Originally Posted by dave_SSS
On this board I suspect I have not been able to effectively communicate the unique value of this area with my plan I've linked. The problem I believe is that very few skiers as well as most people can make any sense out of topographic maps in order to evaluate the value of skiing terrain.
Perhaps, but I wouldn't underestimate your audience here. Just the same, I prefer to use--and, when I was doing ski-area design work, to generate--maps that represent terrain using more intuitive graphics.
For example, given a digital raster graphic of the topo map and also a digital elevation model file (both of which used to be freely downloadable from the USGS), you can use open-source freeware to generate a shaded relief topo. Shading is a valuable visualization aid for interpreting mountainous terrain.
And you apparently also have a rectified orthophoto. If you overlay that photo on, and register the photo to, the shaded relief map, you can use software tilt the resulting photomap (ala Google Earth) to get a 3D profile view of the potential area with the added details of the orthophoto. Most people can get get their head around a 3D fly-in sort of view.
But you've put a lot of thought and work into this already, and it shows. Nice job.
Just the same, I'm on the fence about this whole project. Certain phrases in your proposal tend to set off warning signals for me. These are phrases that, consciously or not, tend to polarize. They are phrases like "lock this valuable area away forever." Also, at least one of the posters who is in favor of this plan seems to imply that wanting to protect wilderness is an urge that arises from some sort of "urban guilt" -- arising, presumably, from the I've-already-fouled-my-nest-so-now-I'm-going-to-grab-your-back-yard-as-a-playground school of land-use planning. That sort of thing may happen on the Simpsons, but in real life? Come on.
I think we frequently get hung up arguing just on a semantic level when it comes to emotional topics like wilderness protection, but from my point of view -- colored, admittedly, by my life experiences and heartfelt convictions -- wilderness protection doesn't "lock up" anything. Rather, it is an attempt, admittedly imperfect, to protect a part of our legacy that is clearly and self-evidently worth protecting. You can almost always walk into a wilderness area and leave your troubles behind (unless you're in grizzly or cougar country
. You can't always say the same about walking into a secured mining claim, a designated off-road vehicle recreation site, or a ski area that is located on public land. There is nothing elitist or guilt-driven about wanting to keep things simple.
I grew up in a built-out urban environment on the eastern seaboard. I didn't know jaques schitt about wilderness until I visited a friend in Montana after high school. It's hard to describe it adequately unless you've had a similar experience, but seeing the west for the first time was like finding a missing part of myself. It opened something up in me, something that I don't want to close back up.
But I know too that others with viewpoints different than me have equally real and valid experiences in relationship to the environment. Some of the most beautiful, well managed land out west is in private hands, not in the public domain; and I'd be the first to admit that the Wilderness Act and the Endangered Species act are flawed pieces of legislation. I'm increasingly frustrated by laws that codify the assumption that everything that man does in relationship to the environment will, by definition, degrade that environment. I like that our environmental protection laws keep someone like Dick Cheney from buying Jenny Lake, but I don't like that they keep someone like Sun Ray Kelley
from building a temple in the second meadow of Slough Creek.
We are part of the system, whether we like it or not. No matter what we do to "preserve" the natural world, even if we do nothing, we still have an effect. Look at the fires that resulted from our imperfect and incompletely informed attempts to preserve the beauty of Yellowstone. Look at the fires that blackened about 80% of the Kalmiopsis wilderness in the Siskyous of southwestern Oregon. I mean, the best we can do is act as if we were truly the eyes and ears of the world, not just some tenants with no stake in the process. This doesn't mean hands off, it means treating our home as a home.
So I guess this brings my full circle to your proposal. I just don't know. Someday maybe.