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Literature produced by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society dealing with the so-called Frontenac Axis raises a multitude of questions. Incidentally, what this group apparently is referring to is the entire Canadian Shield, or Grenville Province, which geologically resulted from a Pre-Cambian mountain building episode. The shield includes all of the Adirondack physiographic region, then extends beneath the St. Lawrence River, and into the interior of Ontario. Interestingly, their goal appears to be to link together the Canadian and American portions, but this obviously is not necessary. And, it would be a monumental task to separate them.

The shield is one of those rather hostile environments that does a wonderful job of protecting itself. The bedrock granites, gneisses, and schists produce highly acid soils with low leaching abilities. Consequently, the agricultural potential is extremely low, as is the floral and faunal diversity. Few people chose to live there.

It is great to see the citizenry interested in the protection of the environment, but just what should their role be? Who assigned this society the stewardship of the land and its plants and animals? Is not this responsibility legally mandated to the governmental agencies of the Province of Ontario and the State of New York? Are we to be led to believe that these jurisdictions are totally negligent? The Society's efforts undoubtedly appear very presumptuous and raise questions about their motives.

Unfortunately, they seem to feel that it is necessary to resort to a play on emotions; a tactic that is all to common to environmental groups. They refer to Algonquin and Adirondack Parks as two of the largest and oldest core protected areas in North America. They state that habitat connections across abroad landscapes are critical to ensure that these two great parks not become isolated islands of extinction. What is this nonsense? Why the scare tactics? What pray tell are the problems? Just what is threatened with extinction, other than maybe human inhabitants?

In the area in question they seek to restore, enhance, and maintain ecological connectivity, ecosystem function, and native biodiversity. These buzzwords sound very impressive, but what in the devil do they mean? And, just what has been lost that needs to be restored? What is threatening these whatevers? It certainly is not man. Because of its basic nature, human populations are extremely low and there is little use of the land of the type that might drastically alter the environment. Biodiversity is a by-product of basic physiograpic features, such as land forms, soils, and climate. Changes in this quality are beyond the realm of the Society, unless they plan to construct a number of zoos.

They claim that they respect sustainable human land uses. This is rather hard to swallow, since the Society proudly advertises its ties with the Wildlands Project, which is part of the Cenozoic Society and has connections with Earth First. These organizations have a decided disdain for humans and their activities, and crave to see a huge percentage of the Planet become the exclusive realm of the wild creatures.

It is difficult to believe these people when they say that private land stewardship is the cornerstone of their efforts. One has but to look at the track record of radical environmental groups and public agencies that have persecuted the private landowners of the Adirondacks, and elsewhere.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is obviously trying to change its image, and those of like groups, but until they truly divorce themselves from the radical elements of environmentalism and prove their worth, they must be looked upon as a threat to a free society.

Nate Dickinson
February 2001

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