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Science and Emotion

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

 

I am told as a biologist I cannot be emotional. Yet everything I live for, strive for, and believe in is in the dirt outside my door. The dirt outside my door is being carried away and someone says I have not the right to be emotional because I’m a scientist?—Ranger Steve Mueller 7 October 1974

In May 1973 I fell completely in love with Bryce Canyon Nat’l Park and was fortunate to become employed as a ranger there in 1974. My daughter was born there in 1980, my career and family took us in new directions but my heart and soul remained scientifically and emotionally true to that remnant of Eden.

I began working for the creation of Grand Staircase wilderness that lies between Bryce Canyon NP and Grand Canyon NP. The fragile desolate area stretches 80 miles north to south and 150 miles east to west. People recognized the uniqueness and fragility of the area. Focus groups worked for suitable protection.

Competing interests differed. Since the 1920’s, compromises developed. In the 1990’s President Clinton used the Antiquities Act to established Grand Staircase National Monument on public land. It did not meet some of my desires for protecting part of Eden that remains on Earth. It did not meet the desires of others wanting to exploit its cultural and natural resources for short term personal gain. Difficult compromises developed. 

States are granted school land sections as a process of deeding when States are established. Utah wanted compensation for state lands within what became Grand Staircase Nat’l Monument. The federal government deeded other federal lands richer in oil, natural gas, and coal to compensate Utah. 

The establishment of Grand Staircase NM became a long term economic boost for small towns. Recreation increased along with rapid growth of sustainable businesses during the past twenty years. Mining, pollution, and landscape destruction are not compatible with fragility of the arid environment and unique ecosystem species. 

Dr. Dave Warners, Calvin College biologist stated, we’re not heading in a good direction on our current path with the relationship between global temperature, CO2 levels, human population and the prevalence of species extinction that approximates 50,000 species going extinct annually. He suggests:

Preservation—setting aside natural, protected areas, such as national parks

Conservation Biology—Managing those preserved areas

Restoration ecology—Improving degraded areas

Reconciliation—the process of deliberately sharing our habitats with other species.

Compromises developed for establishing Grand Staircase NM. Congress has sole authority to make adjustments. President Trump does not agree with our laws and claims he can dictatorially exempt designated laws protecting the monuments, environment, and private property like those along the Mexican border. He is taking public and private land without due process of law.

Wilderness Society president said, “The Trump administration is ignoring local communities and undoing the thoughtful participation of countless individuals that led to the creation of these national monuments.” She added the Wilderness Society will stand up against the Trump Administration’s illegal actions in court where the facts are on our side. Allies in eight national conservation groups, the $887 billion outdoor recreation industry, and five Native American Nations have sued to restore the protections of Grand Staircase and Bears Ears National Monuments that were established through public involvement and compromise. 

Bill Spalding, business owner by Grand Staircase said, “Without the monument, our business wouldn’t exist.”

I continue scientific nature niche research in the region and emotionally recognize remnants of Eden need protection. I encourage influencing your representative and senators to protect Grand Staircase and due process of law from illegal dictatorial exemption. Rep. Amash has not been favorable toward monument protection.

I have spent scientific and emotional energy for over 40 years with the specific mission to protect the Grand Staircase ecological integrity. Compromise was reached. An illegal dictatorial decision by the Trump administration has negated my life’s work and a reader in January told me I do not have the right to be emotional – stick to science. Other readers have applauded my efforts in defense of creation care. 

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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- who has written 14632 posts on Cedar Springs Post Newspaper.


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