The glacial arrete known as the Devil’s Causeway tests the nerve of hikers while providing a dramatic entry portal to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

Photo by Tom Ross

The glacial arrete known as the Devil’s Causeway tests the nerve of hikers while providing a dramatic entry portal to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

Celebrating 50 years of the Wilderness Act


The Wilderness Act of 1964

The residents of Northwest Colorado, who enjoy dramatic views of the Flat Tops mountains, are uniquely situated to appreciate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act on Wednesday.

The act was signed into law in1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, but the Flat Tops did not attain wilderness status until 1975. Despite the 11-year delay, the Flat Tops and Trappers Lake are widely regarded as the cradle of statutory wilderness in the U.S. That’s because it was after a trip to Trappers Lake in 1919 to survey for cabin sites, a young U.S. Forest Service recreation engineer named Arthur Carhart made the argument that some areas of special beauty should be set aside from development.

In a memo he wrote after his visit to Trappers, Carhart laid out for the first time, the notion that the Forest Service was the appropriate agency to set aside and protect some of America’s wildest and most scenic lands.

The Flat Tops also represent the headwaters of the White and Yampa rivers. The Yampa, which begins in the town of Yampa and flows through Steamboat, Hayden and Craig, also played an indirect role in the passage of the Wilderness Act.

In the early 1950s, the federal Bureau of Reclamation was contemplating the billion dollar Colorado River Storage Project comprising a series of massive series of concrete dams that would tame the wild Colorado and store its spring flows for development of the West. The Echo Park Dam was proposed to be built near the confluence of the Yampa and Green in Dinosaur National Monument.

The dam would have flooded the scenic canyon we know today, but David Brower of the Sierra Club and Howard Zahniser of the Wilderness Society launched a successful campaign against Echo Park Dam, arguing it would have set a dangerous precedent to permit a dam to be built in a national monument or national park. It was Zahniser, who went on to campaign for the wilderness act, testifying before Congress and revising the language of the wilderness bill. He died before it was signed into law, but knowing that his efforts had been successful.

Celebration of Wilderness

Routt County residents will have the opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with a series of local activities.

The signature event will be Walk for the Wilderness from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill. Participants will pick up a passport and then walk along the Yampa River Core Trail, where they can visit informational booths presented by event sponsors Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Trapper’s Lake Chapter of the Sierra Club, Friends of Wilderness, Yampatika and the U.S. Forest Service.

For every stop along the walk a person makes, they receive a ticket that will be entered into a prize drawing that includes items donated by Big Agnes, SmartWool, Ski Haus and other local businesses. The event also features live music from the Yampa Valley Boys.

In honor of the anniversary, Bud Werner Memorial Library also is hosting three Wilderness movies. “Wild By Law” will be shown Tuesday, “Green Fire” on Wednesday and “Forever Wild” on Thursday. All showings are at 7 p.m.

It’s important, on the 50th anniversary of America’s Wilderness Act, to gaze back through the fog rising off the mountains and acknowledge the inspiration that first recognized the intrinsic value of the relatively untouched natural beauty in our national forests. But looking back to 1964 may not be as important in 2014 as looking ahead to the next half century.

The 112th Congress, which met from Jan. 3, 2011, until Jan. 3, 2013, was the first since 1966 to fail to approve any new wilderness areas, hitting the pause button at an unsettling moment in the history of formalizing wilderness. There is optimism that the 113th Congress will snap out of that funk and add new tracts of untrammeled and roadless lands to the official list, among them, the proposed Brown’s Canyon Wilderness in Colorado’s Arkansas River Valley poised for wilderness status.

Landscape photographer John Fielder, an uncompromising advocate for wilderness, mused in the midst of a wilderness hike in July that it will be vital in coming years to inspire more young people to visit wilderness in order to form their emotional connection to special places like the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, south of Steamboat Springs, if the movement is to continue to grow.

Fielder was joined on his walk through wilderness by San Francisco State University professor of recreation, parks and tourism Pat Tierney, a wilderness veteran himself, after stints as a forest ranger as well as a National Parks Service river ranger. He is collaborating with Fielder on a book about the Yampa River due to come out next year. Their mission in the Flat Tops was to capture the headwaters of the river in images and prose.

Fielder readily acknowledged that bringing more people into wilderness inevitably would increase the impacts on environments intended by the Wilderness Act itself to be left untrammeled. It’s a trade he’s willing to make.

“I’ll do anything it takes to get people into wilderness,” Fielder said.

What Fielder is driving at is the tendency of people who have had a wilderness experience, and in particular, one of greater duration than the typical 6-mile day hike, to form a personal attachment to wilderness fostering a preservation ethic that lasts a lifetime.

