OF RABBITS, AND LYNX

THE CONTRARIAN

This is a good story, and current, so I can’t take time to do the research and we have to go with my memory. Actually I did try, I dug out my ‘Environmental excesses and bad Science’ file (paper), about 6 inches thick, and I think I re-injured my back so I did not dare go for the even thicker ‘Dioxin Nonsense’ file. The huge ‘Global Baloney’ file is mostly online, but it is too recent to help.
I attended a meeting (I think as ‘public’, on my own dime, rather than as ‘municipal rep’), about 20 years ago, perhaps in Kenora as I think present Kenora Mayor Canfield was officiating. He might know something about it, but I have already pestered him enough this year. The meeting was for Municipalities (and Chamber of Commerce’s and the public) to hear a presentation by the Unions representing most of the woods workers in Minnesota and adjacent states.
Remember the Spotted Owl? Environmentalists had obtained a ruling from the American justice system, which is even more loony toons than ours, to the effect that the Spotted Owl was being threatened with extinction by logging operations, and logging must be shut down in a big part of the American west.
The Union’s presentation claimed that because of that ruling some 50 communities, single industry towns, most below 5000 population, lost their main employer, with resulting collapsed property values; some became ghost towns, people lost their homes, their life savings, their lifestyle, there were many marriage failures and suicides, a huge people impact. The financial impact was also terrific; nobody feels sorry for big companies, but many of these were quite small, like “Joes Pizza Parlour and Logging Company”, or “Smith Brothers Sawmill”, started in 1890 by the boy’s grandfather, and this cost the entire life savings of 4 generations of the hardworking Smith family. Just hypothetical examples.
The presentation included a clip from a major American network television talk show, in which a spokesman for one of the environmental groups (Sierra Club?) was being interviewed. The interviewer summed up with something like, “So, this shutting down of towns and disruption of people’s lives was carried out, even though you already knew that the Spotted Owl was not endangered, in fact it was doing fine. Even worse, it does better when there is logging going on. You already knew that, yet you went ahead?”
The ‘environmentalist’ responded a bit sheepishly, saying something like “Well, we have to make our mark where we can.”
The union’s made the claim that the same ‘environmentalist’ groups were marshalling to carry out the same destruction in Minnesota and surrounding areas. This destructive action would be based on the notion that the Canadian Lynx was endangered, so logging must be stopped. This idea is even more mind-numbingly silly than owls – lynx eat rabbits, and rabbits do not live in old-growth over-mature conifer forests. The nub of the problem is that these city types do not seem able to grasp that a forest is a living thing, everything goes in cycles. Wildlife waxes and wanes, trees grow old and die and are replaced with new trees; modern logging consists of mimicking, even encouraging that cycle. ‘Stop logging at all costs’ is a political position, not an environmental one.
The union’s purpose in calling the meeting was to make the communities aware of this threat, and get some action going. As usual, everybody went away from the meeting mumbling ‘gee, somebody ought to do something about that’, and that was the end of it.
So what makes this important now? Speaking personally, I had never seen a lynx in the wild in my 50 years or so of rambling in the bush, until I saw two in one year in 2006. Now they seem quite common, even attacking people in their houses. Good thing the lynx made that population recovery and foiled the environmentalists, or we might have had logging shut down here too, just like the Spotted Owl story, and there might not be people or houses or even lynx here now. (No rabbits, no lynx).

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