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What to reduce first? Footprints or tire tracks?

When it comes to man vs. machine, machine usually wins, but not always. When it comes to man & machine vs. Earth, guess who wins? Exactly, not Earth. The havoc created by motorized “recreation” in the national parks is getting more and more attention. The New York Times recently had an article on the subject. As luck would have it, Chelsea Green has a book on this subject, Thrillcraft. The book exposes the lasting damage done to the land, water, and air from the growing plague of jet skis, quads, dirt bikes, dune buggies, snowmobiles, and other motorized recreational craft that are penetrating the last bastions of wild America. Offroad vehicle use has been deemed responsible for wildlife habitat fragmentation, disturbance of sensitive wildlife, soil erosion, spread of invasive weeds, loss of silence, as well as water and air pollution. Here’s a snippet from The New York Times article that captures some of that sentiment from the ranchers and people most directly affected:
“Forty years ago when I was out cowboying I never saw a soul,” said Heidi Redd, who operates the Dugout Ranch near Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. “Now it’s at a point where you realize the public land is not yours, you’re just one of the users. And whether it’s A.T.V.’s, horses or climbers, it’s a traffic jam.” “There are so many of these machines,” said Dave Petersen, a bow hunter who monitors public lands issues here in Durango for the environmental group Trout Unlimited. “It’s made our big public lands much smaller, for the wildlife and for us.” Environmentalists worry about the destruction of fragile soils and erosion, when outsize Western rainfalls course through the ruts left by hill-climbing all-terrain vehicles. There are also concerns for streams, rivers and wetlands, precious resources in the arid West and magnets for those who think all-terrain-vehicle riding is best when muddy. “They wouldn’t do this in their backyard,” said Liz Thomas, a lawyer for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “But it’s not their backyard.”
To read more about Thrillcraft, its authors and the organizations behind it, check out this great review from The Chronicle Herald of Nova Scotia.


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech Solutions to Save the Planet

Tired of watching people spend so much time thinking up big solutions to big problems that it has a paralyzing effect on taking action? If you’re like author Courtney White, the answer is yes. That’s why in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, he takes readers on a journey to show how low-cost, easy-to-implement solutions […] Read More..

Beyond the War on Invasive Species – Review in Permaculture Design Magazine

This review was originally published in Permaculture Design, Issue #97, “Life on the Edge,” Fall 2015; www.PermacultureDesignMagazine.com Look in the Mirror Review by Peter Bane For its extensive scholarship, clear voice, and impassioned, hopeful message, this book is a joy to read—a slim but beautifully written teaching text which uses permaculture and ecosystem science as a lens for viewing the […] Read More..

5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..
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