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Sculpin
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PostMon Jan 27, 2020 10:21 am 
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Here is an interesting thesis on the process and anticipated effects of Wild Sky, written before it was designated wilderness:

https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1192&context=theses

One thing that I learned was that timber harvesting faded out between 1990 and 2000, there is no industry left to save.  The logging companies hardly even showed up for this debate and when they did, they pretended to be off road enthusiasts.

A key takeaway:

"In reality, access is not an issue with Wild Sky.  Snowmobilers do not significantly use any of the land within the negotiated boundaries.  Aside from the winter, when snow-covered roads provide sufficient challenges for jeeps and souped-up trucks, off-road vehicles have little interest in the Skykomish Ranger District.  In this way, Wild Sky displaces very little recreational activity."

Lots of interesting stuff in the thesis.  But when you boil it all down, it is the same old story, folks who believe in the intrinsic value of nature versus those who think nature has no value unless it is providing something useful to humans.

And in case you are wondering, yes, I read the whole thing.   tongue.gif

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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jan 27, 2020 10:54 am 
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Cool, I'll read it. Wild Sky was proposed decades ago to be included in the 1984 Wilderness Act, so the arguments were all old ones resurrected.

Edit: late 1970's for RARE II according to the article you provided. Thanks

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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MtnGoat
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PostMon Jan 27, 2020 7:11 pm 
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Right, same old story..humans valuing wilderness 'for itself', while evading the fact that doing so is using human interpretation and values in order to interpret value..... just like the other folks.

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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jan 27, 2020 10:22 pm 
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Yup, truer word was never spoken: Humans use thier human minds to interpret what they value about nature. They're so cute when they do that, aren't they? up.gif

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Jan 27, 2020 10:26 pm 
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Who's evading the fact that this is something we choose to value?
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MtnGoat
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PostTue Jan 28, 2020 9:29 am 
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The claim is that other darn people are valuing nature for it's utility to humans. Note the 'versus', explicitly arguing that persons holding the other view are not interested in it providing something of value to humans. But they are humans, and wilderness for it's 'own' sake is a value to them. It's still providing value to those humans, and the argument intentionally avoids this.

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But when you boil it all down, it is the same old story, folks who believe in the intrinsic value of nature versus those who think nature has no value unless it is providing something useful to humans.


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Sculpin
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PostTue Jan 28, 2020 9:32 am 
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MtnGoat wrote:
using human interpretation and values in order to interpret value

Oops, cake's out in the rain again.   rolleyes.gif

An interesting question that arises from the thesis is what folks in small rural towns hope for with regards to the future of their town.  It seems to me that the most important thing is that the young folks can find reasonable employment for reasonable wages without moving away.

What would actually happen if the trees grew back and a 150-employee specialty mill opened in Skykomish?  Of the 220 or so remaining residents, maybe 40 would find jobs at the mill (I presume that the folks are not sitting on their couches waiting for this to happen).  But wage scales have bottomed out, and most of those jobs would be at salaries that begin with a "1."  Meanwhile, 110 workers would move in with their families, including the higher paid engineers, most likely.  Many of them would be recent immigrants.

This would stimulate the building of new houses and businesses.  No doubt a few gaudy McMansions.  Maybe even a little traffic.

Is this really what the residents of Skykomish want?   confused.gif

The person mentioned in the thesis who seemed to have thought this through was the mayor of Index.  He realized that there was no going back for the current population.

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Sky Hiker
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PostTue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am 
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Well as someone that was born and raised there your not going to see the town expanding much and nor are it's residents looking for that. Loggers have moved or passed on for the most part. Any logging done now is mostly Weyco and they bring in their own loggers and operators and their stay is comparatively short. There are a few businesses that hire a few employees, very few USFS personnel these days.The railroad employs very few. Some poeple make the daily drive into the city choosing to live there. Some do work at the pass with that being mostly seasonal. There are what we call weekenders which are skiers or people who own a house away from the city.
I don't think whether Wild Sky was created or not that the employment situation would have gone up or down either way. It's also hard to say recreation from Wild Sky has increased or decreased for sure. More people recreationally around the area is probably more a sign of Wa states population growth than people seeking to be in a wilderness area or not. But that's just my observation as a local.
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PostTue Jan 28, 2020 1:37 pm 
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Thanks, Sky Hiker, good to hear a perspective from someone who lived there.

Sky Hiker wrote:
I don't think whether Wild Sky was created or not that the employment situation would have gone up or down either way. It's also hard to say recreation from Wild Sky has increased or decreased for sure.

That is consistent with what the thesis writer predicted, not much effect on the area either way.  Wild Sky consists almost entirely of wooded ridgetops and steep, wooded slopes.  The permanent end to logging is meaningful, regardless of how we feel about it, but in terms of local impact the wilderness designation looks like a big nothingburger.   bug.gif

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