Better Enjoy It While You Can.

The divestiture of public land to the States makes me angry. I mean really damn angry and the question is why?  Superficially I don’t fit the demographic that supports the “let’s keep the Fed’s managing the land” side of the argument. I’m a forty-year-old white male who’s married with no kids. Instead of writing this post I should be abusing my male privilege, sitting back mulling my lack of genetic legacy and letting the place burn. Because when it comes to the future I’m guessing my knees have got just enough cartilage left in them for another twenty years of stumbling through steelhead creeks and carrying dead ungulates up and down mountains. After that, the chances are I’ll be done. And there’s no way there will be enough environmental degradation in that time frame to impact my hunting and fishing in any meaningful way.

But here’s the thing, I’m an immigrant. I chose to come to the United States and became a citizen. For me, the idea of Freedom is synonymous with public land. Where I grew up in Europe there is no concept of public lands for hunting and fishing. Private landowners control not only access but also the animals and fish that live on their estates. Hunting and Fishing are the purview of the aristocracy, merchant bankers, and hedge fund managers. If you can’t pay then you can’t play.

In the United States things are different. We, The People, own millions of acres of pristine wilderness. Wilderness we can all legally hunt and fish without having to glance over our shoulders for some irate blunderbuss wielding aristocrat. It’s a unique situation. But times they’re a changing. There’s some major fuckery going down in the Senate. The crux of the matter is a Republican move to sell off public land to the States. No big deal, right? Except it is a big deal. Land held in a State trust doesn’t guarantee public access. In fact many States forbid access without the user, that’s you,  purchasing a permit or a lease. Don’t believe me? Here’s what Colorado’s State Land Board’s has to say on the matter:

“State trust lands are not open to public use except when leased to a specific party (private or public).  Any interested party may apply for a recreation lease on state trust land. Common uses include hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.“

It doesn’t stop there. Once the land is transferred to the States, they are compelled by legislation or their constitution to manage it for profit. If they can’t do that then they are obliged to sell it. The amount of land that has been sold off by Western States, land that they received in their Enabling acts, is staggering. Nevada alone received 2.1 million acres at statehood and has sold over 1.9 million acres. And Nevada isn’t an outlier, all the Western States have done the same and there’s no reason to think that they won’t keep selling the land they receive in the future.

So the questions shouldn’t be why the hell am I so angry about the transfer of public lands to the States? The question is why aren’t you?

Mikey Two-Shoes and His Groove

Buster has some cool pals. You can find Agua Fria Alchemy in the blogroll.

Sanctuary!

A long cold hinterland winter here in Freestonia doesn’t mean that the fishing stops entirely, but it does slow down, and that means increased exposure to the noisemakers. You know, the ones that force-feed us the narrative of our lives, that thin clammy broth of postures and judgements and cheap shiny plastic crap that we can’t live without. The noise comes from the tubes, the mailbox and the halls of power in 30-second sound bytes and bumper sticker platitudes, telling us what’s important, what should be dismissed with scorn, conveying our targets for rage and humor. Even the goddam Olympic Games, something that’s supposed to celebrate the hard work of dedicated amateurs, shows up shrinkwrapped in disposable computer-animated bubble packaging that’s obviously been designed and focus-grouped years in advance, complete with instant blowdried celebrity hero toys ready for tomorrow’s water cooler worship. Collect ‘em all, $14.99.

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Fully Articulated Flying Tomato

(Haha see, Shaun stowed away on Tuesday’s delivery and stocked all this sk8punk stuff in the dead of night, because he’s a subversive nutty scamp®. What can we do? On sale now.)

The noise is the anthem of the Transnational Lizard People, who purely through the power of cash have erased the importance of place, allegiance to country, recognition of borders, and necessity of breathing, eating, drinking and being of this place where we plant our feet. They recognize no law, no neighbor, no change of season or migration. They experience no hunger or sickness or fear. No disaster matters, except as an opportunity to pad those numbers. Their decisions and actions bear no consequence, aside from possibly being hauled before a Congress of their own creatures for an afternoon show trial, let’s get it over with so we can all go get drinks. With any luck they’ll soon have cash-powered spacecraft so they can all lift off and blast each other with beams of numbers that used to represent something of worth, and be free of the bothersome bounds of the human experience. Man, we’re all such a nuisance.

But here’s the thing: we’re not all where we’re supposed to be, fretting over today’s manufactured outrage on one side of an aisle or another, shaking our heads about who’s fucking whom and oh how could he do such a thing? Sometimes we very deliberately dash out of the pasture and do things that the handlers never counted on. See, there are no blue lines on their demographic maps. They can’t conceive of a shade of green in winter-dormant cedar and water that’s deeper than the one in their veins. Eventually we’ll probably be rounded up and put down for the greater good of the herd, but we likely won’t hear them coming.

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You say something?