Coyote karaoke

The availability of accessible wilderness day hikes are important, but it’s an overnight camping experience, and one that comes with some privations and often a modicum of hardship, that really forges the bond. That’s when the need to consult a watch or a phone fades into the background and visitors get hooked on wilderness while quietly swapping stories of waiting out August snowstorms in a darkened camp (not by the campfire). That’s where they wonder at the vastness of the Milky Way and listen to coyote karaoke in solitude.

Steamboat resident Elaine Dermody understands the need to introduce more people to wilderness values. She has been a tireless advocate for wilderness stewardship and started the Friends of Wilderness here in 2000 to take care of the local Flat Tops, Mount Zirkel and Sarvis Creek wilderness areas. That led to a funding role in the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Ironically, Dermody confesses that members of her own book group have not visited the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, easily visible from downtown Steamboat, and are unclear about what wilderness is.

“Most of my friends in Steamboat are not involved in wilderness and some don’t even hike in wilderness,” she said. “With this being the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, I asked my book club what their concept of wilderness was. A number thought it was land you couldn’t go into.”

Dermody prizes overnight excursions into the wilderness because they afford her the ability to enjoy sunrise and sunset in a pristine setting. But she’s also aware of the role wildlife, including vocal coyotes, can play in making that connection.

Tears came to her eyes this month while describing a day when coyotes “welcomed” her back to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

Dermody had missed the wilderness experience while recovering from an illness, and when she was finally hardy enough for a hike in the Flat Tops, she eagerly joined a group headed for the Mandall Lakes to transplant tiny pine trees in areas where frequent camping had hardened the earth.

“What happened was that we were going up the trail and heard coyotes howling, which is very rare in the middle of the day,” Dermody said. “I said, ‘Oh my god, they’re so happy I’m back out in the wilderness.’”

For U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Program Manager for the Yampa Ranger District John Anarella, the appeal of wilderness has to do with the way it clears his head.

“It’s how being among the natural world puts your mind at ease,” Anarella said. “It’s so simple. Your mind’s not going all over the place. To me, it’s a simplification, a relaxation.”

Perennial snowbanks feed wilderness watershed

Fielder renewed his emotional connection with wilderness this summer while camped by a no-name beaver pond beneath the long igneous wall of the Flat Tops’ Lost Lake peaks. A day earlier, he had seemed rapturous while photographing a large patch of low-growing alpine sunflowers in the tundra above 11,000 feet.

“This is the largest field I’ve seen in 40 years,” he exclaimed, returning to compose one new wildflower composition after another.

Still, it was the lush meadow by the beaver pond that really took hold of him later that same day.

Gazing to the east from a campsite set well back from the pond, the view took in the Lost Lake peaks dominated by one dome of basalt that is just shy of 12,000 feet.

Fielder, who had risen shortly at 5 a.m. to be in position to catch first light bouncing off the peaks and reflecting in the pond, exclaimed upon his return, “This is the epitome of sublimeness!”

The little creek full of brook trout that fed the beaver pond represents the headwaters of the East Fork of the Williams Fork (is that enough forks for you?), a significant tributary of the Yampa that flows into the main stem just west of Craig.

Tierney, who served an extended stint as a National Park Service river ranger on the Yampa and Green rivers far downstream in Dinosaur National Monument, suggested that the protection of pristine watersheds like the one that had captured Fielder’s attention is ample justification for the Wilderness Act.

The little creek was fed by water that seemed to leap out of the ground on a gentle hillside. Tierney pointed out that this creek/pond/meadow system was made possible by the perennial snowbanks of the Flat Tops. He theorized that the porous igneous rock beneath the thin layer of topsoil soaks up and conveys water from melting snow like a sponge.

Asked what this meadow, only about 6 miles from a county road, might look like today if the Flat Tops had not been given wilderness status in 1975,Tierney paints a different scene.

“There would probably be a gravel road up here and likely a dam,” Tierney said.

Ironically, it was people who wanted to preserve the ability to build a dam on the South Fork of the White River who resisted inclusion of that drainage in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and held up wilderness designation for the “cradle of wilderness” for more than a decade.

Geologic history of the Flat Tops

When it comes to the Flat Tops, its admirers have to look back more than 50 years to understand the history of the landscape. In fact, they have to look back more than 50 million years to understand how these mountains came to be so flat.

According to the Forest Service, the Flat Tops were formed throughout millions of years by a combination of volcanic and glacial forces.

It was about 52 million years ago that a giant, swirling lake of magma began to uplift the entire White River Plateau.

Gradually, the earth gave way resulting in 10 more mild volcanic eruptions, 12 million years ago. The lava that oozed out of fissures spread out across the landscape, where it hardened into rock and provided an erosion resistant cap on the uplifted plateau and surrounding valleys.

