Reader questions high cost of wilderness

Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Many Alaskans were drawn here by our great love of nature’s pure unabashed beauty. The vastness of our great wilderness areas stir that wanderlust within many to see the other side of that hill or mountain. We want to insure future generations also have that privilege. But just who is paying the most for that privilege?

Our young middle class families are shouldering the vast majority of this burden. Alaska’s youth are being denied access to the very riches that drew their forefathers to come north. These forefathers lived in a time when life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness included the hope of employment and benefits through the harvest of the resources nature made available.

Millions of acres of land locked up permanently while our young families must pay a year’s average wage for a building lot. It’s time to admit that this social experiment has failed to meet the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness guaranteed by the constitution.

Are we placing the privilege of wilderness viewing above the rights of our children to a prosperous economy? Are our rich visitors imprisoning our citizens? Should the perceived social value of protecting wilderness be placed ahead of the basic rights and needs of the population? Does the wrapping of these actions in the holy veil of environmentalism justify the hardship inflicted through resources being locked up?

Hard questions, yes, but our forefathers also knew this freedom thing isn’t cheap. Just how many rights are we willing to loose before we admit the cost is to high and look to our leaders relief of these burdensome practices? Is the green vote worth more to any political party than the rights of the citizens they hope to serve? For make no mistake this is the cost of locking up both the resources and the population.

Dennis Barnard


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