The bottom line

Posted by Ken Campbell January 12, 2010 0 Comment 591 views

According to this morning’s paper, possible budget cuts will force closure of some 20 campgrounds and trail systems across the State. It’s the DNR (Department of Nothing Remaining, as Abbey would say), that’s on the block in this instance, and sites that might get axed include Mima Mounds, Mount Si and Little Si trailheads, and the Cypress Head and Lummi Island Campgrounds in the San Juans. (Cypress Head in photo above)

On the Olympic Peninsula, the Little River trailhead, Bear Creek Campground, Willoughby Creek Campground and others could be affected by the proposed budget cuts. Whether this budget will resemble the one that eventually gets signed into law is still an open question, as is the issue of whether environmental and land-use groups are able to persuade Olympia to shake out the couch cushions for the $276,000 that will be needed to keep the DNR functioning at its current level.

In the long run, of course, it might not matter. Even if the money is found to keep these places up and running this year, there’s always next year. And the year after that. This State, like all the others, doesn’t realize where its true value lies. We have mountains and rivers and beaches and forests like nowhere else, and too often these unique treasures are seen as “getting in the way of progress,” by those whose livelihood depends on harvesting what they did not plant. There is not nearly enough long-term commitment and planning on the part of those who have been given the task of stewarding our lands and waters.

This is starting to show signs of turning into a political rant, so I’ll stop it right there. Because this is ultimately not about politics anyway. In a democracy, you get the government you deserve. If there are warts on the system, they are as much a reflection of our own personal shortcomings as any indictment of the guv’mint.

Just once I’d like to open the paper and read about 20 new trailheads and campgrounds being opened. I’d like to have a part in something that feels like it is on the way up rather than on the way out.

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