It wasn’t until a recent ice age that the friction caused by melting glaciers sliding down cliffs carved out the bowl-shaped cirques epitomized by the Chinese Wall.

The Devil’s Causeway, easily the best-known geologic feature in the Flat Tops, was formed by two such cirques in direct opposition to each other, resulting in the narrow arrete that lures so many day hikers in the wilderness area to test their courage by walking across the narrow stripe of uneven rock with sheer drop-offs on either side.

During a visit to the causeway in late July, 25 to 30 people were clustered, half on the north side and half on the south side, taking turns walking, or scooting on their butts across the rocky causeway. One group of older teenage males gave it a good look and decided it wasn’t for them. And that’s easy to understand; everyone has his or her personal tolerance for heights.

Wilderness equivalent of a roller coaster

What makes the Devil’s Causeway intimidating is the fact that when one looks down to assure safe foot placement, the void on either side comes into view in one’s peripheral vision. It raises pulse rates and commands respect.

Anarella, who received national stewardship award from the Forest Service in 2009, agrees that the Devil’s Causeway serves as an attraction that introduces people who might not otherwise visit to the wilderness.

“It’s this rite of passage thing,” Anarella said. “You can buy T-shirts that say, ‘I crossed the Devil’s Causeway’ at Montgomery’s General Store in Yampa. We get 70, 90 cars in the trailhead parking lot some days. I actually put an infrared trail counter on the Causeway Trail this year. It’s only been there for about three weeks, and I don’t have a tally.”

It might seem sacrilegious to suggest the Devil’s Causeway is to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area what the Mind Eraser roller coaster is to Elitch Gardens amusement park. But if the thrill factor of the Causeway creates even 100 or 200 new wilderness fanatics annually, it could make a difference.

The future of the 1964 Wilderness Act is ahead of us.


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps the 112th congress has realized that there is enough wilderness already.

There are many who wish to have a "wilderness experience" just off the side of Hwy 40 along Rabbit Ears, or in similar venues, but this is NOT the intent of wilderness designation. Nor is it to see how many people can be "converted" into supporting wilderness by herding them INTO wilderness.

It might also be the case that congress, like many Americans, is waking up to the reality that many advocates of wilderness are not in the game for the sake of wilderness alone, but are extreme religious environmentalists based in major metropolitan areas, and whose primary goal is to use roadless and wilderness designations to shut down energy and other natural rescource exploitation on vast tracts of the American peoples land.

Finally, examples such as the beetle kill epidemic which has decimated western forests and effectively ruined them for a generation, might have many lawmakers wondering what exactly is so wrong with harvesting crops such as timber, especially with new tecniques that protect the land and insure it's healty and vigor.

America's National Parks and Wilderness areas are the invy of the World. Every one of them was a good investment and is worth protecting.

However, this current wilderness crusade is not what this country needs. Instead, America needs to utilize it's natural resources and stop trying to place them "off limits" forever through the guise of Wilderness.


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

PS, I could regularly hear coyotes howling from my house 100 feet from Hwy 40. No wilderness required.


Chris Hadlock 2 years, 3 months ago

Mark is of course absolutely wrong once again. The wilderness act has helped preserve so many of the wild features that belong to all of us. Tell us Mark, how well would private industry have protected these area. McDonalds on both sides of the Devils Causeway?


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

I said "America's National Parks and Wilderness areas are the invy of the World."

Then I said "Every one of them was a good investment and is worth protecting."

But you're such a NITWIT that you chose to ignore that FACT and attack my entire statement using some ridiculous, kindergarten-like nonsense about McDonalds on the Causeway.

Why don't YOU, Chris, tell us how Colorado's wilderness-protected forests are thriving so well? They are among the most protected and among the sickest!

Tell us how the millions of acres of beetle-killed forest was caused by GW Bush or the Tea Party or those "mean old industrialists".

Tell us how the "wild features belong to all of us" while the oil, nat gas and timber on those same lands somehow does not.

Tell us how a gubbamint and Forest Service that couldn't stop a beetle the size of a grain of rice is going to affect global atmospheric change.

Tell us how placing huge tracts of timber, vast mineral and fuel deposits "off limits" forever is going to keep us out of the wars and turmoil in the middle east.


cody perry 2 years, 3 months ago

Mark, Mark, Mark. It must be hard for you considering this concept. I imagine you feel ground beneath you slipping away. Perhaps Its disturbing thinking of this worlds web of life as equal shareholders (a term you might understand) of a future that is a universal right. The future. How do we sane folks see it, you probably won't ask? well simply one where future generations can live at least as good if not better than the previous ones before us you nitwit. People the world over don't debate the value of land conservation. Wilderness, the word your using, is a modern American concept. American period. Wilderness is the forge upon which our character was formed. I think you need to take a long trip out there yourself Mark. Build some character.


