Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kicked Out

Dear Readers of this blog:
    At the end of summer, Betty and I wanted to drive the Brainard Lake loop above Ward and so presented our life-time pass at the station below Red Rock. The usual jolly, out-sourcing, privatized lady in her faux uniform noted our pass and handed us a childishly written green half-page to the effect that these jolly outsourced old folks, now in charge of our public lands, would no longer admit us to these public lands on our federal passes.
   They begged that they could no longer “afford” so to admit us card-holders, even for a fifteen-minute drive-around. And the US Forest Service, now a jolly city ”business”, signed off on this infamous new policy.
    From the time, now several years back, when the Forest Service abdicated service and turned these public lands over to these privateers, I felt anything but jolly about it and always presented myself at the gate as angry and sour.
    But the ladies remained jolly to the end and professed to know nothing about the “public” nor its lands. Nor did they appear to care. They wanted only to be “paid off”.
   And now, this season, we are handed this “green slip” of pathetic pleading on behalf of the poor corporate outsourced jolly workers.
    Allow me to vent my spleen and share with.

October 25, 2012

Steve Werner,
    American Land an d Leisure Company
Paul E. Cruz,
     United States Forest Service

    I have before me the green, half page of poor construction about Golden Age access to the Brainard Lake area. This insult was handed me of late at the Red Rock Lake control station.
    I knew, when the Forest Service decided it was no longer a “service” but a provider of a product to its “customers”, that we were facing the end of our traditional uses of the forest. The corporate beast engulfs everything, even our public lands.
    It may have been in 1939 that I first saw Red Rock Lake, not to fish, but to search for a salamander with too many toes for my teacher’s research at C U. It was a tough to get in there in those days-- gorgeous, remote, with that mysterious stone lodge on the east side.
  And I recall vividly, in 1952, taking a six and one-quarter pound rainbow from Red Rock on a dry, size 16, Red Variant. The fish caused a sensation in the Denver Press.
    My wife and I have gone back time and time again over the decades; until, that is, as anglers, we were turned into  “customers”-- and effectively run out by rapacious privateers.
    It is difficult to find words for their effrontery-- or for the disintegration of the Forest Service from its historic role in the American Ideal of public lands.
    My revenge shall be to blog this letter and never to go up there again. No more that annual drive around the Brainard Loop and back out. Where once, with an almost child-like confidence in the splendor of our Rangers, and with that youthful excess of energy and stamina for fishing, we now feel reluctant to leave the safety of our car.
     I wish American Land and Leisure Co. a rapid economic down-turn back to darkest Utah or wherever it hides out. The work it does is not wholesome.  And of the Forest Service: I hope that it may somehow get out of  “business” and back into SERVICE of those sacred lands of ours.
    I’m yours, a lost customer

Gordon. M. Wickstrom

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