Sunday, April 13, 2008

They Need a Taste of (Self) Discipline

There are few outdoor pursuits I distaste more than snowmobiling, but this morning my disdain for the machines and especially their riders was enough to make my blood curl. A rider took his machine to the top of Mount St. Helens, several miles out of bounds and then was stupid enough to stand on top of a snow cornice that gave way. The lucky guy fell only two hundred feet and survived with only minor leg injuries.

Mount St. Helens during the winter.

This is about the stupidly, and discipline of humans, but is more than anything a challenge to taking care of a way of life. Admittedly, it has been a tough year for snowmobiles in Southwest Washington. The road to the Marble Mountain and Cougar Snow Parks have been closed through most of the winter. If you ask me, that is the lack of dedication by the Forest Service to its community. It is also the fault of the Forest Service that he was even on the mountain in a closed area. Most of the people that were on the ground to prevent this kind of intrusion and self-endangerment no longer have jobs in Southwest Washington.

I find it ironic however that the political fever in some of the counties around Mount St. Helens favor less and less government and more freedom to do what they want. Perhaps enough bodies and equipment sacrificed to the local volcano will make them think twice about the current culture. As the Forest Service has cut its management staff, there has been an audible display of glee by local enthusiasts.

Just remember for every one of these guys that get caught there are a significant number not observed putting themselves and our natural areas in peril. Yes, this guy was from Oregon, but as Bill Engvall would say, there are stupid people everywhere. They have to be managed!

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