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

This world's web of life consists of many species which are most certainly NOT equal shareholders, Cody. That's a load of crap that you've swallowed from some snake-oil salesman probably masquerading as a "professor" of some college where you no doubt mastered in basket weaving or some other "profession" that is supposed to be "equal" to all the others.

Like the stopped clock, you are at least correct that people the world over don't debate conservation.

China, for example, doesn't "debate" it at all; they just built the world's largest dam, they put on a coal-fired power plant every week or so, and they are your banker, NOT your "equal".

The nut houses are full of "sane" folks like you, Cody.

America's character was forged by people who had the balls to CONQUER wilderness, Cody. NOT by wussies like you who sat on their ass in that wilderness waiting on their manna to fall from the sky.


cody perry 2 years, 3 months ago

Good for you mark, feel better. Its disturbing for some to even hear a holistic approach to sustaining our standard of living and asking deep questions. Such as, where we should go together as communities, as regions and nations. History shows we've learned to not be so careless with the public trust (I'm talking about public lands including wilderness). We've learned a lot from the dangers of multinational corporations (from Asia, Canada, Europe) who are plundering the natural capital by the greed of the free market mayhem. This is short sighted theft from the people, from the world and most importantly from the future. Infinite growth and finite resources just don't work. Mark, you reduce this the petty politics and shame on you for being so selfish. The article above is about wilderness that belongs to all. Served fresh with your kaniption fit an update on what these snake dancing and devil worshiping College students of America are thinking about: The future. PEACE to I & I MoFO!!!


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

Don't flatter yourself, Cody. Your questions are not "deep". Nor are your approaches "sustainable", Cody.

There is nothing "careless" about being a good steward of the land and ALL its resources. Timber and energy production can be accomplished while sustaining the environment. This has been demonstrated over and over again.

To stop all use of airplanes because some crash, or to stop using cars because some crash, or to stop producing energy because it sometimes leads to a spill is not "sustainable" either, Cody.

The "progressive" left once held up Canada and Europe as models of their socialist ideal for America. Europe can't windmill it's way out from under Russia; Canada has woke up and started utilizing natural resources. So now it's time for the "progressives" like you to disown them a bit, hmmmm?

If, as you say, it's about "wilderness that belongs to ALL", then who is being "selfish" for wanting to place the resources within that area "off-limits" to all people forever, no matter how much those resources might someday be needed to "sustain" your fellow man.

No, Cody, it is YOU and YOUR ilk who are, of all men, most "selfish". The attitude being: "I got MY electricity;I got MY ski lift in the National Forest; I got MY lumber for MY house; I got MY metal and oil from the ground and rubber from some jungle for MY bike and for MY car; I got MY groceries from some land that's NOT forbidden wilderness; so to hell with future generations that might need lumber, oil, rubber or groceries of their own". THAT is "selfish", Cody!


Chris Hadlock 2 years, 3 months ago

You have to remember that Mark does not think the Gov't can do ANYTHING that is good or worthwhile. Every single thing the GOV'T does or accomplishes is wasted effort or useless right Mark?

When confronted with uncomfortable FACTS he reverts to the standard of GOV'T sucks and cannot do anything right. That is his basic answer for anything and everything so it is not at all surprising that he cannot support saving the wild places in America and sees no value for any resource that is not spoiled, dug up or burned.

IMO, saving pieces of the wilderness in perpetuity is a valuable goal so that all of us can enjoy the natural environment and spectacular vistas.. These beautiful places belong to all Americans and we should not let people like Mark Hartless ruin them.


Ken Mauldin 2 years, 2 months ago

Mark writes: "Every one of them was a good investment and is worth protecting" in regard to America's National Parks and wilderness.

So, Chris replies: "You have to remember that Mark does not think the Gov't can do ANYTHING that is good or worthwhile."

Chris - Your response gives the impression that you're more interested in attacking Mark than responding thoughtfully to his opinion. Mark writes "good investment" and, somehow, you read "does not think the Gov't can do ANYTHING that is good or worthwhile"

You understand what the word "good" means, don't you?


Eric Morris 2 years, 3 months ago

Chris, the fatal error in your argument is the entity supposedly going to protect these areas into perpetuity is $17 trillion in debt. I don't see the sustainability of that model to protect anything in the long term.


Eric Morris 2 years, 3 months ago

It is hubris or ignorance to think that only the USG will protect it; is even capable of doing so, especially for the long-term since it is bankrupt; or that, as you stated, the wilderness will not protect itself.


cody perry 2 years, 3 months ago

Eric, the Department of Interior houses the majority of public land management agencies with the exception of the Forest Service housed under the Department of Ag. The topic of how wilderness in the continental U.S. is tied and held in proxy to Global economics is interesting but certainly not a means to an end. You know we have World Parks within the U.S. right? You know nearly every country has wilderness type protections for their respective lands right? This isn't a first world problem. Its a worldwide, every specie type issue. Economics can be much more diverse than we tend to think of it. $ isn't everything we tend to think it is.


