprehend the idea that nature at its best is nature with the least evidence of man’s intrusion.
If the Hidden Gems become Wilderness, I most likely will never set foot in them due to my age. But, it will be enough for me to know that such areas still exist in the world and they will be there for future generations.
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