Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Excerpt From "The Wild Marsh" by Rick Bass

Taken from p.134 in the chapter "May"...

"In our valley, we have but fifteen such gardens of any significant size left.  They require a minimum size of one thousand acres to be classified as potential candidates for wilderness designation - formal, permanent protection by Congress - and in order to qualify must not ever have had any roads built into them.

Such has been the frenzy of extraction on this forest, the subsidized liquidation of the biggest and best of the timber - well over a million loaded logging trucks have rolled out of this forest, out of this valley, and out of this impoverished county (Where did all the money go?  Was there ever any money, or was it all simply given or traded away?) - that in the million or so acres lying between the Canadian border and the curve, the bow, of the Kootenai River, east of Idaho and west of  Lake Koocanusa, these fifteen gardens are now scattered in a gasping strand of one wild archipelago, and are refuge not only to the last threatened and endagnered species such as wolves and grizzlies and caribou and wolverines but also to those reservoirs of spirit.

Fifteen gardens: and worse yet, not a single one them has any form of permanent protection whatsoever.  Despite the living, pulsing, breathing wilderness of this landscape (a biological wildness, rather than a recreational wildness - perhaps the wildest valley in the Lower Forty-eight, in that regard), there's still not a single acre of designated wilderness protected on the public wildlands of this valley.

It's a big injustice.  I hate the flavor, the taste, of that injustice.

I love the scent, the taste, the feeling - and certaintly, the ecological justice - back in the farthest hearts of those fifteen gardens.

I've said it before: This isn't a place to come to.  It's a place to dream of.  It's biological wildness, full of frog roar and swamp muck and tangled blowdown and mosquitoes and deeply angry, suspicious people, none of whom would be pleased to see your happy, vacationing face."

Land is not worth only what you can extract from it.

1 comment:

Francis H. Woods said...

... or sea, for that matter.