Chris Hadlock 2 years, 3 months ago

MIxing Apples and Oranges there Eric. We could have saved 5 Trillion by staying out of Iraq. We lose over a trillion a year to off shore tax havens and another trillion to corporate inversion. How about another 500 Billion to Oil and Gas subsidies?

When you get right down to it, the money spent on Wilderness areas is trivial when compared to Defense, Social, Policing, darn near everything.....


Eric Morris 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't disagree with your savings. Those payments and subsidies have been or are being expended, hence why the current model is unsustainable. What happens to the wilderness areas when the US Empire goes the way of the Soviet, British, Spanish, Dutch, Mayan, Aztec, Incan, Roman, etc., etc. that have preceded it?


rhys jones 2 years, 3 months ago

I've always advocated offering to trade Yosemite to the Chinese for their share of our debt -- but at this rate, they'll get the whole kit and kaboodle!! And we're feeding them the money to buy us out!! They'll take GOOD care of our forests. Shop at Walmart!!


cody perry 2 years, 3 months ago

Dear mark, one day you should venture out from the narrow confines of trolling the Steamboat Pilot and spewing your view across a wall like drunken vomit. Try actually going beyond your car window or tea party chat room orgies. Go to the "wilderness"! This might be easier for you then others. I suggest an expedition, perhaps hundred's of meters away from your car until to finally you reach a threshold of some kind. Maybe anger. But screw you Mark. Sounds to near certain you've never spent anytime on these "wild" places you say are worth protecting but also advocate open extraction. Go fly a kite Mark. Baby steps.


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

Some of the best snowmobiling I ever did was in the Wilderness, Cody. And I'll see you there again real soon.


cody perry 2 years, 3 months ago

Not likely, you have to get off your machine tough guy.


rhys jones 2 years, 3 months ago

They allow those stinky and noisy machines in there? Something wrong with your feet? Can't walk with the real folks? How old are you?

Do I miunderstand law, or are you a criminal, Mark?


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago

I am a criminal, Rhys.

"For laws to be respected, they must be respectable"- F. Bastiat


Chris Hadlock 2 years, 3 months ago

Well Mark, we will just add that to the list of things that you are wrong about. Have a nice day.


cody perry 2 years, 3 months ago

For most, this beautiful mountain valley bestows a special grace upon us daily. We identify with these mountains and rivers when we drive to work. When we bike and ski and raft along the seasons. These Public Lands belong to us and thanks to legislation like the Wilderness Act we have places to belong to. We have the agencies that manage and care for these splendid landscapes. Now is a time when we need to be more vigilant then ever in keeping them from the hands of extraction and greed. The impact on the West has been major in the last 100 years. And what the future holds is anyone guess. But the idea of Wilderness is no abstraction, nor is the heart of what that act stands for. I for one am committed disciple, warrior and slave to keeping it that way. Thanks to so many heroes like Ed Abbey, Aldo Leopold, Wallace Stegner, Charles Wilkinson, Terry Tempest, Ellen Melloy, Barry Lopez. Shots Out!!


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

Total United States Wilderness designated areas currently cover an area larger than the entire state of California.

28% of the entire area of the US is owned by the Federal Gubbamint.

I find it hillarious that someone claiming concern about revenue wants to preserve a wasteland called ANWaR and effectively put over $300 Billion in oil revenue "off limits" forever.

Nationwide estimates are in the Trillions of dollars in oil and gas locked up by Wilderness and other restrictions.

Trillions of dollars that could pay teachers, house the poor, even develop renewable energy. But I guess that's not important. That lost revenue apparently doesn't concern Chris at all, apparently only the revenue some "evil corporation" is holding outside the US to avoid confiscatory taxes bothers him.

In fact, if the truth were told many of his ilk probably cringe at the idea of government getting ANY revenue if it means some private company might actually make an "evil profit" for it's "greedy shareholders".

Finally, I find it ammusing that Chris would bemoan the wars which cost this nation so many dollars and lives, while seeming totally oblivious to the connection between our lack of domestic energy production and our need to be perpetually engaged in the freakin middle east. As his ilk used to say "Blood for Oil". That too is a connection Chris doesn't seem to want to make. Seems like one could argue that it's not so much "Blood for Oil as "Blood for Wilderness", hmmm, Chris???


cody perry 2 years, 3 months ago

Nice wikipedia facts marky! Did you come up with all this on your own!?


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

The thing about facts is that they ARE facts no matter whence they came or who iterates them.

