From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 24 - September 11, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Yellowstone Nat'l Park - Part 4
environment vs. economic: economic ignored?
by Kate Neely

Clashes in opinions, lessons from kindergarten

Remember kindergarten? It was there that many of life's most important lessons were taught: Share everything. Play fair. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Live a balanced life; learn some and think some and play some, every day. These simple principles are outlined in a fun-loving book by Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

How easily people forget these little lessons when they become absorbed in heated issues and politics! But these simple principles, these little things we learned in kindergarten, could be the very weapons for battling the Yellowstone National Park controversy with snowmobiles. Really. What would happen if we could, in light of the politics, economics and environment of Yellowstone, remember to share? Remember to play fair? Remember to clean up our own messes?

Those who are concerned about the fate of Yellowstone, or the fate of snowmobiling for that matter, should be examining all sides of the issues. Those who fail to do so, do not fight, do not play the politics game, fairly.

Just as there are different kinds of people in the world, so too are there different kinds of snowmobile users: those who like to travel fast, those who enjoy snowmobiling simply because of the social dimension and excitement it provides, those who like to challenge themselves, those who see snowmobiling as a family activity, those who love scenery and believe a snowmobile is a tool by which to sight-see - the list goes on!

And just as there are various types of snowmobile users, so too are there different types of recreational users.

The potential for conflict becomes relatively high because there are many different kinds of people who want to use the park in various ways.

In a sense, the battle is one of land use. People have been fighting about land as long as history can recollect, and the issues involving Yellowstone and snowmobiling will someday become another story in history about a fight over land: Who has the right to enjoy it? Who is welcome on it? Who is banned from using it?

Some people who highly value Yellowstone's preservation believe that users of the park disrupt the land's serenity. At the same time, other people wish to use the land for their recreation and enjoyment.

It is no secret that people who use the park all have different priorities about what they value. Everyone thinks differently. Each person possesses his own, unique individual point of view.

This is true when it comes to issues involving Yellowstone and snowmobiles. But it is also true when it comes to examining the world in general: the potential for conflict becomes high because there are different kinds of people in the world with different kinds of personalities and different opinions. What results from this? Not a new proposal or a suggested policy that tries to promise compromise, but a kaleidoscope of animosity, clashes, conflict, war.

The lessons of kindergarten seem to have been long forgotten. Maybe it's time to take a step back and re-learn our ABCs.

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