He Who Controls the Water (and land) Controls the World

The posting below is from an email response I sent to a commenter from the Saturday, Jan. 12th program. The body of my reply encompasses my thoughts on the Lake Whatcom Reconveyance issue and the upcoming show on the Futurewise vs. Whatcom County. The conflict over the Growth Managements result of invalidity towards Whatcom Counties definition of rural elements has become a tangled web that must be dealt with. Should the Council cave-in to the bullying of groups like Futurewise? Or, should they wipe the slate clean and start over? Keep in mind the wise words of an unknown author; “He who controls the water (and land) controls the world.”

Please read my response email and let me know what you think. What would you ask the County Council and Executive Louws to do? All power is local and We the People know that every time a new layer of bureacracy is imposed, or land becomes too heavily regulated; we lose a little more freedom and liberty for ourselves and our future. ~ Kris Halterman

Thank you for your comment(s). Yes! There are success stories and they are almost exclusively on DNR managed land. A quick search on the words DNR, bicycle trails, horse trails; will bring a wide array of DNR accessible public land that have incorporated park plans, in conjunction with keeping the land productive for the trustees of the property:

Results fof search on: DNR, bicycle trails, horse trails

A quick search on forest preserve and I found this lengthy but informative Wikipedia article:

Results for the search on: forest preserve

“ The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed. ”

Take a quick look at the Wildlands project for North America. See how Washington State is epicenter to the project? These corridors are meant to be free of all human influence. Whether you agree or disagree with this goal, it should be a transparent process where the public is fully informed as to the long term objectives of the project: http://www.twp.org/wildways

“ Wildlands Network is now focused on completing four Continental Wildways, large protected landscapes for wildlife movement. These Wildways also are home to our greatest North American treasures: our national parks, scenic rivers, majestic mountains, crystal clear lakes, continental trails, and vibrant grasslands and forests. ”

Keep in mind that the land proposed for Reconveyance on Lake Whatcom, was given over to the State because they were best able to manage the land for the purposes of bringing revenue for public needs, provide jobs and keep our forests healthy for continued multi-purpose use in perpetuity. A forest preserve has many limitations set upon it that a DNR park plan will not. If Whatcom County takes back this land, their internal e-mails showed their intent to place a conservation easement onto the land and place Whatcom Land Trust (WLT) as the beneficiary of that conservation easement. Conservation easements are in perpetuity (forever), so WLT gets all the rewards (lease payments) and none of the risk, because the conservation easement(s) very clearly state that Whatcom County keeps all the liability of risk/maintenance/repair for this land, while WLT decides how the land is managed and who has access to it.

Here are some links to look over with regards to the Lk Whatcom Reconveyance (some interesting stuff if you follow the links):

8/27/2012 – http://www.whatcomexcavator.org/3/post/2012/08/the-dirty-low-down-reconveyance-records-unmask-deals-and-secrecy.html

5/17/2012 – http://www.whatcomexcavator.org/3/post/2012/05/news-flash-here-comes-the-reconveyance-energizer-bunny-again.html

4/8/2012 – http://www.whatcomexcavator.org/3/post/2012/04/500k-donation-to-school-district-as-skid-grease-for-watershed-land-reconveyance.html

Lastly, keep in mind that the use of public land has incrementally been restricted to the point that small farmers and loggers are disappearing from the landscape of Whatcom County. Why isn’t logging compatible with low impact sports such as biking, hiking, trail riding, camping, et al? The logging industry is as much an historical feature of Whatcom County as the dairy farms and want to find a win-win. Why do groups like Futurewise and Conservation NW contend that a small plot of land (1 – 5 acres) is not compatible with a rural landscape? You should have the right to plant a garden, house farm animals and sell-off the excess of those endeavors. How is this harmful to the rural elements of Whatcom County? Small farms have special needs and small logging operations need a land base to exist. Saving the vista (view) of what others contend are a necessity for rural living do not meet the needs of rural property management and sustainability. Are 40 acre lots and above available to the average citizen, or to the corporate farmers? Organizations like Futurewise and Conservation NW contend that they are helping the little people. This makes no sense to me as they have infringed the right to use our property to the level that being self-reliant has reached the tipping point, right here in Whatcom County. I’m sure that as an avid horseman (an assumption I have made from the context of your e-mail) you’re feeling the pressures, too. You love to ride your horse(s) in a natural environment, but where is it allowed? The DNR can provide a park plan that will ensure everyone wins. The direction Whatcom County is considering will not only cost a lot of tax payer money, it will cost jobs and give control of the land over to a land trust, reduce who will be allowed access, provide less bio-diversity, reduce the carbon sequestration potential that a young forest is capable of vs. an old growth forest, and all of this would be an action in perpetuity. The land could never be returned to productive use again and I consider that a very short sighted objective.

Thank you for commenting and listening to the program. I trust it is giving you food for thought on what’s happening in Whatcom County and Washington State.

~ Kris Halterman

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