I know facts mean nothing to you and many like you, Cody. In fact, they are something to be mocked. That's because you are, by definition, a religious extremist who has made up your mind. To you, facts just get in the way of your ideals. You worship the house (earth) rather than the builder (God). Earth is your god.

Nevertheless the facts are that:

1.Because of debt and the insatiable apetite to live beyone our means, ie hoarding vast expanses of resources, ie "selfishness", China is your banker, NOT your equal.

2.28% of the country is owned by gubbamint and it still can't bring into being the utopia you long for. That doesn't even count the ridiculous amount of control gubbamint has in the operation of the remaining 72% by force of regulations.

3.Total US Wilderness already covers an area greater than California.

4.There are TRILLIONS of dollars in gas, oil and mineral deposits locked up in "off limits" areas. Enough to feed the poor, pay teachers more, house the homeless and pay off the national debt.

5. Refusing to exploit the resources we own is a HUGE factor in keeping us involved in endless wars which kill untolled millions of innocent people, destroy resources, add to debt and enrich big defense companies.

6. You and your ilk are the "selfish" ones, as demonstrated by the FACT that none of these FACTS matter more than your own personal ability to experience what 98% of the rest of the people eeking out a meager existence on this world havn't the time or ability to enjoy. And rather than utilize those resources to help your fellow man you would hoarde them for your own eyes, like emperors of long ago who lived lavishly on unnecessary luxuries while legions around them starved.


mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

I worship and give credit to He who BUILT the house, rather than worshiping the house itself.

Since the manual for THAT religion (The Holy Bible) is the all time best selling book ever, ever, ever. And since it has far out-sold "Silent Spring" or any religious environmental book ever printed, and probably more than all of them combined, I believe MY religion would be consiidered "main stream" rather than "extreme".

Isn't it funny how when people WANT something they can believe in it's possibility... like global atmospheric change?? "YES WE CAN!".... But when they DON'T want something (like oil revenue from public land) they come up with all sorts of riduculous excuses why gubbamint can't get the revenue, or the $$$ will never end up in the hands of the teachers, etc, etc, bla, bla, bla...???


Dan Kuechenmeister 2 years, 3 months ago

Chris, while you are blasting capitalism for trying to avoid the onerous highest in the world US corporate tax rates and oil and gas companies for receiving subsidies,wouldn't it be fair to mention the Solyndras (lots of money down a dark hole there) et al that were/are pet projects of the current admin or are you blind to that as you are a supporter. Also you failed to mention the annual 100 billion plus wasted from fraud in social welfare programs. I mean fair is fair - right Cody, while your passion is admirable - a few more facts and less mockery might be advisable. While I may not be all that keen on Mark H's presentation style he at least provides mostly provable facts while you provide mostly passionate opinion and in a style that I am not all that keen on either.


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago


Tolerance and aceceptance are not part of my religion. (love and forgiveness, yes) My God is a jealous God who does not share power with any other. Therefore, I do not claim to be tolerant.

I do not claim to accept your religion as equal to mine, nor to tolerate your religious ideals.

My religion says that all are sinners and imperfect. (yes, that includes me, and I freely admit that I am woefully imperfect) . It says that you and I are equally incapable of squaring our position with our Creator all by ourselves. He is supreme and WE are the offending party. WE broke HIS rules and HE stands in judgement over us... period.

There is an un-caused first cause, which I call "God", who created all that is. Stuff can't create stuff, therefore God MUST have created the stuff.

And if that power created it, then He can sustain it in spite of all man's stupidity. In fact, He does sustain it. He sustains the Universe and my feeble existence at the same time.

Yes, He expects us to properly care for and admire His creation. Yes, He expects us to be good stewards of that with which He has entrusted us. But giving the credit to the house rather than to Him who built it simply makes no sense to me.


jerry carlton 2 years, 2 months ago

Pat Since you seem to have some knowledge of the Bible do you remember the part where God says he or as you prefer her will not be mocked? Hmmmmm?


Dan Kuechenmeister 2 years, 2 months ago

Pat, There are jerks in cars, jerks on bicycles and yes I have even seen jerks with shopping carts, although I will concede they don't have horns to honk. Just curious do you own or use transportation that utilizes that evil tool of the devil?


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago

"For all you know, your God's "days" are a million years to us..." In Genesis 1:5 it says that "the evening and the morning were the first day." Hard to mistake that for a million years.

" just do (i think you mean "due") to her inability or desire to control every micro second of her day. God has no "inability" He is omnipotent.

"For all we know we are a terrible toddler that God shakes her head at during this stage of development wondering when we will all develop into a well rounded adult." We are on thin ice with God, I agree.

"It pollutes the world your say your God made for us, it makes us scar the earth, and brings laziness, and sloth to humankind." The automobile no more causes laziness than garbage causes flies. It is a tool, like a gun, knife, hammer or fire. It can be used for evil or for good. Have you ever heard of ambulances?

