Hidden Harmony: on the Perfection of Forests

The Missoulian’s recent series chronicling Montana’s historical role in forest liquidation should be a wakeup call to all who love public forests, endangered species and nature.

The overarching message, however, seems to be deliberately misleading us in the wrong direction, away from the obvious reasons we have environmental laws, away from best available science, and away from a vast body of accumulated knowledge best understood by biologists and ecologists. Avert your gaze, away from the key role local, grassroots forest activists have played in slowing the rate of forest-ecosystem destruction/liquidation.

When the age-old cover story to dupe the public isn’t working, propagandists admit to a limited version of the truth, while withholding the most damaging facts from public scrutiny – a gimmick called “limited hangout.”

Don’t be fooled, the “bad old days” of the past are not behind us. Think of today’s U.S. Forest Service as a fictional, undead agency being reanimated by U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester through a magical dismantling of our most sacred laws, with a sprinkling of science fictional methods.

This gaggle of zombies wants to clearcut our national forests. Bulldozers continue pioneering roads into roadless areas, destroying the last pockets of secure habitat for lynx, grizzly bears, bull trout. Old-growth-associated species hang precariously onto life by a thread. There are no “kinder, gentler” bulldozers. Bulldozers are coming for your roadless areas, for your “streamside buffers” and for your last old growth stands. It’s all that’s left that’s worth anything to the sawdust merchants and the bankers who care about nothing but more money – with interest.

The past is littered with carnage caused by irreversible mistakes and ignorance. Why it isn’t this working for our forests, for endangered species or for rural communities? Why can’t forests just be left alone to be forests? Wouldn’t that be a good discussion to have before we clearcut the last of it?

What evidence can be presented to support the notion that public forests benefit from “management” by state and federal agencies? Do we really need these expensive agencies at all?

To all the good points made by the Missoulian, there remains the sad truth that none of these enlightened egos have discovered: The hidden harmony, sacredness and perfection in a forest that has not been interfered with by man.

Forests are still seen as chaos surrounding us. However misinformed, our perceived thoughts about forests haven’t evolved beyond “what is good for me.” After satisfying me, the remainder becomes an abstraction, filed away in a compartment labeled “bad.” What is not reduced to property, or possession, is indiscriminately overlooked and discarded.

“Better management” cannot overcome the highly fragmented perception of the incomprehensible order in nature. Governors and managers of all jurisdictions remain far from the understanding needed – a universal intelligence – to “let it be.” If professional foresters discover better “management tools,” won’t the same mistakes be repeated until there’s nothing left to log?

This nonalignment will persist until there we all arrive at a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.

After three long decades of social engineering instigated and funded by the federal government and private foundations, people are fed up with the status quo. People are awakening to a greater understanding of their environment. The public is also beginning to realize that this oft-repeated story line is totally fabricated and false.

None of this media hoopla is about creating “a vignette of the original forest, a beautiful, fire-safe environment” or honest collaboration.

The war against nature is perpetual. What oligarchs want – more money and more power – never changes.

Our organized, grassroots resistance against theft of our public lands and slavery for Montana workers is rooted in love of wilderness, freedom and non-violent dissent. There is no better kind of obstruction against the long-con. We stand in opposition to authoritarian systems that threaten to destroy the public forests most Montanans hold dear.

Steve Kelly of Bozeman is an artist and co-founder of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

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Steve Kelly is a an artist and serves as a member of the board of directors of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.  

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