"...a temptation from the devil." I agree that there is a Devil and that he does tempt men to do wrong (what God calls Sin).

"You blast environmentalists as misguided, and giving faith to the house rather than the builder. Yet they stand up for all of God's creatures," I don't see them standing up for the poor and downtrodden HUMANS. Humans are the only creature made in God's image. They are the only Creature with free will and a soul. Many humans stand in need of automobiles, food producing machinery, medicine to stave off sickness and death, etc. Yet Environmentalists would hoard these resources and withhold them from their fellow man. I personally believe there can be a balance between production and conservation and that environmentalists go way too far away from utilizing the resources God provided us with.

"...I'm just a simple monkey that's too smart for his own good,..." I do not believe you are a monkey. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like you are "too smart" either.

Finally I would submit to you that NOTHING ever "occurs" to God. He never wakes up one day and realizes ... well... anything. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His creation shows order because He is a God of Order, not chaos. He is the un-caused first cause. "Stuff" can't make "stuff". Only God can create. Humans may never fully understand time, gravity, light, an infinite universe, the human eye, and the human mind. But we ARE capable of understanding that He IS.


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago

"...there are many correct answers, and we make a choice where to put our faith."

I'm sorry but I have to disagree: John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

I would suggst to you, Pat, that you earnestly follow the truth wherever it leads you. If you do so I am confident that you will come to a belief in Christ.

You are correct that God knows the heart and will be our judge. He will seperate the good from the bad. You are correct that it is not mine to decide.


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago

Christs truth outweighs all.

There will always be hypocrites to point at and say "see, they are not practicing what they preach". The world is full of them and, unfortunately, the church is full of them too; myself included.

There is a latin phrase "Coram Deo" which means to live one's life "in the face of God", ie in the prescence of God, under the authority of God and for the glory of God.

When we practice this lifestyle we stop looking to men for an example of how to treat one another. We stop using other mens bad behavior as an excuse to behave badly ourselves. We see only God's perfection and our own personal shortcommings and give Him the credit for all things.

This transcends politics, race, and even "religion" in it's ceremonial sense.


Jim Kelley 2 years, 2 months ago

"To live one's life in the face of God ......and give him credit for all things"

By Rippin' your snow machine through the Zirkel Wilderness?


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago


1Timothy 6:17 "God gives us richly all things to enjoy."


Jim Kelley 2 years, 2 months ago

Mark H 1:1

1.Me Me Me. The other 7 billion people sharing the earth....Screw off! Me Me Me.


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago

No, Jim.

I don't mind if others use the wilderness right alongside of Me Me Me.

It is the religious environmentalists that want to do the excluding and have the preferrential treatment.

I think I made a pretty good case in this thread already as to how it's the "off-limits"/pro-more wilderness" folks who are the selfish ones. Why don't you browse through that a while and then get back to me.


Jim Kelley 2 years, 2 months ago

Mark, The Wilderness is not merely yours and mine to experience. There will be a time when you and I don't exist anymore. The rights of the unborn future generations must be considered if you are to say that you are not being selfish with your flagrant abuse of Our Wilderness.

Theodore Roosevelt was much more eloquent than I: Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the “the game belongs to the people.” So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The “greatest good for the greatest number” applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago

How is riding a snowmobile 5 feet above the ground in a place where most of the animals are hibernating or at lower elevations "flagrant abuse"??

This is exactly why so many people are now getting off the environmental bandwagon; because many people like you seek to define simple uses of land and resources as "flagrant abuse" or "destruction" or some other ridiculously FALSE characterization.

Using something isn't always "destroying" it. Ever pick an apple? Was that "flagrant abuse" of the apple tree? Or was it using an apple that would otherwise have rotted on the vine and helped no one??

I'm not advocating cutting the orchard down and burning it, Jim; just picking the darned apples while they are ripe and putting them to good use as a good steward ought to do.


Jim Kelley 2 years, 2 months ago

Ripe apples and good stewardship? How about selfish opportunist. Or shameless rationalist: -By using 1Timothy 6:17, "God gives us richly all things to enjoy" as rationale, you could pretty much do anything you please, right? -Being 5 feet above the ground (try 12' on Soda Mtn!) and the animals are hibernating so it really would be OK to violate Federal law since it's really not a "respectable law". Is it really so painful for you to accept a chunk of land that is protected, as is, perpetually? Why are your rights to experience this landscape as you wish more important than those who want to protect it and to also to save it for future generations as is? Why must you tread everywhere and impose your will anywhere? Again, it seems the only answer you will have is: Me, me, me!


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago


You have expressed in this forum that you have spent time in jail. How do you get to jail without ignoring some laws of your own? Pot-kettle, methinks.


As laws become more and more draconian and un-respectable, many people will increasingly ignore them. This fact transcends environmental law.

Sure, many people will blindly obey all rules, whether they be silly, or whether they be matters of life and death, (like jews who willingly boarded the trains to Auschwitz and like the person the other day that insisted that it's NEVER ok to even slightly and momentarily cross a yellow line, even to pass a cyclist).

Some folks are simply hung up on blind conformity and they never consider the SOURCE of the mandates they haplessly follow.

Others make a big deal out of rules being violated when it's a rule THEY enjoy. For example, I'd be willing to bet a fair sum that if new wilderness reg's were proposed which forbid ALL human activity, including the kind many anti-snowmobilers are fon of, then MANY pro-wilderness folks who talk the good game would revolt.

And just because I like to fret you crazies doesn't mean I'm actually snowmobiling in the Wilderness. Maybe I just like pulling your chains.

Again, I believe I have made a good case that the wilderness we have is a good thing but that we do not need more; that many who want it expanded operate out of selfish and ulterior motives; that expanding wilderness and putting resources "off-limits" hurts economies which hurts individuals which is the definition of "selfish"; and that resources can be utilized and areas can be used without being "destroyed", "decimated", and all those other silly Chicken Little assertions. Despite the silly arguments put forth above, nobody is gonna put a McDonalds on the Devil's Causeway or on Farewell, even though many so-called "environmentalists have rode a coal-fired ski lift up, and had some good food atop Mt Werner.


rhys jones 2 years, 2 months ago

At least I learned from my mistakes. Among other things, I learned that sometimes the will of the majority outweighs my own selfish motives.

Pointing fingers and saying other people do it doesn't do it for me any more.


john bailey 2 years, 2 months ago

and yet all of you seem amused by Mark H as you keep posting with em..... just what would we do if we all thought alike ? BORING........


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago

Not exactly.

I made an argument against more wilderness that NONE of you seemed able to refute. It was based in facts and logic.

You resorted to basically name-calling and exagerations and mockery like "you want a McDonalds on the Devil's Causeway" or, saying of me: "some of us are entitled"- "the World is ours (to foul)". Heck, one of you great statesmen even mocked me by saying "nice facts..." as if FACTS had no place in a debate about wilderness.

What I said about our Creator, I meant... every word.

You folks can't handle truth or anything that goes against what you WANT to be truth. Therefore, I had some fun with you by telling you all how I use "our" wilderness.

I understand that you want more wilderness for YOUR OWN gratification. However, few of you folks' words were used to explain why more wilderness would help nature, the economy, or your fellow man. Most of your words were used to mock, ridicule and belittle the "troll".

The Wilderness must feel real safe with towering intellects such as yourselves defending her...


jerry carlton 2 years, 2 months ago

I agree Mark but you and I need to work on more of Jesus's humility and love for our fellow man. Note I said you and "I". It is a hard thing to do when the conservationists usually support abortion { aka killing unborn children in their mothers womb}, homosexual marriage, {an abomination according to the Bible}, and any other hot button issues that the majority of the United State citizens support. I have really tried to quit posting when angry, but I back slide periodically .We can only pray that Jesus comes soon and ends this mess although I do not expect this as no one knows when.


Scott Wedel 2 years, 2 months ago

"homosexual marriage, {an abomination according to the Bible}"

Well, someone thinking about Jesus's humility and love for our fellow man could certainly wonder what would Jesus say about homosexual marriage.

Bible also implies that sterile couples have no reason to get married and that interracial marriage is wrong. In both of those cases, a couple's love for each other overrides the Bible. Or at least the common understanding of the times. And at the time, homosexuality also apparently meant sexual promiscuity and not a loving couple.

It is instructive how serious theologians used to argue the Bible prohibited interracial marriage and now that is considered to be misinterpretations by racists.

That passages viewed from the perspective of Jesus's humility and love can be reinterpreted to focus on the part of the passage that is lacking humility and love. That passages previously understood as talking about mixing races now becomes mixing with nonbelievers. And so on.


mark hartless 2 years, 2 months ago


Jesus spoke more about Hell than about Heaven.Today's theologians are as irrelevant to God as those who lived 200 years ago.

Jesus told a parable about a man who hired some workers to work all day in his field. He hired others to work a half day and still others to work just one hour. Come quittin time he paid them all the same wage, a wage the hardest workers had agreed on, so nobody got shorted.

When those who worked the longest began to murmer the man said "it is lawful for me to do what I will with that which is mine; is your eye evil because I am good".

The point is that God's Kingdom belongs to God, and He gives it to whomsoever He will.

There will be no debating or compromising our way into Heaven, and there is a Hell.


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